The buzziest place in Grand Rapids

New York Strip from River City Meats, "Roses are Free" Old Fashioned. Photo by Teri Genovese.

Ask a Millennial or late Gen-Z person their favorite place to dine in Grand Rapids and there’s a good chance it’s Butcher’s Union.

Whether that’s right or wrong in your opinion, the wait times most nights of the week tell the true story of how popular this restaurant is — be forewarned if you don’t know, Butcher’s Union does not take reservations. It’s packed, often with lines out the door.

Wagyu Beef Tartare; “Roses are Free” Old Fashioned and Amelia Cocktail. Photo by Teri Genovese.

Butcher’s Union, 438 Bridge St. NW, brings home four different Reader’s Choice honors, including best appetizers, best date night restaurant, best steak and best whiskey bar (see bottom of this article for below for complete list of finalists in these categories).

A lot of the hype around Butcher’s Union can be attributed to its big city feel. There is a lot about the place that could easily be found in New York City or Chicago. There are plenty of bars and gastropubs in those cities that feel very much like Butcher’s Union.

The vibes in the covered back patio area easily explain why it wins best date night, with a courtyard like vibe and warm, moody lighting. And certainly, one would be hard pressed to find a better, more expansive whiskey selection in town.

As for the food, you can’t argue with what the people say. There is a solid selection of various steaks, which readers heavily enjoy. As they do the apps, whether it’s the tuna crudo, the crispy Brussel sprouts or the peppercorn slab bacon, the starters are a popular pick — either to begin a dinner or cap off a drink.

One also probably cannot go wrong saddling up to the bar at Butcher’s Union, grabbing a light beer and a whiskey side car and ordering a West Village Double Cheeseburger.

Whiskey Bar
Winner: Butcher’s Union
Finalists: One Bourbon; Stella’s Lounge; Buffalo Traders; Alto Bar

Winner: Butcher’s Union
Finalists:San Chez; MDRD; Roam; Aperitivo; One Bourbon; Max’s South Seas Hideaway

Date Night Restaurant
Winner: Butcher’s Union
Finalists: MDRD; Linear; Leo’s Seafood Restaurant & Bar; Cooper’s Hawk

Winner: Butcher’s Union
Finalists: Chop House; Bowdie’s Chophouse; Ruth’s Chris Steak House; Leo’s Seafood Restaurant & Bar

Butcher’s Union was a finalist in the craft cocktail and best service categories of the reader’s survey.






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