Restaurant Locations of Death (and how they are doing today)

You know how it is when you see a potentially cool restaurant moving into a “certain place” and you say. “Oh man, every restaurant that goes in there never lasts”.  At EatGR, we have affectionately called those places “Locations of Death”

No matter the track record of previous owners at that location, there are some places that restaurateurs keep giving chances to that should probably, from a historical standpoint, be passed over.  Recently, some restaurants have thrived in some of these tougher business locations, and as food aficionados we always hope that that will be the case.  Let’s take a look at a few of the addresses in question.

526 Stocking NW:  Curry Nights recently closed their doors and was the 2nd Indian restaurant to do so in the recent past.  Before being a hub of Indian cuisine it was an Italian sports bar.  Hopefully the next restaurant can find the right match for the neighborhood.

3774 Alpine NW:   Most recently, this was Shawarma Fresh and Shawerma Kings.  Prior to that, two different pizza places.  This address is in a high traffic area with limited parking and visibility.  Presently, somebody is looking to move an authentic Mexican restaurant into that spot.  We wish them the best.


1551 28th st SW:  Somebody recently tried to open a Jamaican restaurant here that never got off the ground.  Prior to that, it was a Chicago Style Italian Beef place for 1 hot minute, and two Latin inspired places before that.  This building really only has 2 parking spots and is absolutely murder to get in an out of.  Presently it is vacant, waiting for the next person to take a chance on it.

25 Ottawa:  You wouldn’t know it today, but this address was bad news forever.  Grandwich winner McKay’s restaurant, 25 Kitchen and Bar, and other places before that have all met with untimely demises.  One year ago, however, IRON moved into that location and looks to be holding its own.  Let’s hope that Iron is there for a long time to come.

24o4 Eastern:  The Dog King closed its doors there just a few months ago after a short run.  Before that Sweet Mellisa’s and another cafe.  It was recently announced that Brass Ring Brewing is going to move in sometime in late 2017.  Let’s raise a pint of beer in hopefully toasting to their future success.

The Dog King
The Dog King

The Strip Mall on the south side of the 6200 block of 28th st SE used to be home to the Cascade Sports Bar, A Sushi place, a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Place, and a wing joint….all gone!  This was a place where restaurants went to die.  The good news is that Emonae Korean BBQ moved in and is doing a bang up job, La Laguna is holding its own, Thornapple Brewing is about to open up, Blue Moose is being built, and Shepherds has been a mainstay for a while.  This strip mall could be on the verge of shaking its reputation as a tough location.

The Strip Mall where 28th street dead ends into Cascade road is also a tough spot.  Right now, it is a pretty desolate spot with one lone restaurant, Jax.  Jax Smoke N Sandwich just opened 4 short months ago and is fighting to keep open in a spot that should make a lot of sense, but is overlooked by everybody.  Hopefully they can weather the storm.

New location for Daddy Pete's BBQ
New location for Daddy Pete’s BBQ

2921 Eastern:  This is a cute little building with tons of potential, but can’t seem to generate foot traffic.  The current tenant, and last 2 tenants, are/were all BBQ places.  The difference this time is that the current occupant of that spot is the award winning Daddy Pete’s BBQ.  Daddy Pete’s has a strong barbecue pedigree and proven business track record.  They should be the ones to break the cycle of turnaround BBQ.

and finally

1627 S. Division:  I would break my brain trying to remember all of the Latino restaurants that has been here.  Garibaldi, before they moved and made way for Las Perlas, who is now defunct.  I drove by the other day and noticed signs for Las Cosinitas, so plan on another Latin themed restaurant.  Let’s hope that they can break the cycle of foreclosures at that spot.

Well, there you have it, the restaurant locations of death.  I know that I have forgotten a few, but these are always the usual suspects.  Hopefully we can support the current and future tenants in these locations.  We all love good food, and it is always a shame when we lose our local restaurants.  If you can think of any places that I missed, please mention them in the comments.





  1. The currently vacant spot at 925 4 Mile Rd NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544 is another one, in my opinion. Most recently is was The Muze, but over the last 25 years it as The Green Apple, Cheers West, Rocky Muldunes, Paunchy Petes, and Tequila Willy’s…according to my research.

  2. Signage is such an issue, I think. I know it probably stinks to sink money into signage when you are trying to start up, but that can sometimes make or break a place. Example: the last two Shawarma places in that spot on Alpine. Second one had better signage, but neither took down the pizza sign that was usually lit up. Only confuses an already iffy spot for luring customers.

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