What's New In Town: Restaurants & Bars
Photo: Pursuit of Happiness.


West Michigan’s food and drink scene continues to grow every year, both in volume and diversity, and we love to see it.

Of course, we’ve also sadly lost some local favorites in recent times, but it’s encouraging to see that new chefs are always ready to come on the scene and add to the region’s culinary tapestry.

So, here’s our roundup of the local eateries and watering holes who have opened in the past year or so. If you’re looking for something new to try, check them out!

Nonla Burger arrived in Grand Rapids after seeing much success in Kalamazoo. This popular eatery focuses on doing a relatively small menu very, very well, with super creative specials that change daily. If you like burgers, chicken sandwiches and fries, head to 449 Bridge St. NW.

Toastn’ Tea opened at 2500 E. Beltline Ave., Grand Rapids, featuring a huge variety of boba drinks, whether you want milk tea, fruit tea, smoothies or “lava lattes.” They also have a ton of great food options, from a variety of Asian wings to banh mi, bulgogi nachos, fresh rolls, pho and more.

Tia Juana joined the Mexican cuisine vanguard in Grand Rapids at 2289 E. Beltline Ave. NE. Rave reviews have poured in, praising the food as truly authentic and highly memorable. Try out a mulita, “often referred to as mini-quesadillas on steroids,” with steak, cilantro, onion and guacamole fried between two tortillas and cheese.

There’s a new cocktail bar in Kalamazoo at 344 North Rose Street. Dabney & Co. Cocktail Bar and Lounge is blazing the way forward while paying tribute to the many Black mixologists before them. Come on in for delicious drinks and a welcoming atmosphere, scored by soulful, funky, jazzy, disco, bluesy, R&B and hip-hop music. 

You are cordially invited to an immersive tea time experience at High Tea, now open at 1522 Wealthy St., Grand Rapids. This highly curated shop offers the full Afternoon Tea spread, which includes your tea of choice, deliciously simple tea sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, preserves, pastries and more.

Under the helm of James Beard Award-winning Chef Paul Berglund, Ada has an impressive new pizza and pasta restaurant called Myrth. Visit at 7423 River St. SE for bold, satisfying meals, with offerings like a potato and leek pizza.

For a morning or afternoon pick me up, head to the new Vibe Energy Café at 900 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids. Their energy drinks start with a housemade Vibe Energy base, then are infused with flavors like orange, coconut, even caramel apple. They also offer sodas and a full coffee menu—along with a few breakfast wraps and biscuit sandwiches.

Pursuit of Happiness Co. came out swinging, quickly gaining fans thanks to the good vibes and great drinks. Located in Eastown at 1426 Robinson Rd SE, this casual-yet-chic champagne and cocktail bar also offers charcuterie plates, toasts and tinned fish—not to mention espresso drinks and mocktails!

Welcome to a whole new world of cotton candy. 
Fluff Buckets opened doors at 3917 Leland Ave. NE, Comstock Park, offering not just cotton candy but also cereal milkshakes. Head into the store for dozens of unique flavors from Sour Grape to Orange Soda, Smores, Cherry, Cola and so much more.

Enjoy fro-yo before or after your movie at Studio Park with Elsa’s (121 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids), which just opened doors. Pick from more than 12 flavors to start in whatever size you’d like, then load up as many toppings as you want—they don’t weigh (or judge). 

Hot pot arrived in the form of King Pot, a Korean BBQ and hot pot eatery at 4176 28th St., Kentwood. If you’ve had Korean BBQ before, you know the drill—you order your meats, veggies and sides as a table, and cook them up right there on a grill. Hot pot is the same concept, except with a communal soup, which means you also have noodles, broths and additional veggies to work with.

Over on Front Avenue, right across the Grand River from Sixth Street Park, you’ll find 5Knives Café, a breakfast and lunch eatery with high quality grab and go options. Stop in at 678 Front for affordable yet fresh morning options and come through at lunch for creative but approachable sandwiches like the eggplant pesto panini and grilled steak sandwich.

K-Pocha opened doors at 5751 Byron Center Ave. SW, Wyoming, serving up exceptionally distinctive Korean street-style food. There are crowd-pleasing options like Korean-style wings, loaded fries and the Tater-nado, a spiral cut, deep-fried potato topped with spicy mayo. Or build your own corn dog, with batter, ramen, hot Cheetos, or Fruity Pebbles! They also have bingsu, a light and fluffy shaved milk treat.

Chicago Beef Joint moved in at 822 Ottawa Ave. NW. Owner Krupp is bringing classic Windy City cuisine to West Michigan with Italian Beef sandwiches, Chicago Dogs, Polish Sausage and more—quickly gaining a following thanks to authentic and bold flavors.

