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Rediscover Grand Rapids

IMPECCABLE SERVICE, DISTINCTIVE DISHES, INSPIRING ATMOSPHERE. Our menu marries tradition with innovation, bringing the best in French cuisine to a modern American audience. Enjoy escargots or a bone-in ribeye cooked to perfection, sliced tableside. Bienvenue à Margaux.




Follow the Chocolate Road Watch more Sunsets Eat more cookies

Summer Lovin’ Get some

616-977-7200 | | 3668 29th St SE Grand Rapids, MI 49512

LUNCH MEETINGS MADE EASY Let us take care of the details for your next meeting. Enjoy a laid-back experience in our technologically robust private dining room, The Gallery. Conveniently located inside the Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown and accessible through the skywalk, you’re ensured a comfortable walk any time of year.

For more information, call 616.242.6621


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Editorial Director | R.J. Weick Creative Director | Daniel Deschaine Artist | Sunflowerman Senior Staff Writer | Riley Collins Writers | Tyler Fleser, Marion Jamet SOLACE Ad Sales | John Olsa A N A H C H OS P I TALI T Y P U B L I C ATI O N

On the cover: Art by Sunflowerman

SOLACE™ magazine is published two times per year by SVK Media and Publishing on behalf of AHC Hospitality. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written consent of AHC Hospitality. For advertising information, please call 616-379-4001.


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Welcome to Grand Rapids!

I’ve often found myself considering cities anew. Moments, impressions, sights, and smells stay with me long after wandering the sidewalks and lofted halls that make each place distinctive. The people, museums, galleries, parks, shops, restaurants, and industry that are a part of a city’s identity lead to moments of delight and discovery that breathe life into the soul of neighborhoods and their surrounding areas. There is a rich narrative to be told of the West Michigan region, from the many communities that make up its landscape and shoreline, and the dynamic work and play that can be found around every corner, to the inspired hope and vision for the future. SOLACE is a destination guide meant to inspire and tell a compelling story. In this issue, we turn to Grand Rapids and the experiences that can be found from a rooftop view to a downtown landmark. We take a walk through Studio Park (20) and stroll down Fulton Street (58), discovering the sights and sounds that make the entertainment hub and street unique. We also pull up a chair to some of the great views from dining establishments throughout the city (36) and sample the culinary delights at other places offering distinctive food and beverage flights (16).


We consider the art of the third place (26), the importance of public space and public art, and how it can bring people together through shared moments and artistic contemplation. We also look at the self-driving electric shuttle (10), see what’s behind the door at the city’s new speakeasy (42), and stop for a last call (66) at a destination within the Hotel District (52). It is but a single chapter in the larger story and we hope it moves you to venture out onto the sidewalks and riverfront to make your own. We are thrilled to welcome you to this latest edition of SOLACE.

Rachel J. Weick Editor | SVK Media and Publishing SOLACE Magazine

BUILDING OUR CITY Pioneer Construction is committed to transformative projects that engage our community such as the reimagining of Calder Plaza and the makeover of Van Andel Arena plaza. Visit and experience the Grand Rapids Downtown Market; Amway Grand Plaza’s IDC, Lumber Baron Bar and The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck; Studio Park’s The Listening Room and Celebration Cinema.

Construction Management | General Contracting | Design-Build




THE DOWNTOWN DASH In the state that gave rise to the Big Three in the automotive industry, the city of Grand Rapids has introduced the self-driving, electric shuttle to its downtown urban streets. Known as the Grand Rapids Autonomous Vehicle Initiative, or AVGR, the pilot program features May Mobility shuttles that follow the existing Downtown Area Shuttle, or DASH, West Route that spans across the Grand River.

New Holland Brewing: The Knickerbocker 417 Bridge St NW FLIGHT HOPPING

IDC 187 Monroe Ave NW SPEAK EASY

Studio Park 123 Ionia Ave SW A WALK IN THE PARK

AC Hotel by Marriott Grand Rapids Downtown 50 Monroe Ave NW LAST CALL

From the pages of science fiction, the May Mobility shuttle takes to the road with a gentle electric hum as it carries passengers throughout central downtown. Though temporarily suspended in March due to COVID-19, the AVGR program will be one of the first to integrate innovative West Michigan-based GHSP technology known as grenlite™—a mobile treatment using high-and-low dose UV-C light to disinfect the air and high-touch surfaces—and serve as a launching pad for additional projects throughout the state.

Calder Plaza 300 Monroe Ave NW THE ART OF THIRD SPACE

Reserve Wine & Food 201 Monroe Ave NW FLIGHT HOPPING

The shuttle will be free and is limited to seating for five plus the on-board attendant on a firstcome, first-serve basis. May Mobility will run every 20 minutes behind the DASH, which reaches each stop every eight minutes.

Rockwell Republic 45 Division Ave S PLATED VIEW

Monday—Wednesday: 6:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. Thursday—Friday: 6:30 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Saturday: 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 8 :00 p.m.


Rosa Parks Circle 135 Monroe Center St NW THE ART OF THIRD SPACE Haute 35 Oakes St SW PLATED VIEW

Harmony Hall 401 Stocking Ave NW PLATED VIEW Blue Bridge Between Fulton St and Pearl St THE ART OF THIRD SPACE

Luna 64 Ionia Ave SW FLIGHT HOPPING Margaux 235 Louis St NW FLIGHT HOPPING The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck 187 Monroe Ave NW FLIGHT HOPPING

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Just a 10 minute walk along the river





By: R. Collins | Illustration: Daniel Deschaine | Photography: Kari Paine

FLIGHT HOPPING By many standards—especially marketing— Grand Rapids is Beer City USA, and such a title no doubt warrants some responsibilities in terms of pushing standards and creative depth and developing “user” experience. Thankfully, we have solutions like the Beer City Ale Trail, chef-hosted beer dinners, craft cocktail mixology classes, and mug clubs, to name a few. We also have the friendly old flight: the classic beer lover’s vehicle through a curated journey of taste that has become more accessible to wine, cider, and liquor lovers and more. You can find flights just about anywhere in Grand Rapids today such as a few restaurants and eateries looking to harness the power of the sample in things like chips and salsa flights, ice cream flights, and even grits. Maybe one of the best spots to sample some of Grand Rapids’ most innovative beer and spirit

offerings—like bourbon-barrel-aged, blueberry gin, or bacon-peppercorn-infused vodka—is New Holland Brewing Company’s The Knickerbocker. When you arrive at the full-service restaurant, you are welcomed by a massive multi-level space, fitted with a beer hall, beer garden, an event loft, and three separate bars; and it soon becomes clear how the city received its moniker. One leader of The Knickerbocker’s valiant bar team is Manager Rebecca Fuller, whose experience with New Holland’s rotating experiments, mainstays, and developing beer and spirits has yielded some sage advice about creating the best spirit flight possible. “I always say go from your lighter liquors to your darker liquors,” Fuller said. “Some people also like to just do a whiskey flight, do our bourbon, then go to the rye, and then potentially go on to one of our Zeppelins.”

Then there is Dragon’s Milk Stout, whose makers seem to always have new, revamped variants of the classic stout in the works. Take the recently re-released Dragon’s Milk: Triple Mash stout— one Fuller describes as “high octane”—with its yearlong slumber in New Holland’s oak spirit barrels and an ABV that the team can’t predict at first—although we know it is around 17 percent. Try a Flight of the Dragon or mix and match. Whatever your preference, whatever your craving: The Knickerbocker is worth a visit. “We’re not just a brewery and we have different options for people,” Fuller said. “We’re a full-service restaurant as well and our food is amazing. On top of that the West Side has really been picking up and we have a lot of neighboring restaurants and bars around here that are really stepping up to the plate and you’re in walking distance to all of those things.”


Another destination for flight-goers seeking an authentic Grand Rapids experience is Forty Acres Soul Kitchen in the East Hills neighborhood. The usual descriptions that attach to many Grand Rapids restaurants apply to Forty Acres—an innovator, a supporter of local supply, a sustainable operation, and also just plain tasty—but what sets it apart is its specific dedication to crafting mainstream soul food and celebrating the history, resilience, and success of the African American community. “It’s extremely unique. We’re the only one that does this,” said Lewis Williams, who owns Forty Acres with business partner Darel Ross II. “I think it’s an interesting part of town too, so if people want to venture out a little bit, get some really good food—there’s a lot of great restaurants downtown don’t get me wrong—but we’re very unique as far as choices.” One such choice, the grits flight, includes a pick of three of the four varieties offered: Vegan, House, Northern, and Southern. The varieties are designed to include a bit of everything, according to Williams, who has witnessed many interpretations vary by mood. Whatever the choice, you’re guaranteed smooth, supple textures and delicious flavors like lip-tingling tomato purée, sweet-and-savory glaze, or fresh jalapeño and shrimp.

