The GRNow Gems – The Best of Grand Rapids

best-of-grand-rapids-guide-logoLooking for the very ‘Best of Grand Rapids’? Check out our list of the GRNow Gems — what we think are the 29 can’t-miss restaurants, bars, breweries and must-see attractions in the Grand Rapids metro area. Did your favorite local spot make the cut?


  • Rowster Coffee - The neighborhood coffee shop roasts on-site and serves up cappuccino, lattes and specialty drinks. Prepackaged coffee is also available for carry out.
  • Herman’s Boy - Just outside of downtown Rockford, Herman’s Boy combines five unique shops into one: The Bakery & Deli with sandwiches, bagels and pastries, The Coffee Ranch, The Cookery Nook with kitchen gadgets, The Outdoor Cook for home grilling needs and the O’Fudge Confectionary.
  • GR Bagel - GR Bagel’s first retail takeout bakery is located in the former Uptown Kitchen space behind Wolfgang’s in Eastown. Get hand rolled water bagels in a variety of flavors like sea salt, cinnamon raisin, rosemary, everything, plain and more. The bagel shop has also added breakfast sandwiches including egg, cheese & bacon and a lox & cream cheese served on Saturdays […]
  • MadCap Coffee - The coffee shop on Monroe Center & Ottawa in the heart of downtown GR roasts its own coffee on site for its variety of espressos, lattes, cappuccinos and more. A small selection of pastries are also available.
  • Marie Catrib’s - Located in the East Hills Center of the Universe building at the corner of Lake and Diamond, Marie Catrib’s serves up fresh homemade sandwiches, daily soups and entrees including a handful of  Middle Eastern selections. Baked goods, pastries and a large dessert menu are also featured, and bakery, cheese and deli items to go are available. Open for breakfast, lunch […]
  • - The JW Marriott’s signature restaurant features high-end cuisine with locally grown ingredients served in a contemporary atmosphere. The seasonally changing menu has soups, salads, seafood, flatbreads and more. Adjacent to, Mixology Lounge has a full cocktail menu, wines by the glass, beers and a specially priced food menu.
  • Mr. Burger – Lake Michigan Dr. - More than 40 years ago, Peter and Maria Christopoulos took a former Dog ‘N Suds hot dog and burger stand and converted it into a family-oriented restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. That first location has now expanded to a chain of six across West Michigan, but that original Mr. Burger still makes the case for serving up some of […]
  • Grove - Enjoy artfully crafted farm-to-table cuisine like Scotch eggs, house-made ricotta, shrimp & grits, beef tartare & octopus, spaghetti & sausage, lamb, scallops, skate, desserts and more.
  • Choo Choo Grill - It’s easy to drive past this tiny establishment at the corner of Leonard and Plainfield without even noticing it’s there. But don’t let the small size fool you; Choo Choo serves up big classic flavors in a friendly atmosphere that reminds you of the good old days. Not much has changed at the little red brick burger joint since it […]
  • San Chez Bistro - San Chez has remained a Grand Rapids favorite by following a simple mission: provide high-quality authentic Spanish cuisine using locally-grown food in a fun environment while giving back to the community. Located just one block from Van Andel Arena, San Chez has received numerous local awards, along with national recognition from Hispanic Magazine, which named it one of the 50 […]
  • Tokyo Grill & Sushi - The level, quality and availability of sushi in Grand Rapids has truly exploded over the past decade, with new favorites like Maru, Ju and Sushi Kuni having arrived on the scene in just the last couple of years. But even with all of the new competition, there’s one place that still stands out above the crowd: Tokyo Grill. Located at […]
  • Bistro Bella Vita - The locally owned and operated downtown eatery next to Van Andel Arena specializes in Mediterranean countryside cuisine like carpaccio, stuffed dates, beef bourguignonne, duck ravioli and pizzas. Bistro Bella Vita also has an extensive list of house martinis  and wine.
  • Osteria Rossa - Located in the recently renovated Kendall Building overlooking Monument Square, the casual Italian eatery features wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas and seasonal dishes using local Michigan ingredients. Expect specialties like octopus, gnudi (spinach & ricotta dumplings), clams and saltimbocca on the rotating menu. $5 HAPPY HOUR (Bar side only) Monday-Friday: 4:00pm-6:00pm
  • Jersey Junction - Located in East Grand Rapids’ Gaslight Village, Jersey Junction serves up 28 flavors of ice cream (including Moose Tracks, Cake Batter and Superman) in homemade waffle cones, as well as candy, toys and sandwiches in a fun and family-friendly atmosphere. The photos and decor on the walls recount the history of both East Grand Rapids and Ramona Park, a small […]
  • Tacos el Cunado – Downtown Market - Enjoy authentic tacos at the Downtown Market, along with tamales and burritos. Protein choices include chorizo, chicken, pastor, shrimp and carne asada, along with a full selection of Mexican bottled sodas compliment the menu.
  • Love’s Ice Cream - This vendor inside the Downtown Market offers handcrafted ice cream made from organic grass-fed dairy and Grand Rapids’ original vegan gelato. Flavors include blueberry, Mad Captainccino, Brownie Explosion and Cardamom Orange Blossom. Ice cream is also available to go by the pint.
  • Downtown Market - The Market Hall inside the Downtown Market features a wide variety of permanent vendors, with many like Tacos el Cunado, Fish Lads, Aperitivo, Love’s Ice Cream and Grocer’s Daughter offering lunch, wine, cheese and sweet treats. Visitors will also find coffee, produce, a butcher, a baker, a pie shop, spices, olive oil and flowers.  
  • Wealthy Street Bakery - The locally owned and operated bakery on Wealthy Street and Union sits in a renovated grocery store from the 1930’s and boats a real artisan oven–one of only two of its kind in the world. That oven bakes a slew of hearth breads and pizzas daily,  and Wealthy Street Bakery is also known for having a wide variety of pastries and […]


