With all the great deals offered at Grand Rapids area restaurants during Restaurant Week GR, it’s the perfect time to “Taste the City” in new ways. Restaurant Week GR is also a great time to introduce kids to new cuisines and restaurants. Plus, with some locations offering two-person dinners for $28, and $14 two-course lunch options, it's also a great deal when families get together to dine out.
With over 60 participating restaurants, deciding which ones to try can seem overwhelming, which is why we’re here to help! Taking menu (whether that's on the Restaurant Week GR menu or on the restaurant's kids' regular menu), atmosphere, and experience all into account, here are – in no particular order – nine ideas for Restaurant Week GR 2017 that are great for those who are young and young-at-heart.
The castle-like dining area of Brewery Vivant. Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant
Many of Grand Rapids' breweries welcome kids of all ages and Brewery Vivant is no exception. Located in the heart of East Hills, Brewery Vivant is home to a patio and an indoor space that might make kids feel like they're in a castle (the brewery was once a chapel). Not only does Brewery Vivant welcome kids at the dinner tables, but they also feed kids in the community by supporting Kids’ Food Basket, a local charity working to conquer child hunger. Get the kids to try something new like the duck confit nachos found on the regular dinner menu. This year its Restaurant Week GR menu includes one of its famous cheese boards, sea bass, and a peach melba crepe.
Mangiamo!’s outdoor patio makes it a great place to dine with kids. With a completely fenced in yard, plenty of room to roam, yard games like corn hole – not to mention the drawing room with a chalk board that kids are welcome to draw on – it accommodates everyone from toddlers to teenagers. While adults can enjoy the Restaurant Week GR menu, you can order a pizza for the kids, which comes freshly prepared from a wood fired pizza oven. And if you’re able to start your evening before 6PM Monday through Friday, be sure to take advantage of the fantastic Happy Hour specials.
There's no such thing as too many fries! Photo credit: Nichole Kladder
Social Kitchen & Bar is located inside the Downtown Market but offers a more traditional sit-down restaurant experience. It has outdoor seating so you can enjoy the warm summer night. If the kids are into fries, be sure to put in an order first thing! They are fresh-cut and come stacked high on top of a cookie sheet. They also have excellent macaroni and cheese and pizza for the kids, while you enjoy the three-course Restaurant Week GR dinner menu complete with milk and cookies.
If you find yourself downtown with the family during Restaurant Week GR, be sure to check out Sundance Grill & Bar, a Grand Rapids staple. You can order breakfast all day, and don’t miss the famous Bloody Mary that comes with all the fixings. This year, Sundance is offering both lunch and dinner menus for Restaurant Week GR and includes staples like chicken Lillian and “crantastic” peppered turkey. Sundance is the sort of place that will bring crayons and paper to the table while the kids wait for their food. Also be sure to check out its unique outdoor seating.
Restaurant Week GR takes place every summer, perfect for trying new dishes on a beautiful patio. Photo credit: Experience Grand Rapids
Rose’s is located in Gaslight Village on the beautiful shores of Reeds Lake. Its location and delicious food make it a popular location. Rose's does take limited reservations, but if you end up having to wait, put your name in at the hostess stand and distract the kids by checking out John Collins Park next door. The deck views overlooking the water are fantastic, and Rose’s is no stranger to accommodating children. Rose’s is participating in both lunch and dinner menus this year for Restaurant Week GR, doubling your opportunity to dine there.
Matchbox prides itself on being a family friendly diner, and has an extensive kids' menu to prove it. Their regular kids' menu has options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and features anything from omelettes and pancakes to mini lox to steak. Matchbox also keeps board games on hand for kids (or anyone) who needs a distraction while they wait for their meal. And, as one of the locations featuring two dinners for $28 and a mean mac and cheese on their Restaurant Week GR menu, it's a great spot to take a special younger in your life out for some one-on-one time.
One Bourbon is a swanky new restaurant that is a great place for older kids to have an upscale dining experience. It’s a family-owned place located in the West Side neighborhood, and the staff is as friendly as they come, with the owners often working the bar and waiting tables. If the bourbon menu isn’t enough to draw you in, the Restaurant Week GR menu will! Items include fried green tomatoes with cajun aioli, shepherd's pie, steak and grits, and cornbread waffles. One Bourbon also has a great outdoor space that’s perfect for enjoying a meal with kids.
Vander Mill's patio is as cozy (if not better than) your own backyard. Photo credit: Nichole Kladder
Located just off the beaten path down the road from the Medical Mile is Vander Mill’s casual outdoor dining space that is great for dining with kids. Complete with picnic tables, a fenced in courtyard, and yard games, you and the little ones will feel right at home. Vander Mill even has a great kid's menu that should accommodate any picky eater. On this year's Restaurant Week GR menu is one of Vander Mill's classic dishes: the summer hash which comes topped with an egg served sunny side up. Each course includes a five-ounce cider pairing and the third course, Vander Mill’s homemade brownie, is sure to please everyone at your table!
You don’t have to be a member at Watermark Country Club to enjoy the fantastic outdoor views of Cork Wine & Grille. With both open air and covered patio seating, Cork is a great place to dine with kids. Executive Chef Glenn and his staff are as hospitable as they come, making your dining experience top notch. With its family-friendly atmosphere, you’ll be in good company ordering from both the kid's menu and the Restaurant Week GR menu. Items include ginger curried short ribs, lasagna stuffed spaghetti squash, and tres leches cake.
Still looking for more recommendations? Check out the official Restaurant Week GR page for a full list of menus, post-meal activity ideas, and information en Español.