Food Gems and Other Unexpected Gourmet Finds in Grand Rapids – Part 1

We are spoiled. Spoiled rotten when it comes to great food and awesome restaurants to frequent in our fair town.

Grand Rapids Michigan has truly become a mini mecca of fantastic restaurants that are unique to our city. We have breweries like Founders just steps away from my office building (beer Fridays are a regular thing), we have fancy sea food spots like Leo’s and Spanish tapas to our hearts desire from San Chez. So naturally we come to expect excellence and can become a bit, well, snobbish about our dining experiences.

I was recently pleasantly surprised by a great dining establishment over a recent weekend. It’s nothing new, it’s not reinventing food preparation, it doesn’t strive to be the first or most famous, but the place is just plain good.

Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 10.35.22 PM

Courtesy of the Cheshire Grill

This post is dedicated to our experience at Cheshire Grill on Plainfield.

On Friday, Valentine’s Day to be exact, Adam and I went out to lunch (upon his insistence) to Cheshire Grill. This is not a new restaurant, in fact we have passed it hundreds of times in the almost six years that we’ve lived in this neighborhood. So what tempted us to go? Adam happened to meet the owner a few days prior when the gentleman stepped into Adam’s store to buy an office phone. That’s it, that’s what did it. Fast forward to Valentine’s day, we are seated in this adorable little diner filled with “regulars.” We are not regulars, and everyone, including us is aware of it.

I proceeded to order the Stormin’ Norman, an impressively tall concoction with a juicy all-beef patty, applewood smoked bacon, raspberry coleslaw (yes, you read that correctly,) cheddar cheese, raspberry BBQ sauce (yes, it does exist,) gracefully presented on a Sun dried tomato swirl rye – which they make themselves. I overheard a patron at another table wonder how I would manage to handle my tall sandwich. I inhaled that tall meal without hesitation. It was seriously the best burger I have EVER had. That shut him up. Why was it so good? Simple, all fresh ingredients, made from scratch, including the bread. A perfect balance of crunchy, meaty, tasty, cheesy and slightly sweet result.

Adam went with the Spicy Monster. Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 10.44.05 PMHis burger was bold in flavor with a spice level that snuck up on you and punched you quickly in the mouth, it hid among its tasty layers: jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, chipotle ketchup and sriracha mayo. Adam knows better than to withhold meal samples from me, so I was able to taste test this meaty meal as well. The chipotle ketchup brought a level of smokiness while the cream sriracha mayo provided a sneaky spice that encourages lots of “beveraging.”

So what happened after this meal? Well I have talked about it ever since, we thanked the owner and told him we’d be back. And we were, that Sunday. That is when I experienced the BEST french toast (nay, french toast CAKE) I could imagine. Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 10.40.25 PMWell, how many places do you know that create a red velvet cake-like french toast that seems absolutely magical? With handmade chocolate hearts and white chocolate drizzle, dusted with powdered sugar? Adam opted for a more traditional omelette platter with a generous helping of ham and mushrooms, America fries and homemade berry jam (there are no jam packets in this place.)

Each plate was presented artistically and deliciously. Cheshire Grill, we salute you.

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