  • Founders Brewing Co. - Grand Rapids’ most successful microbrewery gives locals and travelers alike a chance to indulge in more than a dozen of its unique ales inside the newly expanded taproom, or outdoors in the recently completed beer garden. Sip on widely known favorites like the Pale Ale or the All Day IPA along with limited and seasonal offerings like KBS, the Nitro T8R […]
  • Hopcat - When you’ve been rated the #3 Beer Bar on the Planet by Beer Advocate Magazine, and have an overall perfect BA score of 100 (world-class), you’re definitely onto something. But when you also serve up some of the best bar food in Grand Rapids, you have a winner. Hopcat features more than three dozen craft beers on draft from Michigan […]
  • Mitten Brewing Company - Mitten Brewing’s combination of craft beer, handmade pizzas, vintage baseball and late 19th century nostalgia have quickly made it one of Grand Rapids’ top destinations. A collaboration between friends Max Trierweiler and musician Chris Andrus, the duo purchased and renovated Engine House No. 9, a Victorian-era fire station that has been a West Leonard landmark for decades, and converted it […]
  • Harmony Brewing Company - The microbrewery and pizza pub on Lake Drive in Eastown has a number of beers made on-site like an absinthe chocolate donut stout called Capricorn and the Grand Daddy Rapids cream ale. Wood-fired pizzas are also available, including the Crispy Pig for meat lovers and the Eastown Folk Funk for vegetarians.
  • Perrin Brewing Company - Located off of 7 Mile Rd, just east of Alpine, the locally-owned microbrewery and tasting room offers 5 Tiers of beers, plus the Cooper’s Series. Sip on uniquely brewed concoctions like the Sweet Potato Porter, the Poop Your Pants Chocolate Bock and the Razzberry Blonde. The food menu features wings, bbq pulled pork, mac & cheese, hot dogs, paninis, burgers and […]
  • Pyramid Scheme - The Heartside Neighborhood music venue boasts 15 Michigan beers on tap, two dozen pinball machines and a stage that hosts national acts like DJ Grandmaster Flash, Reverend Horton Heat, Richie Ramone and more.
  • Flat Lander’s Bar - Grand Rapids’ first and only Barstillery serves up locally-distilled organic bourbon, whisky, rum, gin and vodka along with a special moonshine concoction called Appleshine. The “hillbilly chic” menu features a mix of house-made sausages, pork shank and meatloaf entrees, burgers and salads. Desserts include sweet potato pie and a PB&J ala mode. ‘The Bird Cage Stage’ (billed as the world’s […]


  • Grand Rapids Civic Theatre - The Civic Theatre is the largest community theatre in Michigan and the second largest in the U.S, with over 6,000 annual season ticket holders. Throughout the season, more than 90,000 theatre goers watch 110 main stage performances and 20 additional peformances for children. Each season’s plays are varied, ranging from classic works like ‘Death of Salesman’ and ‘Much Ado About […]
  • Fulton Street Farmers Market - The recently expanded farmers market is the largest in Grand Rapids with a new permanent roof over the market stalls, a new permanent building to house year-round vendors and better flow to reach the dozens of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, honey, flowers, bread, meats and much more.
  • Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery - For a taste of the country in the city, stop by Robinette’s on the corner of the East Beltline and 4 Mile Rd NE. The cider mill, bakery, and gift barn are open year round and there is something special to celebrate every season. Hand-pick fruit in the orchards throughout the summer; hop on the horse-drawn wagons for a hayride […]
  • Heritage Hill Historic District - Heritage Hill is a testament to what concerned and thoughtful citizens can accomplish when they band together to make their voices heard. One of the largest historic districts in the nation, comprised of 1,300 homes dating back to 1848, the neighborhood faced severe danger of being destroyed by urban renewal in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Determined residents living […]
  • Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park - There’s a reason Meijer Gardens has been named one of the top must-see museums in the world by the author of “1,000 Places to See Before You Die”. Countless reasons, actually. Opened in April 1995, the 132-acre indoor and outdoor wonderland seamlessly blends together fine works of sculpture by world-renowned artists like Rodin, DiSuvero and Claes Oldenberg with an amazing […]