Williams recommends pairing your flight with an IPA or glass of chardonnay, but don’t forget cognac flights before or after, or cocktail offerings from the “Who Shot Ya?” drink menu; such as the Tupac Shakur—a mixture of orange pop and whipped vodka—and the ODB, made with vodka, Kahlua, and soda.

People’s Cider Co 539 Leonard NW

Another recommended mainstay by Williams is the BYO Gumbo—featuring your choice of protein—which he describes as user-friendly and, like so many of the other menu items, completely unremovable due to its popularity and importance to the locale.

Eastern Kille Distillery 700 Ottawa Ave NW

“We work really hard at it and we care at the end of the day,” Williams said. “This food is not easy to prepare; you can’t just do it quickly; so we put a lot of love into it, as they say. It’s the food I was raised on, so I figured I was raised on it and I turned out okay and we can keep expanding on it.”

Rebecca Fuller’s quintessential spirits lineup: Gluten-free Laker Life Vodka Traditional Knickerbocker Gin Beer Barrel Bourbon 18

Reserve Wine & Food 201 Monroe Ave NW

The Mitten Brewing Co 527 Leonard St NW Luna 64 Ionia Ave SW Suite 100 Love’s Ice Cream 435 Ionia Ave SW


By: R. Collins | Illustration: Daniel Deschaine | Photography: Justin Maconochie / Studio C

A WALK IN THE PARK This year, residents and visitors in Grand Rapids are in for a particularly special treat—one that is relatively new to downtown, but has roots more-than-a-decade in growth. It’s Studio Park, a new, roughly 62,500-square-foot complex tucked behind Van Andel Arena that has finally shrugged off the wrappings of construction work in 2020, after officially opening in the chilly throes of October 2019. Besides a nine-screen movie theater and Grand Rapids’ newest music venue, Studio Park comprises a four-star hotel, retail and restaurants, and more than 900 parking spots offering increased accessibility downtown. As opposed to the traditional entertainment building with activity gathered on the inside, Studio Park is full of nooks and porous walkways between its different counterparts to encourage a bit of wandering. In fact, the multiplex was designed to be permeated by pedestrians from all sides, with generous alleyways sprinkled with strands of warm festoon lighting, and a spacious outdoor piazza and lawn pooling in the center of everything; capped with another screen for films on warm summer nights. It is a fresh take on the complexes of which the main makers of Studio Park, a group called Studio C, was originally built. Studio C and its founding family, the Loeks family, play an integral role in West Michigan entertainment; they developed the Celebration! Cinema theater franchise and before that they were one of the original pioneers of multiplex theaters in the United States in the 1960’s—theirs was 20 screens. Likewise, Studio Park is a game changer; it is one of the largest private investment developments in the area and the first of its kind downtown; not just for the diversity of its offerings, but also for its ability to draw folks out of the house or hotel room and into a new kind of entertainment.

Whether intending to end up there or not, Studio Park can easily become a day trip destination for those aiming to let their senses meander. Maybe you’ll choose to stretch out on the outdoor piazza with friends after a movie; or maybe it’s with Studio Park’s constructible outdoor bar in close range. You could drop in at Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse to stretch and cleanse your muscles in the steady heat; and you could finish the job with a refreshing juice cleanse from the Malamiah Juice Bar & Eatery next door. Of course, you could sink into a plush, optionally heated reclining chair in any of the theaters, where perhaps you’re noshing on snacks like cheeseburger sliders, hot pretzels, or nachos that were delivered to your chair by Studio Park staff. Not to mention, there is the other partial core of these sensory, experiential operations: The Listening Room. The newest addition to Grand Rapids’ well-established and increasingly seen music circuit, The Listening Room is a place you can expect to be treated to a great show, and where the night’s activities can be full of spontaneity. Quinn Mathews, general manager of The Listening Room and the former station director at Grand Rapids’ beloved independent radio station, WYCE, quite happily lets them. “There are so many things that are out of our control, but that’s the beauty of it: it’s a live performance and anything can happen, especially with the artists. It’s their stage and we built it, but it’s no longer ours,” Mathews said.

for bringing quality acts to a setting that shows great care for the act of listening. Semi-circular rows of seats wrap around the stage for 180-degree viewing; cushy lounge-style booths are a reprieve in the back; and 17 speakers permeate the entirety of the jazz club-like setting, which is fit with a small bar. You can purchase tickets in advance, but Mathews notes it’s also the type of place you can spontaneously visit and expect to find a good show. “I certainly want it to be a space that feels like you can come in and you don’t know who is playing, but the moment you come in here, when the lights are down low and it feels comfortable and looks nice and has nice inviting staff; you know it’s Friday night and you’re off work, you’re on a date, whatever you’re doing, it just feels good and you don’t even know who’s playing yet,” Mathews said. The Listening Room and the larger Studio Park complex are like new gems in the crown of a city quickly establishing itself as a great destination for those who live within it and for those passing through. It’s a reflection of a recognizable creative crowd and a value for getting involved no matter who you are; for getting out of the grind and into a more pedestrian flow. There’s no telling what you may find. “We’re placed between Detroit and Chicago and you always think of Grand Rapids being a stop between those two cities, but it’s becoming a destination,” Mathews said. “Maybe you don’t have to go to Detroit or Chicago; in Grand Rapids there’s enough going on.”

There is really no telling, as you may find an unplanned, unplugged encore; or as Mathews mentions, an entire audience squeezed on the stage with a performing artist, which he witnessed during a performance by Nashville singer-songwriter Matthew Perryman Jones. One certainty is The Listening Room’s affinity


Wealthy Theatre 1130 Wealthy St SE

Leo’s Coney Island on Tap 122 Oakes St SW Suite 100

Celebration Cinema Studio Park 123 Ionia Ave SW

Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts 2 Fulton West

One Twenty Three Tavern 123 Ionia Ave SW

The Listening Room at Studio Park 123 Ionia Ave SW

Malamiah Juice Bar & Eatery 22 Oakes St SW Suite 122

Canopy by Hilton Grand Rapids Downtown 131 Ionia Ave SW canopy-by-hilton-grand-rapids-downtownGRRGRPY/index.html

Funky Buddha Yoga Hothouse 122 Oakes St SW Suite 120 Pump House Frozen Yogurt Bar 123 Ionia Ave S


Studio Park Lofts 122 Oakes St SW

“It’s a live performance and anything can happen, especially with the artists. It’s their stage and we built it, but it’s no longer ours,” –Quinn Mathews, general manager of The Listening Room.




Bryan Esler Photo



By: R.J. Weick | Photography: M-Buck Studio LLC


The morning is still and sunlight casts long shadows on the plaza, peeking through buildings and playing in the streets. Before, stands a vibrant-red, sculptural behemoth of sweeping flat planes and steel curves that soar more than 40 feet high. It speaks of energy and of movement; a tribute to the great rapids that once rushed through the city. For some passersby, it draws their eyes on their morning foot-commute and they glance at it in fondness, in familiarity; while for others, it stops them in their tracks and they take a moment to consider the 42-ton structure, wonder at the artist who shaped it and the city that inspired it, and contemplate its story. Though the sculpture, set on the Calder Plaza before the Grand Rapids City Hall, initially proved controversial at its installation more than 50 years ago, it has become a true landmark in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, La Grande Vitesse by Alexander Calder has sparked discussion, inspiration, and disruption.

People have a fundamental need to connect with each other, with their communities, with their environments, and with their curiosity— and public space and public art at a citywide programmatic level can play a critical role in supporting it. Whether an underutilized parking lot beneath a highway, parks and splashpads, an activated green space or alleyway, or a well-known iconic destination within the urban landscape, public space can bring people together in shared moment through well-designed permanent artwork, temporary exhibitions, and special events such as festivals and concerts.

The City of Grand Rapids’ Office of Special Events works with planners, organizers, and residents to permit events on public property, as well as produce their own activities to activate public spaces. The department also partners with a number of local organizations such as Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, Experience Grand Rapids, West Michigan Urban League, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and neighborhood and business associations to realize its vision for the city as a nationally recognized destination that is equitable, welcoming, innovative, and collaborative.

For Evette Pittman, Office of Special Events Supervisor for the City of Grand Rapids in Michigan, public art and events are important for the city since it can really help foster a sense of belonging and engagement with the community.

