Best Places to Eat & Drink in West Michigan [According to Our Staff] 

As a staff, we have some strong opinions about where to grab a cold drink and a bite to eat! 

And it’s not like there’s a shortage of options, either. Roughly half the CP Solutions team hails from our company’s home turf of Holland, Zeeland, and the Ottawa County lakeshore. Most of the rest come in from nearby Grand Rapids.

Between and around those two hubs, there’s a truly ridiculous number of great restaurants and bars. So many, in fact, that when we polled the staff there were hardly any repeats on the various lists—and when the results were tabulated, we still couldn’t believe how many great establishments we left out!

The restaurants and bars listed below represent only a sliver of what’s available in this great community. Even calling them the “best of the best” would hardly be accurate or fair. Instead, let’s call it a list of “arbitrarily selected favorites.” Each has been recommended and championed by at least one member of our awesome staff, and are compiled below—with a few personal bonus picks shamelessly thrown in by your humble blogger, Stephen.

Breakfast

Okay, some of these places serve a great lunch, too. But if you love going out for breakfast, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.

 Probably any discussion of the West Michigan breakfast scene starts in the Grand Rapids neighborhood of Eastown. Amongst a throng of contenders, That Early Bird stands out. The all-day brunch menu features an eclectic mix of fusion dishes with a particular focus on Asian cuisine (including Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Indian influences), plus some Mexican-inspired breakfasts and great sandwiches. The coffee is top-notch, too.

Next, The Omelette ShoppeAlthough it started a bit north of us in Traverse City, two of its four total locations call Grand Rapids home—one near Heritage Hill, another near East Grand Rapids. Unsurprisingly, the omelets are the stars of the menu (trust us, they’re delicious), but skillets, hashes, and decadent griddle meals are other specialties. You can also buy their fresh-baked goods by the dozen, too.

Speaking of fresh-baked goods, deBoer Bakerij in Holland is also high on our list of places to grab breakfast—and maybe a few dozen pastries for the office, too. The restaurant specializes in traditional Dutch fare (probably not surprising, given the name and location), but has a lot more to offer beyond the basics, including some fantastic Mexican breakfast dishes and great coffee.

Other picks:

American Fare

So you want someplace where you can get a burger and fries that doesn’t have a pair of, ahem, yellowish arches on the sign? You’re in luck.

For the Holland / Zeeland contingent, Salt & Pepper just plain does pub food right: certified Angus chuck burgers, sandwiches to die for, loaded salads, and more. Plus, the sides—the sides! Onion rings, mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, soup, salad … you get the idea. There are tons of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, too.

Looking to inject a little class into the environment without breaking the bank? It’s hard to top Sandy Point Beach House in West Olive for its combination of great New American menu, upscale ambiance, indoor and outdoor dining (including an awesome patio with seats on the sand) and affordable fare. Enjoy soups, salads, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, and more.

For the Grand Rapids gastropub set, we also love The Old Goat in Alger Heights. Fair warning: don’t fall in love with any one dish—the seasonal menu, made from scratch using local ingredients, changes up quite frequently. Fortunately, that shouldn’t be much of an issue, since everything is great. The menu frequently draws inspiration from German and Polish cuisine, but with a lot of unique twists and surprises.

Other picks:

Ethnic Food

Your body might be in West Michigan, but your taste buds want to be somewhere else. Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can make that happen.

An Eastown staple for 20 years, Bombay Cuisine is at the top of the list for authentic Indian food, particularly the cuisines of northern India and Bengal. They have the full array of spices, sauces, and marinades, but don’t worry if you can’t take the heat—there are a lot of mild options for those who don’t care for spicy food. Lunch buffets on Friday and Sunday are always a favorite.

For Mexican food, you have no shortage of great options in West Michigan. One in particular that popped up on our staff poll was Donkey Taqueria in the Wealthy neighborhood of Grand Rapids. There, you’ll find a truly staggering array of delicious tacos, tortas, and snacks on the menu. Pork shoulder. Braised lamb. Pork carnitas. Beer battered cod. Wash it down with a margarita, cocktail, or your favorite tequila—they have dozens of options.

Sticking with the Western Hemisphere for a moment, our own senior client services manager, Martha, can’t get enough of Charcoal Grill Brazilian Steak House—and that’d probably be true even if she hadn’t grown up in Brazil! Choose from various cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and roasted pineapple, brought to you on skewers and carved at your table. Eat as much as you like: one flat price gets you as much meat as you can eat, plus a buffet of fresh sides.

Moving back east, let’s talk Japanese food for a minute. This is an office that loves sushi, and not surprisingly we had votes for not one, not two, but three places you can get it:

Fuji Yama Asian Bistro in northeast Grand Rapids offers a robust menu of sushi, hibachi, and bento meals, alongside a few classic Chinese and Thai entrees. Jaku Sushi & Grill in Grandville also offers a lot of great sushi, hibachi, and bento options, and it’s also a good place to go if you’re looking for Korean food (the bibimbop is great). Finally, Sushi Yama in downtown Grand Rapids isn’t much on décor—it’s literally in the basement—and sushi is pretty much the only thing on the menu. But man, is it good. 

