Foodies Rejoice! Grand Rapids Food Scene is Booming Again

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Food scene on the rise again in Grand Rapids with more restaurants opening / Courtesy: Mr. & Mrs. Crab

Covid hit the Grand Rapids restaurant scene especially hard. It seemed like foodies were pouring one out for their culinary compadres every week since the pandemic started. WOOD TV reports more than 70 Grand Rapids businesses closed by the end of 2021. Now it’s 2022 and you may want to tip that drink back toward your glass–because it’s time to celebrate a food scene that’s risen again. Here are eight new restaurants and a first-of-its-kind brewery now open in the Grand Rapids area.

Eden Cafe

1034 Bridge St. NW  |  Facebook  | Instagram

Eden Café is a coffee connoisseur’s paradise where you won’t be cast out for indulging in decadent flavors. In fact, you’re encouraged to treat yourself, because the money you spend is being paid forward. Four percent of all revenue is donated to organizations and missions that support childhood education, social justice and breast cancer research.

Eden Café offers gourmet coffees, fruit-forward beverages and breakfast sweets. The owners vow to use only premium ingredients.

You’ll also save a premium on your credit card if you utilize the cafe’s Rewards Program. After just five visits, you’ll save up to 20% off your next order of $15 or less. Students could see more savings with a study discount offered.

Management plans to host painting and candle making classes in the near future. Eden Café opens at 7am weekdays and 9am Saturdays. It’s closed every Sunday.

Monsoon

55 Monroe Center St. NW  |  Facebook

Don’t let the name Monsoon fool you–this new Vietnamese restaurant is calm with an elegant decor and food to match. Yes, you will find a soothing bowl of pho at Monsoon, but you’ll also find a tomahawk pork chop, a roasted salmon and vegan options.

While you can fly solo with a sizable slab of meat, you may want to share a few dishes with your tablemates. Monsoon has several shareable options, including their version of bao street tacos. You’ll also find a rotating list of new specials–ask your server about those.

If you want to visit, plan ahead. Monsoon’s website offers a waitlist to add yourself to the queue.

Mr. & Mrs. Crab

2739 Breton Rd. SEFacebook

Mr. & Mrs. Crab is a Florida chain that is now testing the waters outside the Gulf Coast with expansions in Utah and Grand Rapids. The sit-down seafood boil spot has taken over the old Shiraz Grille location on Breton Road SE, remodeled with a family-friendly vibe.

If you haven’t done a boil before–here’s how it works at Mr. and Mrs. Crab: You pick your seafood, your spices and your heat level. The chef puts it all together with corn and potatoes. The food arrives at your table in a specially designed seafood bag. You dump it out and feast. You’ll want to put that silverware down. All hands are on deck with this meal.

The crew will provide gloves, bibs, shell crackers, and silverware on request. You should bring an appetite.

Papa Chops

2222 28th St. SE  |  Facebook 

Some people choose to be gluten free. Others are forced to forgo the grainy protein. Papa Chops chef Aaron Muller is the latter of the two. He was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and decided to put together a menu so good you’ll forget it’s gluten-free. 

Muller and chef Thaddeus Whorely dish out pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and fries–all made with gluten alternatives. They also banned nuts from the menu and cater to most food allergies.

You may want to order early–there are often lunch and dinner rushes. 

Real Seafood Co.

141 Lyon St. NW | Facebook 

You know you’re looking at a deep seafood menu when the oyster options take up an entire page. Real Seafood Co. offers more than a dozen fresh fish and shellfish options, brought in from the Great Lakes, Atlantic coast and Gulf coast.

Real Seafood Co. opened this summer inside the old Kent Bank building on Lyon Street NW. The decor is modern but comfortable. The vibe is perfect for celebrations and more intimate occasions. You can rent out private dining areas in the wine storage room and mezzanine level.

Here’s a tip: Go for happy hour on weekdays from 4-6pm. You’ll find pints of beer for UNDER $4 (!!!!) and tasty happy hour menu items specially priced to keep you day drinkers well-fed.

Taco Borracho

755 Michigan St. NE | Facebook

How good is Taco Borracho? In March, the new restaurant had to temporarily shut down because it became too popular too fast. Now owner Angel Gonzalez has figured out how to meet customers’ demands for his tacos.

They come filled with meats like steak, chorizo and fish. You’ll also find vegan options like papas and Impossible meat. And there are a few non-taco items such as tostones, elote and a Puerto Rican steak sandwich.

Taco Borracho has a full bar and some creative cocktails on the menu to sip on while you get some sun on the large patio. You’ll also find beer on tap and several wines to choose from. No surprise, seeing as Taco Borracho translates to Drunk Taco.

Tacon Madre

3501 S. Division Ave., Wyoming | Facebook

If you head south of the border (of Grand Rapids), you’ll find a modern take on Mexican cuisine that’s heating up the local food scene. Tacon Madre means “mother of all tacos.” On the menu, you’ll find tacos, along with birria, tortas, flautas and more.

It’s a fast-food joint, but everything is lovingly crafted. You can sip on homemade agua frescas–or get your food to-go at the drive-thru. If you’re tired of the same ol’ same ol’ Mexican dishes, Tacon Madre offers birria ramen and pizza birria.

The owners also run the Outlaw Roasted Corn food truck. They hope to bring those creations into Tacon Madre sometime down the road.

Taste of Cairo

120 Ottawa St NW Suite 120Facebook

Are you looking for something you probably haven’t had before? How about an Egyptian street food that’s layered with noodles, lentils, beans, chickpeas, fried onions, and fried rice with tomato and garlic sauces? No? You haven’t had that? Well, now’s the time to correct that a blind spot you didn’t know existed until now.

Taste of Cairo features its signature koshery (the dish with layers), lentil soup, spinach pie, several side items and desserts–but make no mistake–people come back for the koshery. Co-owner Riham Erdman grew up in Egypt, where she learned to make authentic Egyptian cuisine. She met husband and co-owner Dale Erdman at Saginaw Valley State.

College students are encouraged to check out Taste of Cairo. If you show a college ID while dining on the weekdays, you get 20% off your bill.

Brewery Nyx

506 Oakland Ave SW  |  Facebook

Grand Rapids is one of America’s great beer cities. There’s no surprise that another brewery has arrived. But this one is different. Brewery Nyx is Michigan’s first dedicated gluten-free brewery.

Nyx doesn’t use any special process to eliminate gluten. You won’t find the words “Gluten-Free” on the label. The brewers just focus on beers that do not require grain or sugar. You’ll find a stout, a lager, a blonde–even a Double IPA!

There’s no food on the menu at Brewery Nyx. You will find some prepackaged snacks. The taproom is open with limited hours every Thursday through Sunday. Sorry, you’ll have to get a sixer to-go if you want to stay gluten-free after sundown.

What’s your flavor?

Grand Rapids has plenty of new ways to tantalize your tastebuds. Which one of these new restaurants (or brewery) is calling to you? Tell us on Facebook or Instagram.

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