In 2019, the Office of Special Events oversaw more than 400 different events from organized walks and runs, general events, and music concerts, to major festivals such as Festival of the Arts, Grand Rapids Asian-Pacific Festival, Grand Rapids Pride Festival, and Yassou! Greek Cultural Festival. Familiar landmarks, like the Blue Bridge, Calder Plaza, and Rosa Parks Circle, as well as hidden pocket parks, alleyways, and neighborhood streets, became destinations that both activated and engaged people and space.

“The sense of belonging is part of what makes your quality of life and that is part of our mission here at the City: to elevate our residents’ quality of life and that is in every service we provide, including events,” Pittman said.


CELEBRATIONS For Adnoris “Bo” Torres, executive director of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, the annual Hispanic Festival that takes place at Calder Plaza not only celebrates the rich, diverse heritage of Hispanic and Latinx backgrounds, but also is meant to be a welcoming three-day event in the community. “It is the representation of our spirit,” Torres said. “Last year there was some intersectionality between the African festival that was happening at Rosa Parks Circle and the Hispanic Festival— we had the festivals around the same time—and

to see us working together and visiting each other’s festivals…all of that coming together is just a beautiful expression of ethnicity, of culture, of race, and diversity.” Other festivals, like the Dozynki Polish Festival organized and sponsored by the Polish Heritage Society of Grand Rapids, brings together the city’s large Polish-Lithuanian community and visitors alike to Rosa Parks Circle through the distinctive sounds of trumpet, accordion, saxophone, vocal, and drums—and aromas of distinctive traditional dishes.

“That flavor comes at you in all sorts of ways— everything from the bronze statue of Stanley Ketchel on Bridge Street to the 14 PolishLithuanian halls that dot the city—and people are naturally drawn to a city that has character,” said Marilyn Mileski-Lignell of the Polish Heritage Society in Grand Rapids. “It is a free, familyfriendly event that encourages visitors to dance to lively polka bands, enjoy some authentic Polish food, meet with family and friends, and learn more about Polish culture.”

“We are hoping that it says Grand Rapids is a destination city. We want people to see Grand Rapids as a great place to work, play, and live.” –Evette Pittman, City of Grand Rapids PROGRAMS Cultural celebrations are just one facet of public space activation throughout Grand Rapids. The City, along with its partners, hosts one of the most attended public art events in the world in venues, parks, and space throughout the city. Now a biennial event, ArtPrize is an open, international art competition drawing more than 1,400 artists from 40 countries—and their unique perspective—to the city. The change in schedule to every other year has also allowed for a new temporary art exhibition known as the Project series. In 2019, Project 1 commissioned five


international, national, and local artists to create installations that explored “the lines that unite and divide a city, and what it means to belong,” according to its website. “We see public art as a way for our community to identify itself. We also see it as a way for people to come around anything that is beautiful and unifying in a community. Art is free, it is for everyone, and the beautiful thing about art is that it is viewed differently and its interpreted differently and it can really spark community

conversation,” Pittman said. “It can be passionate and vigorous, really make you think about your community, and have a sense of pride in your community. We feel art is so important on so many levels.” Kimberly Van Driel, director of public space management at Downtown Grand Rapids Inc, or DGRI, said while most people think of art as a painting or a statue, which is important for public spaces, in order to best enjoy a piece of art, there has to be a well-designed spatial foundation for it.

Public Art and Statues

La Grande Vitesse Motu Viget Ecliptic The River’s Edge River’s Edge Environmental Sculpture Stand Up For Rosa Parks Statue Steel Water Spirit of Solidarity Lorrie’s Button Helen Claytor Roger B. Chaffee Jay Van Andel Mayor Lyman Parks Lucius Lyon Anna Sutherland Bissell Chief Noonday Sculpture Stanley Ketchel

Public Space and Parks

Van Andel Arena Calder Plaza Rosa Parks Circle Lyon Square Ah-Nab-Awen Park Fish Ladder Park Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Heartside Park & Splash Pad Monument Park Veterans Memorial

Tools Downtown Development Authority, DDA | City of GR DDA | City of GR Grand Rapids, Michigan Vamonde, place-based storytelling Chicago, Illinois


“Before you can put in the sculpture, you have to design the space for the sculpture and think of how people will be able to access it. How will they enjoy it? How can they see it? How will they interact with it?” Van Driel said. “Art and design are in every aspect of public space from the asphalt poured and the bench placed to the mural painted.” Van Driel, whose role encompasses activating the downtown through public art, events, programming, parks, and beautification efforts, noted when it comes to public space, DGRI helps fund its investment through design, development, and activation. In short, it showcases the downtown to bring feet to the streets. “Public spaces are important to the health and wellness of our city, our citizens, and our community. They are the community’s backyard and playground, in essence,” Van Driel said. “These spaces help to bring citizens together for commonality, creativity, and memories.” Some of DGRI’s work comprises grant programs like Activate This Place, meant to enhance street life; a longstanding initiative to bring the rapids back to the cityscape; the “Womens Way” project celebrating local women and activating neighborhood alleyways; and the redevelopment of public spaces like the Van Andel Plaza, Lyon Square, and Calder Plaza. “I get excited when thinking about ways to bring in people to a space. You have to look at every space as a canvas: some are blank that you can start from scratch with and some already have the background to work with,” Van Driel said. “Working with local resources to showcase a part of our community…is the best feeling. It’s all about figuring out how to make the space come to life.”

ART, IN PUBLIC It is telling that in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids a cultural, art institution has stood for more than 100 years. Established in 1910 and redesigned in 2002 by London-based Munkenbeck+Partners Architects and Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY Architecture, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, or GRAM, is the world’s first LEED Gold certified art museum with more than 20,000 square-feet of gallery and


exhibition space. With nearly 7,000 objects in its permanent collection—carefully curated through its century-long history and displayed on its third level—and educational programs and exhibitions, the GRAM strives to connect people through art, creativity, and design. Chief Curator Ron Platt, who is responsible for overseeing exhibitions and the permanent collection, among other things, said the museum is a place where the public can convene and strives to be a space that is inspiring, enlightening, and engaging. “It is not just about pictures in frames, it is not just about how you make a painting; artists are always interested in ideas—just like the rest of us—but at the same time, artists think in a very unique way and that is why they make art and not write books or do stand-up comedy,” Platt said. “They have a unique way of expressing themselves and we are a conduit for that at the museum and, as a curator, my job is to frame art in these different contexts to engage people.” Platt also noted as a curator of a public institution, when approaching the development of a new semi-permanent exhibition, the process comprises asking questions such as, why GRAM, why Grand Rapids, why now, and what else is on the schedule, to present a balanced, diverse program. “Artists make art because they feel like it is the best way to express things that are important

to them. I think you can get things out of art that you just can’t get in other ways,” Platt said. “People come to the museum and look at art for a lot of different reasons: some look at art for beauty, some are looking for solace, some are looking to engage with ideas, and some look at art as a portal—it can transport you the way a story can.” From within the concrete paneled walls and the bold statement of the museum’s form itself, to the commissioned piece by Maya Lin called Ecliptic—representing water in its different forms—in nearby Rosa Parks Circle, art and space play a crucial role in the city of Grand Rapids. “We really believe art can be a unifier in the community. It can start conversations and really help people to understand different points of view, or see things in different ways. There is no wrong way to view art or to look at art: it is what you see, it is the emotion that art evokes in you, and we think it is important to have those conversations,” Pittman said. “As a city, if we are not preserving art and displaying art, then our kids are going to grow up in an art desert and we don’t want that to happen.”

“Before you can put in the sculpture, you have to design the space for the sculpture and think of how people will be able to access it. How will they enjoy it? How can they see it? How will they interact with it?� - kimberly Van DrieL, downtown grand rapids inc.


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By: Tyler Fleser | Illustration: Daniel Deschaine


Grand Rapids is well-known for its litany of micro-brews and nation-renowned restaurants, but the cityscape is also a smorgasbord for photographers and sightseers, so we put together a list of spots where travelers can pair a one-of-a-kind meal with a one-of-a-kind view. Haute 35 Oakes St SW Nothing can beat the view of a city skyline from above, and the staff at Haute know this. Located on the top floor of New Hotel Mertens, this lavish rooftop patio more than earns its high demand. As you take your first steps on the rooftop, you’ll see pastel white seats and tables that evoke a sense of luxury. Grand Rapids landmarks are laid out in full view like a model city: the Van Andel Arena and the trusses that support its enormous roof, the JW Marriott—its glass as blue as the Grand River and sky above—and the McKay Tower’s metal dome set above the tower’s Greek-inspired architecture, to name a few. At night, guests are treated to an iridescent glow in all directions that is sure to instill wonder and whimsy, even in the middle of a bustling cityscape.

