We visit Tim's family in Grand Rapids, Michigan fairly often and I thought I'd write about a few Grand Rapids eateries where we've dined in recent months.
The southwestern themed Sundance Grill and Bar is a favorite for us.
We originally found Sundance downtown on Pearl Street while visiting one year during the city's annual ArtPrize (a combination art competition/gallery showing /festival that we attend every year). We enjoyed the convenience of being able to walk to the restaurant from our hotel or while we were checking out some of the art displays near the Grand River.
I'm not a huge breakfast fan, but I've always enjoyed the breakfast menu here, and even though I'm not a big fruity drink fan, I enjoyed Sundance's Pomegranate Mimosa as well.
One of my favorite dinner entrees at Sundance is their Cilantro Cream Chicken Enchiladas, and the last time we visited, they had a half-off appetizer special that found us trying some of house-made chips and salsa.
Sundance moved around the corner from its Pearl Street location a while back, but its new downtown location on Ottawa is equally convenient for us during our ArtPrize stays.
We were even more excited when we learned that Sundance opened a second location on 28th Street SE in suburban Cascade, which also happens to be very near to where we stay when we visit Tim's family and don't stay downtown.
The suburban strip mall location looks pretty much like a lot of other locations in the sea of chain restaurants that line the length of 28th Street, but this Sundance Grill has the same great southwest-style food, massive portions and friendly service we enjoyed at the downtown location.
Sundance is one of an eclectic group of local restaurants in western Michigan that includes eateries in Grand Rapids, as well as a couple of places in the Traverse City area (including Boone's Prime Time Pub, which I wrote about earlier this year).
One of the chain's Omelette Shoppes is very close to where Tim's parents live, and we recently tried it for breakfast.
The original Omelette Shoppe opened in 1975 in northwestern Michigan's Traverse City. The 4gr8food restaurant group purchased the two Omelette Shoppes in Traverse City in 2003 and opened two additional locations in Grand Rapids.
The Omelette Shoppe has an imaginative menu of omelets (of course), scrambles (like the Alaskan scramble I had during one visit that had seafood folded into scrambled eggs and sprinkled with dill) and sandwiches if you're looking for lunch.
I particularly liked the toast that came with my breakfast, nice big slices of hearty marble rye bread.
We gave the restaurant group's Forest Hills Inn a try for lunch one day and found it a good place for a burger with a neighborhood vibe.
Our server was especially friendly, talking a bit with us about what we'd seen at ArtPrize and some of her favorite pieces at his year's competition.
Tim had one of the restaurant's Whiskey Tavern burgers with bacon, onion crisps and BBQ sauce, while I opted for a classic cheeseburger. Both burgers and the soup we ordered with them were tasty and more than ample as a late lunch/early dinner for us that day.
We also ate at Hop Cat, which is part of a different restaurant group, this past fall when we were walking around downtown during ArtPrize.
Several people recommended this as a good place to go if I wanted to try a local craft beer.
Hop Cat opened in Grand Rapids in 2008 and has won several awards that include being one of the Top 50 Bars in the US (Draft Magazine), the #3 Beer Bar in the world (Beer Advocate Magazine) and the #1 Brewpub in the United States (RateBeer.com).
I headed directly to the House Beer list on the menu and spotted a listing for a summertime brew called Dr. Boofpants, which was a Hefeweizen with a touch of raspberry.
Dr, Boofpants? What a name! And I like Hefeweizen-style beer. So Dr. Boofpants it was for me!
I'm a big Mac 'n' cheese fan, and Hop Cat's "Crack Fries" came highly recommended by several friends, so I had an order of classic killer Mac and a side of the Crack Fries, which were seasoned, beer-battered fries.
Dr. Boofpants got along well with the Mac 'n' cheese and Crack Fries.
Meanwhile, Tim ordered one of the restaurant's specialty burgers and a side of Crack Fries.
We both understood how the Crack Fries, which you also order loaded with warm cheese sauce, Sloppy Joseph, chili or other toppings, earned their name. Pretty addictive!
Hop Cat has other Michigan locations in East Lansing and Ann Arbor, a Broad Ripple location that showcases Indiana's largest draft beer selection and, as of next month, we'll be able to visit Hop Cat closer to home with the opening of a new location in Detroit's Midtown.
© Dominique King 2014 All rights reserved