Grand Rapids Brunch
We are heading to Grand Rapids for a show in a few weekends. Plan to have dinner at HopCat--one of our favorite brews from the Ypsinlanti/Detroit brew fests this year :-) Looking forward to checking it out.
Could use some suggestions for brunch on Sunday. We are staying near the airport and plan to visit the Meijer gardens before we leave town. Which would you choose:
616 at the JW Marriot?
Really just looking for a good breakfast at a good price. A better suggestion I midded? Cocktails after noon would be nice, but not necessary.
We have only been to San Chez once, and it was at dinner, but we really were not impressed with the food. It is a fun atmosphere and seems like a good place for a drink, but based on our experience, I would never go back for the food. We stayed at Jw Marriott and I really wish we had tried six.one.six. I've heard great things about it, but not their brunch in particular. However, we had outstanding breakfasts (and service) at both Marie Catrib's and Real Food Cafe. No alcohol at either place, though. Diner atmosphere, as opposed to six.one.six, which you may find more relaxing. Hope this helps.
I usually stay in the airport area along 28th Street, and I sometimes go out for an early breakfast. There's an IHOP (5039 28th St SE, 616-956-0494) and a Perkins (5121 28th St SE, 616-285-5464) on that stretch. Obviously that's nothing great but they're close and they're open on Sundays.
I ate dinner at six one six a few months back, and it was spectacular, the best meal I've had in GR since Gibson's closed. (I posted a detailed report in the big GR dining discussion at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/379217 .) However, I don't think their creativity carries over into breakfast; I say this based on the breakfast menu on their website ( www.ilove616.com ), which looks like fairly standard breakfast fare. The same thing is true for the breakfast menu at the Cafe part of San Chez ( www.sanchezbistro.com ). Not that they're bad, but it seems like you're not really getting the full experience at breakfast. Both are open on Sundays. I haven't tried breakfast at either place, so if you go anyway, I'd love to hear back.
According to their website ( www.mariecatribs.com ), it appears that Marie Catrib's is closed on Sundays. Which is too bad, because the brunch menu they serve on Saturdays sounds great.
I looked at the big GR dining discussion (see link above) and there were a bunch of breakfast recommendations. One of them, Wolfgang's, has a website at www.mattwolfgang.com where it shows a huge breakfast menu and shows hours for Sunday. It's on the east side. This one sounds like a winner to me.
For all the other places mentioned in that discussion, all I could find was addresses and phone numbers, but no websites or hours, so you'd need to find out more:
The Red Geranium - 6670 Kalamazoo Ave, 616-656-9800, and 5751 Byron Center Ave SW, Wyoming 616-532-8888
Real Food Cafe - 2419 Eastern Ave SE 616-241-4080 and 5430 Northland Dr NE 616-361-1808
The Gathering Place - 6886 Cascade Rd 616-949-3188
Brandywine - 2844 E Beltline Ave NE 616-363-1723 and 1345 Lake Dr SE 616-774-8641
La Loma - 3855 Division Ave S, Wyoming 616-475-7793
Wherever you go, if it's not a big chain, I suggest calling first to make sure they're open on Sundays, unless their website says so. Lots of the non-chain restaurants in GR are closed on Sundays, more so than in most other cities.
Again, please post where you end up and how you like it!
EDIT: After writing the above post, I went into the website of the Grand Rapids/Kent County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and found that they have an advanced search feature. I clicked on "brunch served" and "open Sundays" and nine restaurants appeared. You can see the list at www.visitgrandrapids.org/eat-dining.p... and it has links to the restaurants' websites. One is a chain (Big Boy) and I've actually been to four of the other eight, but at dinner, not for brunch. Blue Water Grill and Roses on Reed's Lake were both very good, offering good food in a picturesque lakefront setting (with outdoor dining at nicer times of the year). They're both part of the Gilmore Collection, a GR-based restaurant group. Charley's Crab and the Spinnaker both specialize in seafood, and both are just okay, nothing great (if you want great seafood, go to Leo's, which is closed Sundays). The Spinnaker is the only one of these four that shows a breakfast menu on their website, and it sounds okay. The Spinnaker is geographically convenient, though; it's in the Hilton, at the corner of Patterson (the street that goes past the airport) and 28th St (the main drag with all the hotels). I also noticed that Red Jet Cafe, which I haven't been to but is also part of the Gilmore Collection, shows a very nice breakfast menu on their website at www.thegilmorecollection.com/MENURBJ.pdf
I've had two or three OK dinners at San Chez and one of the best brunches ever just a month or two ago. It's not super busy on weekends (or at least it wasn't after Thanksgiving, before Christmas) and the french toast made me swoon with delight.
I'd avoid chains (IHOP, Perkins) like the plague even if it appears to be the only options. I also liked Marie Catrib's for breakfast but I can't get that french toast out of my brain.... (and I'm a savory breakfast kind of gal 99% of the time).
Looks like I need a road trip!
I would suggest the Sundance Grill on 28th St. The breakfast meals are gigantic, but they are tasty (also a little spicy, as I recall). This is Southwestern-style food, so not at all a "local" specialty, but it is close to where you'll be, not a chain, and made fresh.
San Chez is best for dinner, so you can have their sangrias and it's really best when there are more fresh veggies in season.
Wolfgangs in Eastown is a lot of food for a good price. They have good coffee but don't serve alcohol. One breakfast can usually split between two people. I wouldn't choose San Chez for brunch. I hear good things about Cherie Inn, but have never been.
My favorite Sunday brunch is at The Omelette Shop in Breton Village (Breton & Burton). There is a Fuller street location downtown, also.
I've heard great things about Restaurant Bloom downtown. They are open Sundays only for brunch 10:30-2. http://www.bloomgr.com/food-brunch.html If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, this would be a good choice.
We did a big, family breakfast at the Cheri Inn over the holiday's. It was my first time there though my parents have gone there for years. The food was all very good, try the grilled cinnamon roll. Get there early if you don't want to wait.
969 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Thanks for all the great suggestions. We ended up at Real Food and has an outstanding breakfast! The wait was about 20 min at 1115 on a Sunday--not too bad. Service was pleasant and efficient. Food was fresh tasting and HUGE portions. Highly recommend it.
We had dinner at HopCat and can also recommend. You seat yourself, which can be a little stressful if it's really busy (and it was when we went). LOTS of microbrews to choose from (not just HopCat) and the menu is "fancy" barfood. I had pulled pork with pickles, cheese on a pretzel bun. Very tasty. And not too expensive!