The building is made up of two halves, one a royal yellow and the other a stoic turquoise. It sits on Division Avenue, a road that hosts businesses of every kind: Vertigo Records, Rumors Night Club, Mos Eisleys Tattoo Parlor, and even The Ruse Escape Rooms. At night, patrons will hear the city buzz as antique road lamps hang on either side of the entrance. Upon entering, you are greeted by warm familiarity and class. The interior decor is made up of rustic, exposed-brick walls, a high ceiling with chandeliers that glow deep yellow, and dark mahogany trim along the staircase leading to the recently renovated upper floor. Once seated, Rockwell’s experienced staff will provide you with intuitive tablet menus that include full details and photos of Rockwell classics, as well as seasonal items. You can also take to the second-floor balcony for an elevated arrangement of aromas, city sounds, and flowers set around the porch-style beer garden. Here, you’ll see hundred-year-old brick buildings clad with large arched windows and cream trim, as well as Commerce Avenue, Division’s little sibling resplendent with its own collection of shops and stops.

But Haute is more than its aesthetic: While reservations and planned visits are suggested, the limited seating also creates an unapologetically intimate experience with French-inspired dishes that are as refined and picturesque as the space they are served in.

Rockwell is the perfect location for a friendly brunch or a night out on the town. Signature breakfast food, mojitos, and bloody marys are sure to ease you into the beginning of your day, while craft cocktails, fresh specialty sushi, and an eclectic collection of entrées serve as the perfect indulgence to cap off the evening.

Rockwell Republic 45 Division Ave S At the heart of downtown Grand Rapids sits Rockwell Republic, a beloved gastropub that is as diverse as it is classic.

Linear 1001 Monroe Ave NW Oftentimes, high-end restaurants sacrifice some of the heart and connection to their community in order to provide unique experiences to their

patrons. However, in addition to using a highly unique ingredient in choice cocktails, Linear proves that you can toe the line of high-art and high-cuisine without losing down-to-earth hospitality inherent to the Midwest. The modern, industrial-style restaurant was built just beside the Grand River and provides its patrons with a sweeping view of sparkling water and a short walk to the greenery of Canal Park. At night, you can catch the reflection of cityscape lights in the river, and gaze at groups of late-spring fireflies in the park. The interior of Linear is a love-letter to Grand Rapids art that melds nature and industry into one. Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired artwork and local Grand Rapids artists’ pieces hover over hydroponic growers with blooming leaves of lettuce and other greens. The restaurant was built to take full advantage of as much natural light as possible, making patrons feel like they are outside regardless of bad weather. Tables and chairs are made up of smooth metals and complemented by natural wooden trim. Hungry guests will be served modern American cuisine, including three-course gourmet dinners, a diverse lunch menu that includes everything from hemp pasta to classic artisan sandwiches, and a modern take on classic brunch staples. Linear also offers its patrons an extra way to relax and wind down in the form of CBD-infused beverages—an ingredient almost entirely unique to Linear among any other restaurant in Michigan, let alone Grand Rapids. Harmony Hall 401 Stocking Ave NW Pinecone eyes, a long lettered beard, and leafy hair—these are the features of Harmony Hall’s 37

mascot, affectionately called “Hop-Eye Guy,” perched above the West Side brewery’s main entrance ready to offer his guests artisan pizza and painstakingly crafted brews with a view. Harmony Hall is located in the elbow of a bent intersection along Bridge Street—the main entertainment district of west Grand Rapids. Down the road you can see the pointed tower of the Kent District Library’s west branch, and down the other is a tall glass skyscraper hovering above the bridge that earns the street its name.

Original artwork from Little Mexico is carved and painted across the bottom floor, all restored per Van Dyke-Titus and company’s expense. Once you follow the signs to the second floor, you are whisked below metal German-style chandelier rings, what looks like twigs set aflame, and countless pieces of decorum housing a twinge of woodsy mischief.

“There are times when the sun is setting and it’s bouncing off the buildings,” said Heather Van Dyke-Titus, one of three siblings who own Harmony Hall.

There is a litany of hand-made games in the more open space, all crafted by Van Dyke-Titus’s brother. Just beside the stage where Harmony Hall hosts community events like game night, jazz night, and artist spotlights, staff have hung up their own artwork.

The outside of the building is reminiscent of a Bavarian beer hall, resplendent with warm brick, dark wooden trusses housing the roof, and a chimney above the old-style shingles. You’ll notice Harmony Hall is split between two halves. One used to be a German sausage factory, and the other was a beloved Mexican restaurant Van Dyke-Titus and her family would go to when they were younger. “We wanted to pay homage to the original space,” Van Dyke-Titus said.


“Our goal is to have something going on every night,” Van Dyke-Titus said.

“We put in these huge garage doors, so the whole upstairs is the outdoor seating,” Van Dyke-Titus said. The strip on the West Side explodes at night with groups of people wandering from bar to bar, and the lights of downtown show in the reflection of the street.

“You have the vibes of the street, fresh air—we have this cool view of downtown and bridge street. It’s like a Chicago neighborhood,”Van Dyke-Titus said. Harmony Hall also offers hearty appetizers, award-winning pizza pies of both familiar and unique varieties, and unique beers brewed with original ingredients. For instance, the Battle Cat, a Norwegian IPA that blends tropical flavorings with traditional Norwegian Hornindal Kveik yeast. The Friesian 720 Michigan St NE Sometimes you want a rooftop meal without the hustle-and-bustle of the downtown sector. For those times, The Friesian has you covered, and it does so while being just a few minutes away from the heart of the city. Nestled between upscale apartments and cozy Grand Rapids homes, the pub-style restaurant is made of a deep-blue brick with light, natural wood accents. A large window offers a preview of the inside. A wall-spanning mural of a dark horse greets patrons, along with horizontally planted plants, artwork, and future-retro lights

with wires exposed in digital sunbursts. “What’s unique about the Friesian’s outdoor spaces is the atmosphere. We promote a laid back and casual ambiance with high quality food and beverages,” said Craig Jones, co-owner of The Friesian. “We chose to take over the space on Michigan Street, because we feel it will be an up-and-coming business corridor with an already excellent midtown neighborhood right behind us.” Jones also mentions other businesses like Logan’s Alley and Bob’s Bar. The Friesian seeks to promote healthy competition between their partners by creating contests like “Michigan State Poutine Week,” of which ten other local businesses were involved. Despite its location away from the main city, the Friesian still provides guests with full rooftop patio dining. Natural wood planks make up the siding and floorspace. The patio is lit up by lights strewn above high-top tables with tangerine red umbrellas. “​The rooftop is designed [for guests] to enjoy the open sky, and with the warm lighting it creates a very welcome and comfortable atmosphere,” Jones said. The pub offers their own multifarious comfort food concoctions for brunch and afternoon meals, a seasonal cocktail and wine list, and an ever-rotating draft list including many Michiganbrewed beers and ciders.

Margaux 235 Louis St NW jdek 235 Louis St NW The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck 187 Monroe Ave NW Waters View 161 Ottawa Ave NW


It's your time to have fun.


play a priority

in their future The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum celebrates childhood and the joy of learning through interactive, hands-on play, with two floors of permanent and rotating exhibits. Children can create a giant bubble, find the queen in the live beehive, shop, dine, and bank in Little GR and so much more! Located in a historical building in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, the Children’s Museum features an exterior wall with a prize-winning mosaic mural from the original ArtPrize competition.

11 Sheldon Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI • 616.235.4726 •


W here rest and recreation coalesce. Allow our attentive specialists to guide your body and mind into a naturally refreshed and renewed spirit.

616.776.6498 |

ALWAYS GROWING. ALWAYS BEAUTIFUL. ALWAYS NEW. Experience masterpieces of art and nature that will delight your senses at America’s premier horticultural display gardens and sculpture park. | 1-888-957-1580 | @MeijerGardens | #MeijerGardens


By: Marion Jamet | Illustration: Daniel Deschaine


The long, slow wait for Friday night crackles with anticipation. You’ve been waiting all day—or all week—for the moment the weekend begins. It lays in front of you like a well-deserved meal: warm and crafted for consumption. The only question: Where do you want to go?

a glimpse as parties of people enter and exit, but the door only reveals a stream of red light, so you’ll have to wait to see what’s inside. With a nod and party count, the bouncer will reveal a keypad; your last obstacle of the evening. Tap in the code and you’re ushered inside.

at one of the tall, abstract chairs, or huddle around one of the two fires that dance against picturesque downtown Grand Rapids. If you lean against the balcony, you’ll peer down at Monroe Avenue and catch Rosa Parks Circle in the distance.

