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ReLo to Grand Rapids, MI

Hello Fellow Chowhounds,
I am going to be relocating from Ann Arbor to Grand Rapids in the next few weeks and would like to hit the ground running with regard to restaurants. I will be living in the West Village Subdivision in Ada and working downtown at Spectrum Health. However, I’m willing to drive for some good chow. We have a toddler and another one on the way so I’m not really looking for super fancy places. Here is our Grand Rapids, MI foodie wish list:

1. A good authentic Chinese restaurant. Can be hole in the wall with rude servers as long as they have good food. Dim sum and live fish/crabs/lobsters in tanks a plus. I’ve heard Wei Wei Palace is the only place in Western MI with decent Chinese.
2. A Pho joint. Again, can be hole in the wall as long as they serve a Pho with good noodles and delicious broth. A menu with pho containing mystery meat meatballs considered a plus.
3. A Thai place. Someplace that goes beyond Pad Thai. Dishes served with sticky rice on the side considered a plus.
4. Authentic and Tex-Mex restaurants. I’d like a place with a good chicken mole or tripe soup as well as a place to get fajitas or a sloppy burrito.
5. Asian market. A place where you can buy 25 pounds of jasmine rice and pick a live crab out of a tank would be nice.
6. Family restaurant. Preferably not a chain, but a mom and pop place that welcomes toddlers and has a nice staple of comfort foods.
7. Bakery. A place where you can get fresh bread, a chocolate croissant or a pear tart.

I think that is a good list for right now. If you can help with any of these on my list I would be grateful.

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  1. I have not lived in GR in 12 years (now in DC where we have all of the above) and would be interested to see what people respond. I will be visiting next week and would love to be able to get to a good bakery for mom's bday.

    1. I too was at spectrum Butterworth back then....you will be pleasantly surprised with the restaurants...havent been there in years though

      1. I'm looking forward to the answers as well. I'm very familiar with many of the fine dining options around GR, as that's what I'm generally looking for in my visits to town, but that's clearly not what you're looking for.

        1. Well, I'm not the best responder to this. I live near Kalamazoo, and go to Grand Rapids now and then, but really don't know the restaurant scene. My favorite place in GR is SanChez (tapas) downtown. It has a big menu, the food is really good and it has a nice ambiance, but may be a little bit upscale for what you're trying to find. Gaia (209 Diamond near Fulton) is a vegetarian place that has wonderful food and great freshly squeezed juices. The menu is eclectic and includes some good Mexican choices. This place is not at all up-scale, a place you can comfortably read a paper or book while you sip coffee or wait for your food. I like the atmosphere, but some would complain it's stuck in the 60's - that suits me fine because I guess I have one foot stuck back there. Teshlou's Little Africa is nearby on Fulton. The food is wonderful, Ethiopian but a little different from what I've had in other Ethiopian places. Terrible decor. Definitely not up-scale, a one man operation - Lou cooks and serves. Also, there's a Thai place I haven't eaten in on 28th St: Thai House. I hope someone will let us know about that place. I hear it's very down-scale - tiny place with no decor in a strip mall. I did hear it's suppose to be good, but have no idea if it would meet your expectations for Thai. I don't know of a decent Chinese place in southwest Michigan. I haven't been to the one you mention. Last summer I had lunch at Charlie's Crab (a more up-scale place downtown) with a bunch of friends and we were all very pleased with our food. Good luck! Let us know what you find.

          1 Reply
          1. re: CilD

            I had to reply to the comment "I don't know a decent Chinese place in southwest Michigan". You apparently have never been to Chinn Chinn at the Mattawan exit, just north of I-94. Best Chinese in the Midwest in my opinion.

          2. As best as I can determine from a web search, there are three Thai restaurants in Grand Rapids:

            Thai House Restaurant
            6447 28th St Se
            Grand Rapids, 49546
            (616) 285-9944

            Bangkok View
            1233 28th St SW
            Wyoming, 49509
            (616) 531-8070

            Formosa Chinese & Thai Restaurant
            5260 Northland Dr NE # D
            Grand Rapids, 49525
            (616) 364-8225

            That's few enough that you can just try all of them.

            2 Replies
            1. re: nsxtasy

              Grand Rapids can now boast a fourth Thai restaurant. Open since December 4, Angel's Thai Cafe is located at 136 Monroe Center NW, across from the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Classic Thai cuisine is served (lunch and dinner menus) from 11AM until 9:00 PM - but open until 3:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. The telephone number is 616-454-9801 and the web site is www.angelsthaicafe.com