Grand Rapids: Where to Eat?
Grand Rapids, Michigan is a perfect family vacation destination. There are so many things to do, places to visit, and foods to try. We found Grand Rapids to be a foodies paradise. We visited Grand Rapids in August 2017 and our family had a fabulous time. The weather was surprisingly cool and a perfect break from the heat wave we were used to on the East Coast. The most important question that came up in our group was: When you are visiting Grand Rapids, where should you eat? Today, I have the answer to this question. You will learn about the food and drinks from Palio, Six One Six, Wolfgang’s, Love’s Ice Cream, The Knickerbocker, and Burly Bison Bakery. Next week I will be sharing the best place to stay in Grand Rapids, as well as the best museums to visit. Stay tuned!
Love’s Ice Cream: We needed a cool break after traveling so what better than, ice cream? Love’s is located in the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids. The only drawback to shopping here is the parking lot! It took us a while to find a spot because this market has so many great options. You can find fresh fish, gourmet popcorn, fresh sushi, a juice bar, and even wood fired pizzas. More than 15 shops are scattered throughout this indoor mall. There is definitely something for everyone in your party. We visited the market for the freshly made and super delicious ice cream. Love’s Ice Cream focuses on original and creative flavors made from grass-fed cows. On the day we visited, the flavors were ones we had really never seen. Some of the best flavors we tasted were the butter pecan, whiskey fig, and the vegan peanut butter gelato. The mini blogger enjoyed a scoop of white chocolate ice cream in a freshly made waffle cone. You can see all the unique flavors that were available the day we visited, below. If you enjoy fresh, hand made ice cream, or non-dairy vegan gelato, Love’s ice cream is worth the trip!
Wolfgang’s: If you are a fan of breakfast foods, you must make a trip to Wolfgang’s. How do you know you are in the right place? You will see a huge line of people waiting to get into this fabulous family run restaurant. The worst part of Wolfgang’s is that it is almost impossible to choose what to order, the options all look so delicious! Our group tried a few different things so we could share a few of our favorites. Wolfgang’s is the best place to find breakfast and lunch in Grand Rapids, as evidenced by the huge lines of hungry patrons. With the creative menu and fresh local ingredients, I can see why it is so popular. The staff at Wolfgang’s make you feel right at home, which is the best feeling when you are on vacation.
Right above, you can see the “Cinnamon Roll?”. Yes, the question mark is part of this unique menu item. Wolfgang’s created this decadent dessert by stacking three layers of cinnamon bread (that were fried like french toast) slathered in vanilla icing and topped with fresh whipped cream. It tasted just as sweet, decadent, and delicious as it looks!
The kid’s menu allowed for 3 choices for under $5. We expected each item to be small and all on one plate. Nope, look at these huge portions! This is one kid’s order of chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, and 2 slices of french toast. Best kid’s breakfast I have ever seen!
Pictured above is the Keane skillet. Each skillet meal is prepared right in the cast iron pan and is served piping hot. The Keane is made up of biscuits, sausage gravy, corned beef hash and is topped with scrambled eggs. This super size portion makes a really delicious and filling meal. Each of the components blended together really well.
Just looking at this photo of the banana strawberry french toast makes me hungry! This is not your typical french toast, my fellow breakfast lovers. Wolfgang’s takes three slices of banana nut bread, dips them in egg and then fries them up like french toast. Next, they are topped with a generous amount of fresh strawberries and bananas. The fresh whipped cream on top adds a slight touch of sweetness. Our waitress suggested that we did not need any syrup for this french toast, and we agree. This appetizing breakfast was perfectly sweet, filling, and fun to eat.
We have a few other menu items that are not pictured. The polish sausage was slightly spicy and a very generous portion. It was served sliced open and perfectly grilled on all sides. The red skinned potatoes with chopped onions were divine. The crispy, salty, and addictive taters were served in small pieces and perfectly seasoned. Don’t miss these side items on the menu, they are easy to overlook. The blueberry pancakes were heavenly. Light pancakes with tons of blueberries and fresh maple syrup on the side were perfect for those with a smaller appetite. If you are looking for the perfect place to eat breakfast in Grand Rapids, you must try Wolfgang’s.
Six one six: This restaurant on the first floor of the JW Marriott in Grand Rapids was a welcome oasis after a long day of exploring Grand Rapids. Our group enjoyed a number of delicious menu items. The hostess and waiter were both incredibly friendly and warm, and made us feel right at home.
The flatbread with fennel sausage and onions was served on a wood cutting board. The mild sausage was a perfect companion to onions and cheese atop the soft thin bread base. This easy to share appetizer was seasoned perfectly and gone in seconds.
These truffle fries were amazing! These flavorful, well-seasoned fries had a slight truffle and deep salty flavor. The presentation was charming with the cone shape alongside the two delicious dips.
The kid’s menu was quite extensive and very healthy. Nutritionist Keri Glassman designed the kid’s menu to be very customizable. Kid’s choose from a whole list of options so that they can create their own perfect dinner. Pictured above are the whole wheat mac and cheese, sweet potato fries, and fresh applesauce. Yum!
The Reuben sandwich was well priced and came with a generous portion of corned beef and perfectly toasted bread. Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and pickled vegetables were delicately balanced with the corned beef. The sandwich was served with a generous portion of plain french fries.