The answer, often without fail: “I don’t care. Where do you want to go?”

Once inside, the first thing that comes into view is a reflection of yourself as mirrors catch and reveal both interior décor and patrons. Above, disco balls wink and shine across the dim room, transporting you to another decade. Off-white, concave lights set into the wall are like small moons—a nod to art deco. It will seem endless, but in reality, the room is intimate.

The view and ticklish wind feel cool and tingly against your skin, while the red lights from overhead and the fire’s warm touch keep you here. You’ll listen to the chatter of a full night and feel the satisfaction of a weekend that redefines the phrase: “I don’t care. Where do you want to go?”

Seating is offered for small and large parties alike, and to the right is the bar, offering a selection of specialty cocktails that pay their respects to the classics while offering a new perspective. You can order beer—it wouldn’t be a GR bar without this necessity—and select from a variety of hot dogs, which is comforting yet exclusive, and a great way to end your night.


But that’s not the whole secret IDC is hiding. When you walk past the mirrored wall upon entry, it will sweep aside, opening up to a mural of a woman and fresh, night air. The outside balcony has two sides and this woman is the gatekeeper. She is passionate and the embodiment of embracement, with her head tilted back and her arms out wide. She welcomes you to lounge on one of the couches, or sit

Why did IDC open? What is the driving mission? IDC was the brainchild of George Aquino and Rick Winn and originally conceptualized as an indoor mini bar and slowly transformed into a rooftop, balcony bar. They saw a need for an allseason outdoor bar as there is nothing like this in Grand Rapids. The driving mission is to produce amazing cocktails in a unique, hip place with an air of exclusivity.

For all the pressure built around spending weekends right, we’re still plagued with indecision when the time comes. But now, that response has a new meaning. Tucked inside the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, behind an unpresumptuous wooden door, is Grand Rapid’s new guilty pleasure: IDC. The witty acronym bites back at the irresolute and uninspired. “I don’t care” is more than the significance behind the cocktail bar’s name. The phrase sets the tone of the nonchalant yet luxurious environment, although you’ll need to prepare a bit more for this outing than you would for another split decision; to be able to enter the speakeasy, you’ll need to obtain the passcode. The search begins by opting in for a confidential email that’ll ensure you stay “in the know,” which is crucial considering the code changes every month. With that, you’ll be given the key to enter what awaits you on the other side of the riddled door. While you wait in line, you might try to get

SOLACE Magazine: Can you describe IDC in one sentence? How would you describe the atmosphere? Parker Bulliment, manager: An intentionally hidden gem of funk and fun.


What does IDC bring to Grand Rapids that other bars might not? IDC brings a unique experience unlike any in Grand Rapids. Where else can you enjoy a craft cocktail outside in the middle of winter? Besides being the only all-season outdoor bar, IDC is also one of the few speakeasy style venues downtown. Among the different drink options on the menu, there is also some food choices as well. What was the inspiration behind the menu? The reason for our limited menu was to focus more on the craft cocktails. We figured that within the Amway Grand Plaza we have so many amazing outlets for food, we would make our primary focus the beverages. When you first go outside, a large mural of a woman with open arms is seen. Who is the artist behind this piece? Was it there prior to the lounge opening? Maddie Jackson was the artist we commissioned for the mural of Donna Summer and the piece


was completed shortly before we opened IDC. The mural is an homage to the Disco Queen and the 1970s era speakeasy theme. What makes the view on the outside balcony the most fabulous in all of Grand Rapids? The view from the second floor of the historic Pantlind Hotel may not be the highest in the city, but it is the coolest. During the winter with the music bumping, open to the elements, yet warmed by the heaters and watching the snow fall is really a unique experience. What can you say about the interior design of the bar? What do mirrors and modern furniture do for the environment? We really went for a clean and classical look that would be a nice contrast to the vibrant colors of the patio as you are welcomed out into the open arms of the Disco Queen.

Is your drink menu rotating or does it stay the same? While we do have a set cocktail menu, we also incorporate a rotating drink as well and that changes monthly. IDC | For those in the know To learn more about drink specials at one of the best kept secrets in Grand Rapids, visit IDC online—and sign up for the monthly code to see for yourself what is behind the speakeasy door.


Everything you need in the heart of downtown. 866 609 CITY C I T Y F L AT S H O T E L . C O M

By: Marion Jamet | Illustration: Daniel Deschaine

BIENVENUE Á MARGAUX In the northeast region of France, where rolling mountains watch over the villages, weekends are spent biking to freshly baked blueberry tartes and grazing cows, the buildings are the most gentle shades of pink and orange, and the curves of the road sing lullabies as you drive, my greatgrandmother owned a restaurant. From what I know, it was a staple in the town my parents grew up in, and despite having left France more than a decade ago, I feel a strange sense of nostalgia when I enter Margaux for the first time. I can place the sensation immediately. Margaux, a restaurant blending the classic feel of a French bistro with modern sophistication, is one of the latest additions to the JW Marriott Grand Rapids on Louis Street NW near the banks of the Grand River. The restaurant opened its doors to diners for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a full menu and bar as of October 2019. The vision is to bring in travelers and locals alike through its glass doors within the hotel and inspire them in a culinary exploration of craft and innovation. “The atmosphere is warm and approachable,” said Elle Wadel, general manager at Margaux. “Something we are really focusing on is elevated

service for an upscale, casual restaurant. That’s my background and focus.” We sit in the Bordeaux room, a private area in the restaurant specifically for events and special occasions. Outside, in the main area, guests are chatting and laughing at the bar while enjoying a drink, and some are eating an early dinner at the tables under the large windows overlooking the Grand River. It’s inviting, comfortable, and intimate. What Margaux succeeds at is its core mission: to bring a traditional French technique to Grand Rapids with a new, innovative perspective. Wadel describes it as “maintaining midwestern comfort.” The blend of French and American is apparent in the interior, in the service, and on the menu. The decor is delicate and flowery with brass accents and shades of blue on the wall and on top of the tables. It reminds me of seaside southern France, warming the air and lightening the space. The Grand River twinkles through the reflective sculpture on the ceiling, reminiscent of sparkling waves on the beach on the west coast by the Bay of Biscay.

The menu itself pays homage to all the regions in France. From escargot and tarte flambée to Moroccan merguez, the dishes available offer the essentials and core of the country’s tastes. Alongside the traditional foods are the more basic options with the same detail and precision of French cuisine. “I’ve had quite a few guests that visit France or have lived over there that have commented on certain dishes and say ‘that’s exactly right,’” Wadel said. It is what reminded me the most of my greatgrandmother and my grandmother’s cooking: the detail. Each dining experience, every meal at Margaux is cared for and personalized. The staff and their meticulous craft, the presentation of the space and the dishes­­— it’s an art, just as it was for my family, from the moment you walk in to the macarons delivered at the end of your meal.

Margaux at JW Marriott 235 Louis St NW


For a cold beer and a warm smile, try the new Flanagan’s! Lunch, dinner, and nightlife in a relaxed atmosphere just 2 minutes from your hotel. Open 7 days a week, with live music 4 nights per week.

139 Pearl St. NW | 616.980.0705

Unique and one of a kind

616-896-7204 BANYANT REE FABWORKS.COM Untitled-4 1


5/19/20 10:00 AM

abbreviated design Now offering a unique retail experience in downtown Grand Rapids. Established by the full-service design studio, Via Design. SHOP BY APPOINTMENT Monday- Friday 9am-5pm ( with1 hour notice) Saturday 12pm-4pm (with 24 hour notice)

Visitors may shop home accessories and original artwork alongside an interior designer. 616-818-3011 A VIA DESIGN BRAND 44 Grandville Avenue, SW, Suite 400 Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Prepare To Be Pampered 190 Monroe Avenue NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Located across from the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel


Reservations: (888) 456-3463 (DINE)

Carry-Out: (616) 451-6184

MEETINGS, RETREATS, MUSIC, CULTURE, AND EATS. Find it all in the Hotel District. Check in to one of our uniquely spirited hotels — each offering a different vibe, style, flavor, and focus to fit your meeting needs, wants, and gotta-have-its. Check out the surrounding area and you’ll be amazed by the sheer number of ways to enjoy the city, whatever it is; museums, music, art, theater, a proper cocktail, fine-dining, or fun dining. Your meeting destination mystery, solved. Call us, let’s plan. | @hoteldistrictgr | 616.776.6400


As the vibrant core of downtown Grand Rapids, the Hotel District holds some of the best attractions, entertainment and cocktails the city has to offer. There’s so much to do, you’ll end up staying an extra night or two. How you spend the extra time is up to you.


