New Hotel Mertens owner changes restaurant’s name

Mertens Hospitality announced it is renaming three of its downtown properties to cut down on confusion. Courtesy Mertens Hospitality

A local restaurant company is renaming three of its downtown properties to cut down on confusion.

Anthony Tangorra, owner of Grand Rapids-based Mertens Hospitality — which includes New Hotel Mertens Brasserie, New Hotel Mertens Bakery and Haute rooftop lounge, all located at 35 Oakes St. SW — said today it is changing the names of the above three properties, as well as the menus and concepts.

“After nearly three years, it was clear the use of the word ‘hotel’ was causing confusion in the community,” Tangorra said. “However, we will continue to honor the history of our building and the hotel that was founded here in 1914 in a way that our guests will feel when they dine with us.”

New Hotel Mertens Brasserie, which opened in 2017, has been closed since March due to the pandemic. When it reopens in October, it will be renamed Mertens Prime, retaining many of the French characteristics and dishes guests know and love, while adding a “significant selection of steaks and chops.” Additional enhancements will include the addition of noise-reduction devices in the main dining room.

“We are steadfast in our desire to not change who we are at our core and to retain our French menu and sensibilities,” Tangorra said. “When you choose a steak at Mertens Prime, it will be done with a flair and polish unique to the area.”

In 2019, Mertens Hospitality opened New Hotel Mertens Bakery adjacent to the restaurant. It will be renamed Mertens Café with a new menu specializing in made-to-order beignets (French doughnuts) and poutine (hand-cut French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy along with many other options and toppings). It also will specialize in café au lait, featuring a new proprietary blend of coffee and chicory in partnership with Sparrows Coffee & Tea.

“New Orleans and Montreal have been two of my favorite food cities for decades,” Tangorra said. “A shift to beignets and poutine is a natural … change for us, as both originate from highly French-influenced cultures that fit perfectly within the Mertens Hospitality brand.”

Haute, the rooftop lounge that opened in 2018, will be renamed Mertens Rooftop and will not undergo any significant conceptual changes.

More information about Mertens Hospitality is available at, or by calling (616) 551-1713.

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