Grand Rapids’ West Side has seen massive expansion over the past decade, becoming a new hub for some of the city’s best dining and entertainment. The Bridge Street corridor is often what first comes to mind when planning a day on the West Side; however, the lesser-known West Leonard Street corridor offers some of the best hidden gems in the area.
Friends Scott Hartmann and Scott Leucht opened Two Scotts Barbecue in 2015 and have been feeding hungry West Siders ever since. Both had a passion for great barbecue before deciding to open Two Scotts — Hartmann started with an at-home barbecuing setup and Leucht has spent over a decade working in professional kitchens.
Together the duo renovated a former A&W stand from the 1950s, located at 536 Leonard St. NW, into one of the best barbecue joints in town. The two take pride in specializing in “Michigan style barbecue,” focusing on flavoring with dry rub instead of sauces. From pulled pork to fall-off-the-bone ribs, Two Scotts offers a full range of meats to satisfy every
Across the street from Two Scotts Barbecue is Grand Rapids’ very first comedy theater. The Comedy Project opened in 2019 by a group of Second City Conservatory Program alumni using Kickstarter to raise nearly $30,000 to fund the effort. The theater features improv, sketch and comedy variety shows, a comedy training center, and private event space. After the show, audiences are able to enjoy a full bar featuring local craft brews as well as a range of moonshine options.
Just down the street is The Freewheeler Bike Shop. Known for having one of the largest inventories of bicycles in Grand Rapids, Freewheeler is a one-stop shop for everything you need. Freewheeler has remained a family business since its opening in 1979 and offers a full range of bicycle-related services including repairs and even customization.
Enjoy a Saturday exploring the West Leonard Street corridor.
This story can be found in the February 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here.