AC LOUNGE Where collaboration meets relaxation. Designed for both work life and nightlife. A place where inspiration crystallizes into creative, actionable ideas by day. By night, our bartenders serve up local knowledge, along with craft beer, hand-crafted cocktails and a well-curated menu of tapas. 616.776.3200 |


GP SPORTS Sporting events are broadcast on one of 40 televisions and two large screens. Serving signature burgers, and more. It’s a great option when you’re looking for casual fare served in a friendly, laid-back atmosphere. 616.774.2000 |

AC Lounge

IDC Located on the second floor of the Amway Grand Plaza, IDC can only be accessed by a secret code that lets you into —and in on—one of the best-kept secrets in the Hotel District. A private, covered, year-round balcony bar with indoor and outdoor seating offers a panoramic view of the street below and the city above, and a scene that hasn’t been seen since New York City’s Studio 54, circa 1977. 616.776.3290 |

LUMBER BARON BAR Settle into the warmth and charm of a historic bar—complete with fireplace, leather club chairs, a large selection of premium drinks and the menu from Ruth’s Chris Steak House, making this the perfect location before or after a night on the town. 616.774.2000 |


Made-from-scratch comfort fare meets authentic global classics in The Kitchen of the world’s first celebrity chef, Wolfgang Puck. Known for his warmth and love of craft, Wolfgang offers gourmet pizzas, appetizers, salads, noodles and entrées for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. 616.776.3230 |

RENDEZVOUS This classic yet contemporary lounge offers an excellent, relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy breakfast buffet in the morning, with classic options, fresh fruit, baked goods and more. Toast the evening with unique cocktails, premium beer, wines and charcuteries, and enjoy live entertainment on weekends. 616.774.2000 |

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE Ruth's Chris Steak House

At Ruth’s Chris Grand Rapids, we’re picky about our steaks. That’s why we serve only the finest USDA Prime beef available. Choose from our chef’s seasonal specials, fresh seafood selections, classic sides and homemade desserts. Private dining also available. 616.776.6426 | 53


CITYSEN LOUNGE Enjoy local brews, wines by the glass and bottle, and handcrafted cocktails. Menu includes sharing plates, sandwiches, burgers or salads. 616.608.1720 |


THE BISTRO Eat. Drink. Connect. Serving American food, bistro style. Whether it’s grab-and-go for someone on the run, or guests dining in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, the Bistro offers fresh, seasonal options that are satisfying favorites. The Bistro serves Starbucks beverages and has a full-service bar, known as the S-Bar. 616.242.6000 |


310 Pearl St NW

BURGER THEORY Coming soon 616.235.1342 |


LEW’S ON TWO The Bistro

Located on the second floor, Lew’s on Two features a full bar and happy hour specials. 616.451.2300 |

WATERS VIEW Rooftop bar that offers breathtaking views during the warmer weather season. 616.451.2300 |


THE BAR The Bar 54

Regionally inspired food, premium alcoholic beverages and specialty coffee drinks. 616.984.1200 |

jdek lounge


JDEK Enjoy an evening overlooking the Grand River. Serving lively libations and cosmopolitan vibes in a setting that includes live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. 616.242.1448 |

MARGAUX Experience all the warmth and hospitality of a traditional French bistro while basking in the luxury of Margaux’s sophisticated, modern design. With its unique combination of French fare and regional favorites for Sunday brunch, and with lunch and dinner created from local produce, Margaux offers a feast for the senses. A creative command of raw ingredients and a palpable confidence are evident in every dish. Free validated parking is available. Private dining is also available in the Bordeaux Room.


616.242.1448 |

SIX.ONE.SIX. LOUNGE Upscale service, food, and drinks in the JW Marriott's breathtaking solarium perched on the Grand River. 616.242.1448 |

STARBUCKS® COFFEE Located in the Amway Grand Plaza, JW Marriott Grand Rapids, and Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown Stop in at Starbucks for a morning or afternoon treat. It's the perfect place to enjoy a large selection of your favorite made-to-order specialty coffee drinks, teas, pastries and much more. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave NW | 616.774.2000 x6565 | JW Marriott, 235 Louis St NW | 616.242.1500 | Courtyard by Marriott, 11 Monroe Ave NW | 616.242.6000 |

Starbucks® Coffee 55

Dine In



Relaxed, all-day restaurant offering a menu of global street eats, from kebabs to tacos and veggies. 250 Monroe Ave NW | 616.288.9129 |

Enjoy the southern contemporary food and live jazz music. 106 Pearl St NW |


ANGEL’S THAI CAFÉ Spiced-to-order Thai eats, from curries to customized stir-fries. Offered in a casual eatery. 136 Monroe Center St NW | 616.454.9801 |

ATO SUSHI Compact café mixing classic Korean and Japanese fare, including BBQ, noodles, sushi, and bento boxes. 180 Monroe Ave NW | 616.591.3949 |

BIG O’S CAFÉ Family-friendly parlor with specialty pizzas, subs, and pasta in a relaxed space with a bar. 80 Ottawa Ave NW #1 | 616.451.1887 |

BOBARINO’S PIZZERIA Music venue, bar and grill with rooftop deck, plasma TVs and wood-fired pizzas. The B.O.B, 20 Monroe Ave NW | 616.356.2000 |

BRICK AND PORTER Creative burgers and other pub fare, plus weekend brunch and craft beers. 47 Monroe Center St NW | 616.226.6928 |

BULL’S HEAD TAVERN American pub offering delicious comfort food, salads, soups, spirits, and more. 188 Monroe Ave NW | 616.454.3580 |

CINCO DE MAYO Margaritas and enchiladas served in a cheerful cantina, with patio seating available. 114 Monroe Center St NW | 616.719.2401 |

FLANAGAN’S IRISH PUB Bar-food standards and traditional Irish cuisine in a casual environment. 139 Pearl St NW | 616.980.0705 |

GILLY’S Smokehouse featuring house-smoked meats, barbecue, and craft beer. The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave NW | 616.356.2000 |

JUDSON’S STEAKHOUSE Refined but casual locale offering Angus and Wagyu steaks, plus chops, seafood, and a robust wine list. The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave NW | 616.356.2000 |

K-ROK GRAND RAPIDS Grand Rapids’ own Korean barbecue and karaoke bar and restaurant. 169 Louis Campau Promenade NW |

LEO’S Seafood artfully presented in a dining room that boasts soaring ceilings and romantic lighting. 60 Ottawa Ave NW | 616.454.6700 |

OSTERIA ROSSA Brick-adorned Italian restaurant offering tapas and wood-fired pies in an industrial-chic space. 16 Monroe Center St. NE | 616.988.9350 |

PIND INDIAN CUISINE Authentic Indian cuisine made with fresh ingredients. 241 Fulton St W | 616.805.4767 |

RESERVE WINE & FOOD Highlights farm-to-fork regional dishes, plus a long and notable wine list. 201 Monroe Ave NW | 616.855.9463 |

Japanese café offering classic rolls, entrées, and weeknight sushi deals, plus a full bar. 58 Monroe Center St NW | 616.235.6969 |


BIGGBY COFFEE Regional coffeehouse chain serving specialty drinks, smoothies, and baked goods. 146 Monroe Center St. NW #155 | 616.233.9010 |

Big breakfasts, Southwest fare, a margarita bar, and other cocktails in a quiet atmosphere. 151 Ottawa Ave NW | 616.776.1616 |




An extensive menu of maki and nigiri, plus lunch combos, offered in a modest lower-level space. 146 Monroe Center St NW | 616.233.9881 |

THE CHOP HOUSE Offers premium beef and wines, plus dessert and a cigar bar. 190 Monroe Ave NW | 888.456.3463 |


Classic café with unique fare, clever cocktails, and house-made fountain drinks. 95 Monroe Center St. NW | 616.419.4168 |

UCCELLO’S RISTORANTE DOWNTOWN Pizzeria and sports bar offering a wide variety of Italian classic. 120 Monroe Center St. NW | 616.773.1687 |

Z’S RESTAURANT AND BAR American restaurant and local watering hole featuring pool tables and karaoke in a comfortable atmosphere. 168 Louis Campau Promenade NW | 616.454.3141 |

Quick Bites ELECTRIC HERO Premium sandwich shop offers sandwich and salad options. 125 Ottawa Ave NW | 616.454.1319 |

FRESHII Healthy smoothies, tossed to order salads plus soups, grain bowls, and more. 146 Monroe Center St. NW #160 | 616.551.1449 |

