Grand Rapids-based Meritage Hospitality Group, owner of the New American restaurant and bar that opened in 2016 at 67 Ottawa Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids’ Arena District, confirmed to the Business Journal this week that Wheelhouse will be converted to a Stan Diego Baja Taco Kitchen at an unknown future date.
Melissa Robinson, a spokesperson for Meritage, said Meritage made the decision not to reopen Wheelhouse — which closed with the state’s initial COVID-19-related shutdown in March — because the concept was not a good fit for pandemic times.
“Wheelhouse was not equipped for takeout,” she said. “After the initial shutdown in March, and once we reopened Stan’s in April, we saw how well Stan’s was performing as far as takeout and delivery sales go — tacos travel well. We also believe that Stan’s will continue to perform during COVID as well as life post-COVID. Stan’s will be a better fit downtown (being fast-casual), next to the arena, the many concert venues, new residences and businesses.”
Renovations to convert the space have begun, but Meritage does not yet have a firm opening date in mind.
“It all depends on the current orders/restrictions and once businesses/life returns to downtown,” Robinson said.
The new restaurant — which will have the same menu as the original location — will be Meritage’s second Stan Diego location after opening the original in 2018 at 355 Wilson Ave. NW in the Standale neighborhood of Walker.
More information on Stan Diego is at standiegogr.com.
Meritage Hospitality Group operates 340 restaurants in 16 states — the majority of which are Wendy’s locations — with a workforce of about 10,400 employees. Its other concepts include Stan Diego, Morning Belle, Twisted Rooster and Freighters Eatery & Taproom.