Local restaurant observations

Charcoal Grill Brazilian Steakhouse. Photo credit: Patty Russie

Restaurants go out of business for a lot of different reasons, but I still found it shocking when in the past few weeks we lost several at one time. The Lazy Susan,┬áSaburba, Black Heron, Linc Up, Mandarin, and Jax all closed their doors. I understand that not every restaurant is meant to succeed, and that the market has a way of weeding out those who are just “not meant to be”, but sometimes good restaurants get weeded out as well. I certainly felt like these restaurants fell into that category.

That said, I want to share a few personal observations that I have recently made.

Charcoal Grill in Holland: For the last couple of years everybody has been insisting that they want a Brazilian Steakhouse in the area. As of 2 weeks ago, we now have one in Holland, BUT I do not see them getting the foot traffic/support needed to sustain themselves. If you really want this type of food, go support them….like, NOW!

Bacon, broccoli, and cheddar potato at Load A Spud.

Load a Spud: They have been closed for a month because of a plumbing issue that was beyond their control. They just re-opened their doors need to get the word out that they are still around if we want them to succeed

Burger George: Although Detroit has fully embraced restaurants that share spaces with Gas Stations, Grand Rapids hasn’t caught on to this yet. I am still trying to get people on board with this trend. 44th and Eastern for cheap burgers. Find them!

Birch Lodge: They just had a fire the other day and will be closed for a while. It will be easy enough for us to forget about them, and potentially cause their demise. Once they have re-opened we need to remember to support them like we have in the past. Remember, these guys were open 365 days a year. They were always there for you!

Double Olive Burger at Burger George

Soho Sushi: This restaurant replaced the failed XO Asian Cuisine in downtown GR. SOHO is having a difficult time shaking off the bad reputation of the restaurant that preceded them, and is hurting because of that. They are presently offering BOGO deals during the week (Mon-Thurs) during off hours to try to gain the market share that they will need to continue on. They will not survive without more support.

Vitales on Leonard: I say this about any restaurant that is in a construction zone, DO YOUR BEST TO SUPPORT THEM! Although I think that Vitales will weather the construction that has been going on in front of their building just fine, other restaurants like Saburba did not. Road construction is a restaurant killer.

NEW RESTAURANTS IN GENERAL: I know that in a lot of ways this can be the bread-and-butter about what we do at EatGR. When a new restaurant comes onto the scene, go check it out….SOONER THAN LATER. I have to tell you that I am always baffled by people who say “I was always wondering about that restaurant but never tried it out”. Well, what are you waiting for? I will be doing my part and checking out Cookie Chicks this week. They have been a cottage industry business for the last year and have finally made the move to a brick and mortar establishment. People are not finding them, but hopefully that will change.

Well, that’s it! If you like local restaurants, get out there and support them….the same thing that I have been telling you for 5 years.


One comment

  1. Thanks Chris for the great reminder to support the local food establishments adversely impacted by Michigan’s “Road Construction Season”. Whenever I hear of another place closing due to such challenges, I get a pit in my stomach because I know that as a small business myself, that could be me! So it helps to reinforce my resolve to go through a bit of construction hassle to support a fellow business.

    Thanks also, for the shout out about Cookie Chicks! We look forward to welcoming the EatGR community to our new shop!

    Holly del Rosario
    Cookie Chicks

Leave a Reply