Grand Rapids Magazine’s top stories of 2020


If you’re like us, you can’t wait to turn the page on 2020 and forget all the stress, pain and heartache the previous year has brought us.

2020 didn’t allow us to explore our wonderful city like we normally would have, but it still offered a plethora of interesting people and places to read about while we quarantined at home.

Despite the pandemic, Grand Rapids saw its fair share of new restaurants — The Saucy Crab and Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine were two of our most-read stories. Unfortunately, it also forced several restaurants and small businesses to close for good.

Two GRM staples, Best of Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Magazine Dining Awards, were our two most-read stories. It appears Grand Rapidians missed their favorite restaurants, breweries, salons, retail stores and other small businesses. Hopefully, 2021 will allow us to get out and experience everything Grand Rapids has to offer safely once again.

Here are the top 10 most-read stories of 2020.

Best of Grand Rapids: 2020

By Rachel Matuszewski, Amelia Pasqualone and Charlsie Dewey

Photo by Angela Ciccu

Where is the best place in Grand Rapids for brunch, happy hour or a walk in the park? What about for child care, veterinary services or to buy men’s and women’s clothing? For the 17th year, we asked our readers to tell us their favorite spots for food and drinks, entertainment and experiences, shopping and a plethora of services in the city. In over 100 categories, you shared your favorite people and places — all of which help make this city a unique and thriving place. 

As Grand Rapids continues to grow, we love seeing the changes from year to year. You’ll notice some businesses and people have retained their titles as “the best” from last year to this year, while others jumped to the top of the heap and some newcomers found their spot on the list for the first time.

2020 Grand Rapids Magazine Dining Awards

By Grand Rapids Magazine Staff

Photo by Teri Genovese

Grand Rapids Magazine traversed the city’s food scene to bring you this year’s Restaurant of the Year, Best New Restaurant, Top 10 Restaurants and the newest neighborhood restaurants. This year, we’ve seen an array of new cuisines come to the city, as well as a return to classic styles. Farm-to-table still reigns, but restaurants know they have to go beyond the food to draw diners in as the city’s restaurant offerings expand.

Seafood chain opens Grand Rapids-area location

By Rachel Watson

The Saucy Crab’s menu includes specialty battered shrimp and catfish dipped in housemade sauces, as well as seafood including lobster, crab, crawfish and shrimp mixed in a bag with the brand’s signature “WOO Pig Sooiee” seasoning and butter. Courtesy The Saucy Crab

The Saucy Crab, a Louisiana- and Cajun-style seafood chain, now has a location in greater Grand Rapids.

Tinley Park, Illinois-based The Saucy Crab on Aug. 17 opened a corporate-owned location at 5039 28th St. SE in Cascade Township.

Eric Corey, a longtime local food and beverage industry worker, is the location’s general manager. Corey said his experience includes stints at Gravity Taphouse Grille, City Built Brewing Company, Fifth Third Ballpark’s food and beverage department, Perrin Brewing Co. and AHC Hospitality.

Popeyes fans rejoice — two new locations coming to Grand Rapids area 

By Rachel Watson

Franchisee Anthony Basile will open a pair of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen locations at 5448 S. Division Ave. SE in Kentwood and 2446 28th St. SE in Grand Rapids this summer. Photo by iStock

Two more locations of a restaurant chain known for serving “spicy New Orleans-style chicken” are coming to the area.

Franchisee Anthony Basile will open a pair of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen locations at 5448 S. Division Ave. SE in Kentwood and 2446 28th St. SE in Grand Rapids this summer, according to Colliers of West Michigan.

“We look forward to opening these two restaurants as we continue to develop the Popeyes brand in West Michigan,” Basile said. “We’re proud to offer delicious food and great service to our customers in a family-friendly environment.”

Las Vegas-based sandwich shop opens in Cascade

By Rachel Watson

Capriott’s signature sandwich, The Bobbie, features oven-roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and mayo. Courtesy Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

A husband-and-wife team is opening a local franchise of a fast-casual sandwich shop known for its turkey subs.

Franchisees Ann Hall and Trever Hall, of 2nd Chance Development, are opening a location of Las Vegas-based Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop at 6539 28th St. SE in Cascade Township on Monday, according to Ann Hall.

The location — which is in the D&W plaza across from Noto’s Old World Italian Dining — formerly housed a Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins.

Unpublished Bob Dylan photos donated to GVSU

By Justin Dawes


In 1964, a collection of behind-the-scenes photos of music legend Bob Dylan was deemed by the editors of Look magazine as inappropriate to publish.

“Too scruffy for a family magazine” was the pronouncement to young photographer Douglas Gilbert when he presented his proposed layout, as he recalls.

Now, those rare Dylan images and thousands more are in the possession of the Grand Valley State University Art Gallery.

Local restaurants offer to-go Thanksgiving meals

By Zach Tenney

Photo by iStock

With dine-in service temporarily banned in Michigan, Grand Rapids-area restaurants are offering special to-go meals for Thanksgiving.

Many Americans claim they won’t be traveling this holiday season, and these local restaurants offer a quick, hassle-free option that comes pretty close to Grandma’s cooking.

Grand Rapids theater closes its curtains

By Danielle Nelson

Photo by iStock

Dog Story Theater will not reopen its doors due to the impact of COVID-19.

The theater, at 7 Jefferson Ave. SE, has been closed since March, but its board decided to stop future operations because of the unpredictability of when the venue can be rented for public gatherings and live performances.

“We are so grateful for the incredible generosity the Dog Story community has shown the theater during this time through fundraiser campaigns and individual donations,” Dog Story said. “Your gifts enabled us to pay the bills over these past few months as the theater has remained dark, to hold on just a little longer in hopes that it would be safe to reopen, but unfortunately, the pandemic is still holding on, as well. The safety of our community comes first.”

Dominican couple opens Caribbean restaurant downtown

By Rachel Watson

Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine serves Caribbean food, including empanadas. Courtesy Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine

A restaurant that serves Caribbean cuisine is now open in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.

Married couple Gilma DeLaCruz and Edward DeLaCruz last week opened their restaurant, Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine, at 55 Monroe Center NW in downtown Grand Rapids.

In addition to her role as co-owner, Gilma DeLaCruz also is general manager.

Inspiration for Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine came from the couple’s original business, El Caribe food truck, which serves Caribbean food.

Meijer offers premade Thanksgiving dinners

By Ehren Wynder

Photo by iStock

Meijer is offering a couple of premade Thanksgiving dinner choices for those who want a quick meal option.

The retailer is offering a deluxe turkey dinner for $49.99, which includes a 10- to 12-pound prebaked turkey, home-style stuffing, roasted turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry relish and a dozen dinner rolls. A deluxe ham dinner costs $49.99, which includes a 7- to 9-pound spiral ham, home-style stuffing, roasted turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry relish and a dozen dinner rolls. Both deluxe dinners can feed eight to 10 people.

While Meijer will work to accommodate any customer request, the retailer encourages customers to place orders for premade dinners as soon as possible as limited quantities are available per store.

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