GRAND CENTRAL MARKET & DELI Made-to-order breakfast and lunch fare, gourmet groceries and deli cases. 57 Monroe Center St. NW | 616.454.5300 |

JIMMY JOHN’S MONROE CENTER Sub and club sandwiches, plus signature potato chips. 63 Monroe Center St. NE | 616.235.4500 |

PANERA BREAD Bakery café serving sandwiches, salads, and more. 99 Monroe Ave NW | 616.451.4007 |

PARSLEY MEDITERRANEAN BAR AND GRILL Homemade soups, dressings, and a delicious variety of dishes made from scratch. 80 Ottawa Ave NW | 616.776.2590 |

SKI’S SUB SHOP Traditional subs and deli sandwiches. 96 Monroe Center St. NW #105 | 616.802.0995 | facebook. com/skissubshop

SUBWAY Build-your-own sandwiches and salads, with health-conscious options. 163 Monroe Ave NW Suite 1B | 616.458.5800 |

THE DOG PIT Familiar hot dogs with creative toppings. 132 Monroe Center St NW | 616.988.1508 |


Coffee Shops & Sweet Spots

Local coffee shop offers specialty drinks and baked goods. 40 Pearl St. NW #100a | 616.228.8840 |

Fresh coffee roasted in-house, loose-leaf teas, baked goods, light lunch options, and ice cream. Waters Buildings, 161 Ottawa Ave NW | 616.432.6683 |

KILWIN’S CHOCOLATES AND ICE CREAM Old-fashioned confectionery offers chocolates, ice cream, handmade sweets, and gift baskets. 146 Monroe Center St. NW #146 | 616.608.6574 | kilwins. com/stores/kilwins-grand-rapids

LOCAL MOCHA COFFEE Organic coffee and espresso with homemade chocolate and caramel, baked goods, homemade soups and sandwiches. 96 Monroe Center St. NW #100 | 616.459.0082 |

MADCAP COFFEE Minimalist, modern café shop serving specialty coffees, with experienced baristas creating latte art. 98 Monroe Center St. NW | 888.866.9091 |

SWEET YO’S Premium frozen yogurt with lots of candy topping options. 134 Monroe Center St. NW | 616.202.4793 |

Breweries & Wineries ATWATER BREWERY This local craft brewery serves traditional German lagers, tap-house handhelds, pizzas, and more. 201 Michigan St NW | 616.649.3020 |

FORTY PEARL Sample the finest Michigan wines and spirits by pairing them with oysters, shellfish, charcuterie, seasonal salads, sandwiches, and more. 40 Pearl St NW #110 | 616.608.7741 |

HOUSE OF WINE Offering more than 70 wines available by the glass and tasting size, plus champagne, beer, and cocktails, as well as a full lunch and dinner menu. 53 Monroe Center St. NW | 616.443.1758 |

BOB’S BREWERY Laid-back microbrewery featuring flights, pints and growlers of its house ales, and regular live music. 20 Monroe Ave NW | 616.356.2000 |

SIDEBAR Classy, intimate bar serving a selection of seasonal, handcrafted cocktails, plus wine and beer. 80 Ottawa Ave NW | 616) 551-9195 |




Unique gifts, jewelry designed by local and international artists, decorative accessories, children’s toys, art books, fair trade items from around the globe, and much more. 101 Monroe Center St NW | 616.831.2920 |


Features exhibitions from artists and designers from around the world. 17 Pearl St NW | 616.451.2787 |


Museums & Galleries GERALD R. FORD PRESIDENTIAL MUSEUM The presidential museum and burial site of Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States, and his wife Betty Ford. 303 Pearl St NW | 616.254.0400 |

GRAND RAPIDS AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSEUM AND ARCHIVES Homespun exhibits honoring the history of the local black community, with a gift shop. 87 Monroe Center St NW | 616.540.2943 |

GRAND RAPIDS ART MUSEUM Collections range from Renaissance to modern art, with special collections of 19th- and 20th-century European and American art. 101 Monroe Center St NW | 616.831.1000 |

GRAND RAPIDS CHILDREN'S MUSEUM A perfect family stop offers hands-on interactive exhibits and daily drop-in programs that encourage discovery and learning through play. 11 Sheldon Ave NE | 616.235.4726 |

NOMAD GALLERY The Richard App Gallery is a fine art gallery that displays works by more than 50 local and national artists. 74 Monroe Center St NW | 616.901.8736 |

URBAN INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS (UICA) Visit the UICA to experience West Michigan’s largest contemporary art center featuring multidisciplinary exhibits of visual, film, performance arts, and more. 2 Fulton St W | 616.454.7000 |

BRUSH STUDIO Instructional art class meets a fun night out in this paint-andsip studio. Ideal for corporate and group events. 50 Louis St NW | (616) 570-0682 |

An exclusive specialty tasting store carrying more than 50 flavors of extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars. 108 Monroe Center St NW | 616.551.2648 |

PLAZA ESSENTIALS Forgot to pack it, need that perfect gift to take back home, or simply feel like shopping? You’ll find everything here. Amway Grand Plaza, 187 Monroe Ave NW | 616.774.2000 |

PLAZA MEN’S SHOP Large selection of fine menswear, featuring Joseph Abboud, Robert Graham, Alex Cannon, Bill’s Khakis, Forsyth of Canada, Claudio Campione, Triccot St. Raphael, and many more. Amway Grand Plaza, 187 Monroe Ave NW | 616.774.2000 |

PREUSSER JEWELERS Designer fashion jewelry and wedding rings, plus custom design services. 125 Ottawa Ave NW #195 | 616.458.1425 |

VAULT OF MIDNIGHT Remarkable comic shop offering new release comic books, graphic novels, games, and collectibles. 95 A Monroe Center St NW | 616.776.9013 |

ZELLAR’S PARTY STORE Large selection of beer, wine, liquor, and snacks, and a full selection of health and beauty aids. 168 Louis Campau Promenade NW, beneath Z’s Bar & Restaurant | 616.301.2645 |

BELLA BRIDESMAIDS Bridesmaid boutique offering dresses for wedding attendants in a vast range of colors and styles. 112 Monroe Center St NW | (616) 369-3371 |



BIANKA BRIDAL Sophisticated designer wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses, available by private appointment. 125 Ottawa Ave NW #170 | 616.235.9300 |


Entertainment & Nightlife 20 MONROE LIVE Contemporary concert hall with around 2,600 seats, hosting live music, comedy shows, and more. 11 Ottawa Ave NW | 844.678.5483 |

CALDER PLAZA This space features an open, hard-surface plaza that is home to La Grand Vitesse, the Alexander Calder stabile that symbolizes the City of Grand Rapids. 300 Monroe Ave NW | 616.456.3000 | Directory/Places/Parks/Calder-Plaza

DEVOS PLACE CONVENTION CENTER AND PERFORMANCE HALL Established theater with four in-house companies offers balcony, box, and floor seats for diverse events. 303 Monroe Ave NW | 616.742.6500 |

MOJO’S DUELING PIANO BAR AND RESTAURANT Nightlife hotspot featuring dueling pianists, encouraged singalongs and American fare dishes. 180 Monroe Ave NW | 616.776.9000 |

THE B.O.B. Guests enjoy a wide range of restaurants and live entertainment, plus a brewery, comedy club, and nightclub. 20 Monroe Ave NW | 616.356.2000 |

Making your life simply beautiful through planner stickers, supplies, and traveler’s notebooks. Sticky notes, washi tape, traveler’s notebook inserts, and more! 40 Monroe Center St NW | 616.246.6474 |


Classic women’s clothing and accessories for any occasion that will make you stand out. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave NW | 616.235.1106 |

Enjoy an exclusive spa treatment and full makeup services. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave NW #216 | 616.776.6498 |



Discounted trendy women’s clothes and accessories from Boutique Emmanuel. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave NW| 616.235.1106 |

Offers state-of-the-art medical procedures with scientifically proven skincare products and treatments. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 220 Lyon St NW | 616.888.3100 |



Fine menswear shop providing custom-made suits and coats, casual wear, shoes and master tailor services. 125 Ottawa Ave NW #130 | 616.458.6118 |

High-end fashion boutique and full-service salon 40 Monroe Center St NW | (616) 369-3377 |

ALI NICOLE BRIDAL Bridal appointments are required at this chic shop also offering bridesmaid dresses & accessories. 52 Monroe Center St NW | 616.980.0219 |

Specializing in small-batch, hand-crafted and natural products. 76 Monroe Center St NW | 616.719.3680 |

