A 47-year-old restaurant on the West Side is celebrating the completion of a $1 million renovation project.
Johnny Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille, at 401 Leonard St. NW in Grand Rapids, completed a nearly $1 million renovation project that features a new menu, contemporary new spaces and wall-to-wall tributes to police and soldiers who died in the line of duty.
Customers entering the restaurant will be greeted by the dedication to the fallen, with walls adorned with photos and art of heroes. In one area, there are 13 glasses of beer, always poured and absent of their coasters, in tribute to the last 13 soldiers who died at the end of the Afghanistan war. The exterior also will continue to feature flags honoring military and law enforcement officers who died while serving.
“It was really important to us that when we decided to create a new look, we wanted to make sure the centerpiece of that new look would honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Johnny Brann, who with his wife, Sandy, has owned the restaurant since 1974. “We feel that there isn’t enough recognition of those everyday heroes, so our restaurant serves as a daily reminder of the sacrifices made by those who continue to serve and protect us.”
In addition to the tributes to deceased service members, the restaurant sports a fully remodeled, more open interior featuring new furniture and seating, new flooring and lighting, large flat screen TVs and a fireplace. The restaurant’s exterior includes new large windows facing Leonard Street.
“It was important that we stayed current, relevant and contemporary for our customers,” Brann said. “We wanted to reach outside of our comfort zone and come up with a distinctive look and embrace new dining experience concepts that create a memorable experience for our customers. We wanted to make changes, but we also wanted to ensure that our core business remains as a steakhouse and grill.”
The project, which began about two years ago, was hampered by pandemic shutdowns, supply chain delays, construction staff shortages and other hurdles. Throughout the process, the restaurant strove to keep its employees employed and, during the height of the pandemic, also helped support law enforcement agencies raising money for staff through GoFundMe.
The restaurant’s menu retains its signature sizzler steak and includes new items such as Leonard Street tacos and a hand-carved Reuben sandwich.
The restaurant also prides itself on continuing as a prominent West Side employer.
“We are proud to be able to continue our legacy of providing jobs to generations of families that live, work and play here on the West Side,” Brann said.
The restaurant also is being rebranded as Johnny Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille.
Brann recently completed the purchase of Brann’s Grandville location, which also will assume the new Johnny Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille name and branding.