The Caribbean Bite has joined the ranks of Studio Park (122 Oakes St. SW, Grand Rapids), serving up Puerto Rican and Dominican cuisine. At this second location, you’ll find variations on rice, plantains, tacos, marinated meats, salad and more.

We also gained another Chicago-style Italian beef spot with Jack Danger’s opening at 1499 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids. With a varied menu of Italian beef, Italian sausage, Vienna beef hot dogs, chili, fries and old school shakes & malts, Jack Danger’s is the real deal.

Rake Beer Project opened their new location in Downtown Muskegon at 500 W. Western. This brewery focuses on “progressive farmhouse ales,” crafting unique brews like a Crawler, a black Kolsch, and Pickle Joose, a golden sour conditioned on cucumber, dill and sea salt. 

Caledonia welcomed a new restaurant specializing in barbecue and bourbon: Butcher Block Social. Head to 9900 Cherry Valley Ave. SE for this collaboration between Wildwood Family Farms and Saladino Smoke. It’s a communal atmosphere, where guests are free to roam about and socialize, while enjoying smoked meats and roughly 200 varieties of bourbon. 

The former Chinatown restaurant at 69 28th St., Grand Rapids is now RIO Peruvian & Mexican Cuisine. The restaurant can seat nearly 280 customers with a full bar and two dining rooms. Head here to try out a number of Ceviches, a large seafood menu, grilled entrees, burritos, tacos and much more, all drawn from Peruvian and Mexican cuisine.

Street Chef Shaw opened his brick-and-mortar location, Mizizi, in Creston at 1539 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids—the former site of Rinaldi’s. For years now, chef Kirel Shaw has been serving up a fusion of Latin American and East African street foods out of his traveling food truck (as well as City Built Brewing, for a time). Head to the cozy take-out joint for quick service and delicious tacos, burritos, chappatis, pilau and more.

The people behind Social Misfits downtown expanded their kingdom into the ceded lands of Wahlburgers with The Foolery (10 Ionia Ave. NW, Grand Rapids), a “fine dive bar” serving up Detroit-style square pan pizza, nostalgic craft cocktails and cold beer. Head in to try one of their distinctly unique pies like The Short King, with poached shrimp, Spanish chorizo, pickled red onion, marinara and queso fresco.

Mangiamo is back in the historic mansion at 1033 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids. After seven years away, Mangiamo has returned with elevated Italian entrees like Lobster Tail Risotto and Conchiglie al Pesto, or go for a cut of American Wagyu beef from Snake River Farms. In the basement, you’ll find the new Mo’s Lounge, a retro cocktail lounge with libations ranging from a classic Aperol Spritz to the fresh and herbal Lana del Slay. Salute!

Inside of Amazing Myanmar Asian Cuisine (3740 28th St. SE, Kentwood), you’ll now find Adobo Boy, a Filipino eatery run by local icons Ace and Jackie Marasigan. Stop by to try one of the most popular dishes in the world, a Pork Adobo Bowl, and try out one of the other rotating offerings like Tinolang ​Manok (a warm, healthy, ginger-centric soup) or Pancit Bihon, a rice noodle dish with pork and veggies. 

Eastern Kille Distillery was finally able to open its Rockford location at 7755 Childsdale Ave. NE, right down the road from Third Nature Brewing. The new production space, restaurant and cocktail bar is the first time Eastern Kille has a kitchen, and they’re serving up pizza, apps and salad alongside a seasonally revolving menu of cocktails highlighting their own spirits, of course. Head on in for a meal before or after a walk along the White Pine Trail!

Up Leaf Café joined the lakeshore dining scene at 12371 James St., Holland. This is no ordinary café—the menu is full of rice bowls, noodle bowls, large spring rools, salads, and plant-based energy drinks. If you’re looking for healthy Asian fusion food in Holland, this is the place to be. What was once the casual yet lively J. Gardella’s Tavern is now Scholar (11 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids), a refined, charming, welcoming 3-story restaurant with a delicious fine cuisine. Each level has its own bar, dining area and charm, but across all three you’ll find the same expert hospitality and elevated cuisine.

At 1202 W. Fulton St. right by the John Ball Zoo, Mercadito Mexican Eats and Treats just opened doors. From the owner of El Granjero comes this concept, serving authentic dishes like pambazo, flautas, elote, mini pancakes, waffles, gansito preparado and more.

Forest Hills got a new eatery in the form of Buka Bakehouse. Head to 884 Forest Hill Ave. SE, Grand Rapids for Balkan-American baked goods, such as burek, a pastry made with thin, flaky dough and fillings. Or try the kifle, pide or seeded bread—they have it all.