Downtown Grand Rapids has a plethora of restaurants, especially around Van Andel Arena. So many that it can be hard to choose if you haven’t thought about it ahead of time. Normally, I already know where I am going to eat, but I was clueless on my last visit to GR, and so I wandered about, and this was after my 5-mile run around town, so I was definitely hungry.
As an aside, I have loved the word “plethora” ever since seeing The Three Amigos in the 80’s.
I somehow ended up on Grandville Avenue and saw the welcoming sign of “The Grand Woods Lounge“. Interesting name, and it looked lively, so I figured it was a good choice. In I went.
The decor was rustic chic (I just made that up), and it reminded me of a favorite of mine around the Lansing area, Leo’s Spirits & Grub. I would have liked to sit on the patio, as it was an unseasonably pleasant March evening in Michigan, but dozens of people had already beaten me to it. Inside I went where I had a lovely view of the bar and, if I turned around, US 131. The music was sometimes blues, sometimes country, so I was sometimes happy with that. It’s up to you to figure out which I liked.
The waitress was right over to take my drink order. I only had a Coke, so nothing exciting. Things didn’t move quickly after that, in either the order-taking or the food-bringing, but the waitress was nice and when she noticed me, kept the Coke refills coming. Good enough for me – I was in no hurry.
You will probably not spend a lot of time perusing the menu. It’s quite small, and all the items are listed on a paper placemat. No nachos, but they had some interesting burgers. The one that stood out was The Flying Dutchman, the reason being the roasted garlic mayo and gouda cheese. It was a good choice. Good-tasting patty and the garlic-gouda concoction they put on the burger gave it a unique taste. And it was juicy, too. I had to move my fries to keep then on dry ground. It was a messy meal, but a good kind of mess.
The fries I was desperate to save were sprinkled with salt and a mystery spice. They were cooked perfectly, a little crispy and very good. And there were lots of them, and between them and the large burger (oh, and the pickle slice – can’t forget that), I was pleasantly full, unlike the unpleasant fullness of eating may too much food at Cancun three days later.
If you find yourself wandering aimlessly on Grandville Avenue, The Grand Wood Lounge is a good spot to recover before you continue your wandering. May you have better luck in finding a spot outdoors.