Other options: 

Dessert

Captain Sundae is a West Michigan classic, with two locations in Holland and another in Zeeland just down the road from our office. Which is, of course, both a blessing and curse—your humble blogger has occasionally been known to eat a large flurry (and nothing else) for his lunch. The Tommy Turtle is their signature sundae, but it’s just one of over two dozen unique and wonderful combinations.

Other options:

Grab a Drink

Let’s get the big one out of the way first: Founders Brewing Co.which appeared on a couple of our staff lists. Even within a town that’s been declared “Beer City USA” on more than one occasion, Founders reigns supreme when it comes to international recognition and renown. The taproom always has a few exclusive beers you can’t find in stores, plus great sandwiches and live music.

Of course, no matter where you live in West Michigan, there’s probably a local brewpub or beer bar. Our Kentwood resident Angie put in a good word for Railtown Brewing Company in Dutton. On any given day you can find an awesome selection and variety of brews for all palates (not just for hopheads!), great service, and all the free popcorn you can eat.

Although Grand Rapids grabs, most of the spotlight, Holland is no slouch when it comes to craft beer—that’s clear when you step inside Hops at 84 East. A dynamite beer bar and restaurant with a full menu of great eats (brunch, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, the works), you can find a near-ridiculous number of great beers on tap, including multiple selections from the local big boys (Founders, Bell’s, Brewery Vivant) and favorites from around the country.

Of course, if you’re in more of a spirits / cocktails mood, Long Road Distillers comes highly recommended. Their lineup now includes 10 total spirits and liqueurs (including malt and wheat whiskey, gin, vodka, and aquavit), which you can enjoy straight or in one of dozens of delicious, creative cocktails. The food is good, too.

Other picks:

What Sounds Good Today?

So what did we miss?

Actually, never mind. That’s a dangerous question to ask, because I already know the answer: A LOT. In fact, I can already hear you complaining, dear reader. What about Marie Catrib’s? Butch’s Dry Dock? Grove? San Chez? Bistro Bella Vita? 

Stop, stop … I get it! 

Hey, those places are all great too! All very worthy of our list—or yours! Sorry if we missed your favorite restaurant. No hard feelings. 

We’re not trying to pick fights. We’re not even saying that our picks are definitively the best. But we are saying that they are all great in their own way, and very much worth a visit. So put ‘em on your list, and maybe we’ll see you there! 

As a staff, we have some strong opinions about where to grab a cold drink and a bite to eat!

And it’s not like there’s a shortage of options, either. Roughly half the CP Solutions team hails from our company’s home turf of Holland, Zeeland, and the Ottawa County lakeshore. Most of the rest come in from nearby Grand Rapids.

Between and around those two hubs, there’s a truly ridiculous number of great restaurants and bars. So many, in fact, that when we polled the staff there were hardly any repeats on the various lists—and when the results were tabulated, we still couldn’t believe how many great establishments we left out!

The restaurants and bars listed below represent only a sliver of what’s available in this great community. Even calling them the “best of the best” would hardly be accurate or fair. Instead, let’s call it a list of “arbitrarily selected favorites.” Each has been recommended and championed by at least one member of our awesome staff, and are compiled below—with a few personal bonus picks shamelessly thrown in by your humble blogger, Stephen.

Breakfast

Okay, some of these places serve a great lunch, too. But if you love going out for breakfast, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.

Probably any discussion of the West Michigan breakfast scene starts in the Grand Rapids neighborhood of Eastown. Amongst a throng of contenders, That Early Bird stands out. The all-day brunch menu features an eclectic mix of fusion dishes with a particular focus on Asian cuisine (including Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Indian influences), plus some Mexican-inspired breakfasts and great sandwiches. The coffee is top-notch, too.

Next, The Omelette ShoppeAlthough it started a bit north of us in Traverse City, two of its four total locations call Grand Rapids home—one near Heritage Hill, another near East Grand Rapids. Unsurprisingly, the omelets are the stars of the menu (trust us, they’re delicious), but skillets, hashes, and decadent griddle meals are other specialties. You can also buy their fresh-baked goods by the dozen, too.

Speaking of fresh-baked goods, deBoer Bakerij in Holland is also high on our list of places to grab breakfast—and maybe a few dozen pastries for the office, too. The restaurant specializes in traditional Dutch fare (probably not surprising, given the name and location), but has a lot more to offer beyond the basics, including some fantastic Mexican breakfast dishes and great coffee.

Other picks:

American Fare

So you want someplace where you can get a burger and fries that doesn’t have a pair of, ahem, yellowish arches on the sign? You’re in luck.

For the Holland / Zeeland contingent, Salt & Pepper just plain does pub food right: certified Angus chuck burgers, sandwiches to die for, loaded salads, and more. Plus, the sides—the sides! Onion rings, mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, soup, salad … you get the idea. There are tons of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, too.

