Sometimes, there’s a food that is so comforting in its simplicity that you can’t help but order it. For me, that’s the Cottage Bar’s side salad. It may sound silly, but the longtime Grand Rapids haunt known for its cozy atmosphere, hamburgers and chili makes a side salad so irresistible to me I craved it for months at a time while living in Las Vegas. It’s perhaps the most simple side salad a restaurant can serve: crisp, chilled iceberg lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and shredded cheese with a thick ranch dressing. People do laugh at me for my love of the simple side, but that’s OK because it fills a certain spot in my heart/stomach.
Top 5: Breakfasts
It still seems whether breakfast is the most important meal of the day is up for debate. Even if that is true, it is unfortunate restaurants focused on the morning meal often don’t get the respect they deserve. Here are some of the tastiest breakfasts in Grand Rapids.
The Cherry Street staple is a delightful setting to start a morning. It features a no-frills interior, so the focus can be on the food. Many love the Benedicts, but the straight European breakfast is a winner every time.
On the west side of town, there’s a cozy little diner called Westsider Café. Most items on the menu are a hearty way to start the day — or a tasty lunch — but the breakfast burrito really tops the chart.
In Eastown, the longtime breakfast spot has a wide assortment of options for pretty much everyone. The omelets are massive and filled with creative delicacies. Order one up with the Café Wolfgang, a delightful hot chocolate/coffee mashup.
Real Food Café
In Alger Heights (and down Plainfield Avenue), Real Food Café keeps the diner foods coming, whether it’s breakfast or lunch. The savory scrambles and omelets are can’t-miss, but so, too, are the variety of pancakes and French toasts. It’s a tough choice.
Nonna’s: The Trattoria
Out in Ada, Nonna’s serves up a tasty dinner Monday-Friday. But every day of the week, it offers breakfast, including brunch on the weekends. The menu is fairly small, but the choices all are delectable.
This story can be found in the March/April 2022 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here.