Grand Rapids Magazine Top 10 Restaurant of 2021: Noco Provisions

Going big on ambiance helped the restaurant weather 2020.

Editor’s note: This is Part 8 of a 10-part series on the top 10 Grand Rapids restaurants for 2021. To see a list of all of the restaurants, click here.

Noco Provisions’ interior always stands out, luminous with dramatic lighting, open fires and leafy planters that appeal on such a visceral level. Here, it’s all about nudging you along, a little nibble of comfort, a satisfying sip of a hoppy Michigan beer, perhaps a big family meal.

As the COVID-19 restrictions dragged on, owner Steve Millman and operating partner Ryan Sichta decided to go for a big ambiance — adding a large, inviting tent in the restaurant’s parking lot. “Our tent is a real event,” said Courtney Posthumus, bar manager. “It’s especially exciting at sunset when the light hits everything just right, it feels kind of special.”

Months ago, Noco Provisions, 4609 Cascade Road SE, created this outdoor dining room, staging it with 12 tables and a smattering of high tops, socially distanced and decked out with patio lights, heaters and opportunities for natural light to flood in. Noco even offers a cozy sanitized blankie if you forget to bring your own. Three bubble dining pods also provide a lovely bit of privacy and warmth on the restaurant’s patio.

“We’re trying our hardest to deliver the same warm hospitality inside and out, whether it’s outdoor dining or takeout,” Posthumus said.

From its start, Noco Provisions set out to introduce familiarity with a delicious cleverness to Grand Rapids. Executive chef Chris Kail delivers huge flavors to everything from a grilled brisket burger topped with bacon, avocado or sunny side up egg to a fine 8-ounce filet with blue cheese horseradish spread, green beans and potato wedges or the beet burger — sandwiched with goat cheese, avocado mash, dijonaise, greens and toasted English muffin.

A crispy chicken sandwich is embellished with green chile aioli, white cheddar and coleslaw and accompanied by sweet potato fries dusted with rosemary salt and house-made dipping sauce. The grilled Norwegian salmon with garlic-rosemary lemon butter and cavatappi pasta in white wine cream sauce, butternut squash and Brussels sprouts also please the crowd.

Noco also makes a lovely range of cocktails, house-made infusions and spiked coffees, including the Noco Cosmos, with house-infused citrus vodka, the Vintage with aged whiskey whirling with Four Roses, brown sugar, barrel-aged whiskey bitters, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and the Carmela Soprano, a Rowster cold brew with salted caramel Stoli, Bailey’s cream, whipped cream and caramel drizzle.

When indoor dining is permissible, Sichta plans to eagerly throw open the doors in welcome and dismantle the big event tent — as its footprint takes over the parking lot. Though the private dining bubbles will stay on the terrace for a while.

This story can be found in the March 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here

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