Looking to inject a little class into the environment without breaking the bank? It’s hard to top Sandy Point Beach House in West Olive for its combination of great New American menu, upscale ambiance, indoor and outdoor dining (including an awesome patio with seats on the sand) and affordable fare. Enjoy soups, salads, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, and more.

For the Grand Rapids gastropub set, we also love The Old Goat in Alger Heights. Fair warning: don’t fall in love with any one dish—the seasonal menu, made from scratch using local ingredients, changes up quite frequently. Fortunately, that shouldn’t be much of an issue, since everything is great. The menu frequently draws inspiration from German and Polish cuisine, but with a lot of unique twists and surprises.

Other picks:

Ethnic Food

Your body might be in West Michigan, but your taste buds want to be somewhere else. Fortunately, there are plenty of places where you can make that happen.

An Eastown staple for 20 years, Bombay Cuisine is at the top of the list for authentic Indian food, particularly the cuisines of northern India and Bengal. They have the full array of spices, sauces, and marinades, but don’t worry if you can’t take the heat—there are a lot of mild options for those who don’t care for spicy food. Lunch buffets on Friday and Sunday are always a favorite.

For Mexican food, you have no shortage of great options in West Michigan. One in particular that popped up on our staff poll was Donkey Taqueria in the Wealthy neighborhood of Grand Rapids. There, you’ll find a truly staggering array of delicious tacos, tortas, and snacks on the menu. Pork shoulder. Braised lamb. Pork carnitas. Beer battered cod. Wash it down with a margarita, cocktail, or your favorite tequila—they have dozens of options.

Sticking with the Western Hemisphere for a moment, our own senior client services manager, Martha, can’t get enough of Charcoal Grill Brazilian Steak House—and that’d probably be true even if she hadn’t grown up in Brazil! Choose from various cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and roasted pineapple, brought to you on skewers and carved at your table. Eat as much as you like: one flat price gets you as much meat as you can eat, plus a buffet of fresh sides.

Moving back east, let’s talk Japanese food for a minute. This is an office that loves sushi, and not surprisingly we had votes for not one, not two, but three places you can get it:

Fuji Yama Asian Bistro in northeast Grand Rapids offers a robust menu of sushi, hibachi, and bento meals, alongside a few classic Chinese and Thai entrees. Jaku Sushi & Grill in Grandville also offers a lot of great sushi, hibachi, and bento options, and it’s also a good place to go if you’re looking for Korean food (the bibimbop is great). Finally, Sushi Yama in downtown Grand Rapids isn’t much on décor—it’s literally in the basement—and sushi is pretty much the only thing on the menu. But man, is it good. 

Other options: 

Dessert

Captain Sundae is a West Michigan classic, with two locations in Holland and another in Zeeland just down the road from our office. Which is, of course, both a blessing and curse—your humble blogger has occasionally been known to eat a large flurry (and nothing else) for his lunch. The Tommy Turtle is their signature sundae, but it’s just one of over two dozen unique and wonderful combinations.

Other options:

Grab a Drink

Let’s get the big one out of the way first: Founders Brewing Co.which appeared on a couple of our staff lists. Even within a town that’s been declared “Beer City USA” on more than one occasion, Founders reigns supreme when it comes to international recognition and renown. The taproom always has a few exclusive beers you can’t find in stores, plus great sandwiches and live music.

Of course, no matter where you live in West Michigan, there’s probably a local brewpub or beer bar. Our Kentwood resident Angie put in a good word for Railtown Brewing Company in Dutton. On any given day you can find an awesome selection and variety of brews for all palates (not just for hopheads!), great service, and all the free popcorn you can eat.

Although Grand Rapids grabs, most of the spotlight, Holland is no slouch when it comes to craft beer—that’s clear when you step inside Hops at 84 East. A dynamite beer bar and restaurant with a full menu of great eats (brunch, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, the works), you can find a near-ridiculous number of great beers on tap, including multiple selections from the local big boys (Founders, Bell’s, Brewery Vivant) and favorites from around the country.

Of course, if you’re in more of a spirits / cocktails mood, Long Road Distillers comes highly recommended. Their lineup now includes 10 total spirits and liqueurs (including malt and wheat whiskey, gin, vodka, and aquavit), which you can enjoy straight or in one of dozens of delicious, creative cocktails. The food is good, too.

Other picks:

What Sounds Good Today?

So what did we miss?

Actually, never mind. That’s a dangerous question to ask, because I already know the answer: A LOT. In fact, I can already hear you complaining, dear reader. What about Marie Catrib’s? Butch’s Dry Dock? Grove? San Chez? Bistro Bella Vita? 

Stop, stop … I get it! 

Hey, those places are all great too! All very worthy of our list—or yours! Sorry if we missed your favorite restaurant. No hard feelings. 

We’re not trying to pick fights. We’re not even saying that our picks are definitively the best. But we are saying that they are all great in their own way, and very much worth a visit. So put ‘em on your list, and maybe we’ll see you there! 

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