Birch Lodge is a “bar bar”. It’s a small joint in Grand Rapids on Michigan Street between Grand Avenue and Eastern Avenue, and I could have easily missed it had I not been looking for it. Nothing fancy on the outside, same on the inside, though I did enjoy the red lights around the bar. A little Christmasy, a little evil. It was fairly crowded, which I like to see at local bars – don’t want our small businesses to go under – though maybe the woman next to me with the braying laughter I could have done without. Listening to her companion talk, there really wasn’t much to laugh about, but I suppose we all have different tastes.
As regular readers may know, I’m a nacho fiend, and nachos is what I was on the hunt for. But, as the place didn’t look outstanding, I kept my expectations low. This is what I got:
So far, so good. They looked excellent, and I’m happy to report they had a taste to match. There were plenty of cheese-covered chips to fill me up, even after a 5-mile run. The beef was good and the vegetation atop the nachos was just right . Too many places shove a pile of lettuce (i.e. filler) on top to make the nachos look big. Or maybe they are trying to keep the heat in by burying everything in lettuce. Look, nacho creators of the world, that junk just gets pushed to the side. Of course, I told them to hold the black olives, for they are the work of the devil, almost as bad as mushrooms.
In fact, Birch Lodge’s nachos are among the best I’ve had in Grand Rapids. They are on par with those at Bobarinos, of which I was a big fan. Bobarinos had the advantages of larger portions and no one with a donkey-like laugh next to me, but Birch Lodge had cheaper nachos, especially on Monday night, when my tab was 25% off. Yowzas, I liked that.
One thing I didn’t like was of my own making. I ordered a Guinness with my nachos, and that was just a bad idea. Don’t do that, kids. Both are good on their own, but they are certainly not good together. They should have had a warning above the bar regarding that awful combination. Live and learn, though.
I certainly recommend the Birch Lodge nachos. They were well-portioned, tasted good, and fairly cheap, even more so when you go on a Monday. But if you go, remember this: Friends don’t let friends say “hee haw”.