The six one six burger was accompanied by cheddar cheese, fried onions, alongside some plain fries. Not pictured, but also enjoyed, was a salmon perfectly cooked with steamed broccoli and brussel sprouts.
Dessert was indulgent, a vanilla crème brulee with a butterfly shaped cookie and blueberries. This rich, creamy and tempting treat was an ideal way to end a picture perfect day.
The Knickerbocker: New Holland brewery was so much fun! Our group took over a private room and learned all about how their beer is made. After a few glasses of Dragon’s Milk beer, that was made on premises, the rest of the night was a bit of a blur. The Dragon’s Milk was a thick, dark beer and was really smooth and quite addictive. As soon as we got home, we needed to buy some more. We also tried their cider and a shot of their limoncello. The Knickerbocker also served lots of great food as well, but we really only focused on the beer while we were there. Next time we will try the food along with the beer.
The Burly Bison Bakery is a true labor of love. These creative vegan treats and desserts are handmade by Nicole and her husband Dylan. Nicole started creating her own recipes because she of some allergies she developed. All of these desserts are exquisite and made with plant based ingredients. They look and taste incredibly good, and they are a great way to enjoy sweet treats in a healthier way. I tried the fruit tart and the truffles and wow, you would not know that these are vegan at all. If you are visiting Grand Rapids, place your order in advance on their website and thank me later.
Palio Grand Rapids: Yes, I saved our favorite restaurant for last. There was a long line forming when we arrived at this popular dinner spot, which always is a good sign that the food will be worth the wait. The hostess presented each of us with a modernized menu, a tablet. We slowly scrolled through each page to “read” each item. The menu was fun to read, but also interactive, with a photo and a full description available, including ingredients. What a brilliant way to have your questions answered before your waitress even comes over. Our group tasted lots of dishes and we easily determined that Palio is worth the trip. Their food is amazing and still quite memorable. Not only were the dishes at Palio beautifully presented and delicately seasoned, they were all prepared with a great attention to detail.
The burrata was beautifully presented alongside lightly toasted crostinis, sweet fig jam, arugula, and pistachios. All the components tasted very fresh and blended beautifully with the mild burrata.
The beet salad was made up of small roasted beets, avocado, tomatoes, hazelnuts, whipped goat cheese, and a light balsamic vinaigrette. This salad was delicately dressed and a lovely, light summer salad.
The baked asiago was piping hot and was baked in a cast iron pan. The lightly toasted crostini was perfect to dip into the cheesy deliciousness. This appetizer had an incredibly sharp asiago flavor. It was quite crispy on top and slightly gooey inside. The perfect choice for the cheese lovers in the group.
The chicken marsala was a very generous portion with lots of porcini mushrooms and pancetta in the sauce. The smooth garlic parmesan mashed potatoes melted in your mouth. The chicken was perfectly cooked and blended so nicely with all the components on the plate. Fresh broccolini was a great way to balance the flavors.
The carbonara prepared tableside had such a great presentation. You must watch the video to see how wonderfully it is presented.
Picture your waitress shaking a huge mason jar with all the ingredients inside. She finishes off the dish by cracking a raw egg on top, and shaking it until it is all combined. This carbonara had a very light sauce that perfectly coated the pasta, broccoli, pancetta, and chicken. Not photographed is a Salmon and broccolini dish. Both perfectly cooked in olive oil so it was fresh, light, and delightful.
There were so many great desserts to choose from. These chocolate crepes had a deep, rich, dark chocolate flavor, with a light and delicate white chocolate mousse filling. The crepes were very bold while the filling was quite mild. These two flavors were brought together by the tart raspberry sauce. This dessert was light and easy to eat. The flavors were lovely and instead of making you feel too full, you really wanted one more crepe! This dessert disappeared in seconds, it was that enjoyable.
The caramel monkey bread was served in a hot cast-iron skillet. It was gooey, heavy, sweet and sticky. The fresh whipped cream melted almost immediately because the monkey breads were so hot. Each cinnamon and sugar treat was easy to pull off and share. The caramel sauce on the bottom was very sweet and incredibly decadent. Each cinnamon and sugar dough ball was super soft and melted in your mouth. This dessert felt slightly heavy and filling but was worth every single calorie.
This limoncello bar was light, sweet, and a perfect size. The shortbread cookie base blended perfectly with the tart lemon flavors and light meringue on top. This dessert was easy to eat and each light bite somehow tasted better and better. The grapefruit anglaise had a great flavor and made this a perfect dessert. Not pictured is the house made gelato, which tasted delightful.
We did not get to try the pizzas, but they looked incredibly good. The wood fired pizza oven was churning out some pizzas with great toppings: Wild Mushroom and Broccolini, Braised Short Ribs, and much more.
Dinner ended with a complimentary homemade limoncello shot. It was the perfect way to end a lovely and delightful dinner. This restaurant was very crowded, so try to make a reservation. The wait staff and management were all actively working together to create an enjoyable dining atmosphere. Outside seating and a kid’s menu is also available.
Which restaurant do you want to visit first? Leave me a comment below and let me know which dish you are most excited to try.
We received complimentary meals at some of these restaurants in order to review the restaurants. This does not influence our opinions at all. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own.