Relax with an array of pampering classics and signature spa services. JW Marriott, 235 Louis St NW | 616.242.1475 |

A full-service salon and blow-dry bar to help you relax and de-stress. CityFlatsHotel, 77 Monroe Center St NW | 616.608.1731 |

GINA’S BOUTIQUE Women’s apparel in contemporary styles, plus jewelry and other accessories. 40 Monroe Center St NW #104 | 616.458.1103 |


By: Tyler Fleser | Photography: M-Buck Studio LLC

STREET PROFILE: FULTON Shortly after moving into Grand Rapids, I unpacked a quilt my grandmother made me. It had more colors than I could count and shapes of insects like fireflies, beetles, and ladybugs. I’d had it for more than a decade, but never looked deep enough to notice the individual threads; each one a unique fiber that made the quilt whole. The idea of how a quilt is made struck me, and since moving into the city, I’ve realized Grand Rapids is its own quilt, in a way. It is a big tapestry of a city with people, places, and things I’ve come to imbue with more than just sentimental value. To show the city, I had to undo the quilt, pulling each street—each thread—out of a larger woven piece to single out each fiber and fringe. The first thread pulled: Fulton. The journey begins at 5:30 p.m., just when everyone is leaving work and returning home. I was across from Bitter End, a cozy coffee house that has become a staple of the West Side as the only 24-hour coffee shop in the city. The coffee joint is surrounded by a quiet neighborhood, with houses of every color presiding over students crossing the street for late night studies and families stopping in for a wholesome, caffeinated treat. An older man opens the door for a young couple. A middle-aged woman sits with her service dog and pats its head, taking a sip from her cup outside the dim yellow sign. The coffee house is emblematic of what makes Fulton Street special—the intersection of generations and how effortlessly differences can be set aside. Downtown looms in the distance. There are skyscrapers peaking over trees children from the surrounding houses have used as forts, hideouts, jungle gyms, and—most importantly—shade in the late spring or summer sun. I walk by a newly painted hiring agency, a stark white-and-black contrast in a building that seems too old for those colors to not mix into some shade of gray. Inside one of its windows is a small sign that

reads “You Look AMAZING!!!.” It is as though Fulton is somehow reaching out at my reflection. Across the street is a local pizza joint with a flashing neon sign beside a rooftop striped red, green, and white; indicative of the families and communities that have come from far away and built their roots to draw nourishment from the Grand River and the people who preside over it. The buildings start to get bigger. I stare up at a brick wall at least eight stories high. It houses apartments, an upscale coffee house called Rower’s Club where I used to workshop poems, a joint called Spoonlicker’s that, upon further inspection, is a frozen yogurt shop that offers a very sweet respite from balmy heat, and a kickboxing studio simply called The Studio. I watch a woman deliver a roundhouse kick onto a punching bag. A couple joggers run by and stop in the middle of discussing their tax returns.

The transition to downtown is marked by a highway bridge and the clapping of tires on the S-curve—the sweeping freeway that wraps its way around apartment buildings, church spires, and warehouses. Along the rails of Fulton’s bridge are countless fishing poles with their owners patiently waiting for a bite and a large glass building that reflects the fisherman as tiny dots against the blue. I think about how this fringe of Fulton could make the shape of water or fish on another quilt. I consider the way the fisherman’s patience bucks against the hustleand-bustle of people making their afternoon commute.

There is a row of three saplings beginning to bloom in front of each small business—all reminders of what the future may bring: growth; hope; a flock of robins stopping in for rest before taking flight. These are all fringes of a fabric. I imagine what they look like from above, if I were to be landing at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport, 20 minutes away.

Traffic is busier once you cross the bridge, in both foot and vehicle. There are too many conversations to pick out among groups of people leaving the B.O.B.— the Big Old Building—a four-story, part-brewery, partrestaurant, part-music-venue, and partnightclub. Taking up most of my vision’s real estate though, is the Van Andel Arena—the beating heart of downtown Grand Rapids. It is a massive structure with sport murals etched along its side and interior. It is where I saw the Griffin’s fight a hard battle on ice against the Milwaukee Admirals as a child—where I saw firsthand how hundreds of people can come together in love for a city and its team.

I cross the road to the new sidewalk right in front of Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus. I’ve been here before. There are two rows of train tracks that I remember walking between when I was waiting for a class to start. One is embedded in the street just before the upside down “U” shape of the facility. The other is abandoned, but has survived as a rustic remnant of change and America’s industrial progress. It is the perfect spot for a photo op, or a short stint of introspection. I think I hear a train for a second, but then I realize it’s the water fountain in the university’s plaza.

Just past the arena is Monument Park, with a circle of benches surrounding an incredibly ornate stone statue in the middle. The park plays little brother to the memorial up the hill. Stoic cement blocks with the names of fallen soldiers stand in line on a grassy hill with a stone eagle perched above the largest of them all. There is a set of lavish buildings: Kendall College’s art studio, eclectic clothing shops, and the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum where the museum’s workers and young patrons have come together to chalk up a whole side street with artwork. I think about how the


veterans memorial and children’s drawings are juxtaposed; sacrifice and childlike creativity in close proximity. I stop after reaching the peak of Heritage Hill; a cove of Grand Rapid’s finest home architecture and towering nineteenth-century church halls. It is growing dark now, and I can hear the vibrations coming from the entertainment district I passed not so long ago. I realize this thread is nearly endless, and it is sure to have plenty more twinges of fiber to tread upon. I mark spots to come back to in my notebook, just below a church lantern. I look at the church bell and can almost hear it ring. It has been two hours, but I feel like there is so much to explore. I take the other side of the Fulton back. I pass Cottage Bar, where theater-enthusiasts gather after performing at Dog Story Theater or the Actors’ Theatre a block away and The Back Forty Saloon, a country-style bar that pours out hearty laughter and stories whenever someone leaves or enters. I’ve been to these places. I’ve listened to stories filled with boisterous laughter, steamy rumors, sobering epiphanies, and heartfelt goodbyes. To me, they are what has spun this thread of Fulton Street, woven into the city and the memories of those who have lived here, just like they will weave Fulton into the memories of those who visit it. Van Andel Arena 130 Fulton Street W Veterans Memorial Park 101 E Fulton NE Grand Rapids Children’s Museum 11 Sheldon Ave NE Cottage Bar 18 LaGrave Ave SE


“I’ve realized Grand Rapids is its own quilt, in a way. It is a big tapestry of a city with people, places, and things I’ve come to imbue with more than just sentimental value.” 61

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October 13 – 18, 2020

November 17 – 22, 2020

February 9 – 14, 2021

March 31 – April 18, 2021

May 18 – 23, 2021

June 22 – 27, 2021

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Impact When you become a Laker, you look outward, focusing on others instead of yourself. With professors’ caring guidance, you learn how to make a meaningful, lasting difference. Then, as you go forward into the world, you’re ready to tackle challenges and make meaningful contributions. Like West Michigan itself, your positive impact will be far reaching. That’s the Laker Effect.


“#1 Favorite Course to Play in West Michigan,” Readers of Grand Rapids Press/

2007 U.S. Open Qualifier “Top 10 Hidden Gems in the U.S.” — 2014 The Golf Channel Course record 29-36= 65 PGA Tour Two-Time U.S. Open winner Lee Janzen Rental clubs available | 888.533.7742

A Mike DeVries Design Newly Designed Clubhouse Minutes From Downtown Grand Rapids Special Events and Outings Rental clubs available | 616.791.7544

Outstanding Practice Facility Full Restaurant & Banquet Amenities 15 minutes from Downtown Public Welcome Rental clubs available | 616.363.1330

LAST CALL AC Hotel by Marriott’s refreshing drink is inspired by its history: Spain, where gin and tonics are the national drink. While the hotel has now spread across the world, they maintain their roots with this specialty drink, prepared in the Spanish tradition.

GIN AND TONIC Fresh cucumber sliced along the side STar anise ice cubes

4 ounces of Fever-Tree tonic eater 2 to 3 ounces of Hendricks gin lemon peel

Pour the gin over the ice cubes and cucumber slice in a chilled glass. Add the tonic water and then lemon peel and star anise. Stir well and enjoy immediately.


Up North Golf. Less Travel.

36 Award-Winning Championship Holes World Class Dining ¡ Awesome Accomodations ¡ (800) 972-4837 Call today to book your next amazing golf adventure. Great stay and play discounts available.


Find them on the street or call (616) 250-8263 to reach the Ambassador on duty.


Profile for Solace Magazine

SOLACE Spring/Summer 2020  

SOLACE Spring/Summer 2020  

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