The Rapidian

Food Roulette: Experience the diversity of food in our area

I recommend six different restaurants offering diverse food experiences.
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Experience the diversity of food.

These are six small local restaurants that I feel are generally ignored, but I feel like they all offer something great from a culinary standpoint and need to be experienced.

Chicago Style Italian Beef and Chicago Hood Spot

Chicago Style Italian Beef and Chicago Hood Spot /Chris Freeman Realtor

Flan at La Huasteca

Flan at La Huasteca /Chris Freeman Realtor

Gojo Sampler

Gojo Sampler /Chris Freeman Realtor

Everybody likes food, or at least in theory they do. At a bare minimum, we all need food to sustain ourselves.

It was about a year ago when I realized that my career as a realtor was taking me all over greater Grand Rapids, and that the result of living out of my car was forcing me to drive by places that I had never been to before….local food places! Specifically smaller, non-chain restaurants. I thought that instead of devouring my food immediately that it might be more interesting to take photos of the food, and share them online, and so I did.

Today there are nearly a thousand people on board with me who are either posting along with me, commenting on what has been posted, offering suggestions or just quietly “lurking” in the background using the group in whatever way suits their needs.

My goal was not only to share the photos of the food that I was enjoying, but also to get people out of their traditional comfort zones. Sure, find the best sushi or hamburger in town and let me know about it, but I also want to know about the jellyfish, rooster combs and alligator that you had too. I don’t want to make what I am doing sound like a food dare, because it isn’t. What I do want to do is encourage supporting the smaller local businesses, regardless of cuisine, whenever possible. Grand Rapids has fantastic food options of all genre and variety, and you just need to get out there and find it.

In this last year, I have seen great, new local businesses start up and flourish like Speak EZ Lounge and Trillium Haven. I have also seen great local businesses like The Silver Spork and Skywalk Deli, last year’s Grandwich winner, close down.

This brings me to my concept of “food roulette” or, if you will, my review of the under attended.

There are several local restaurants out there who I think are generally going unnoticed, and a restaurant that goes unnoticed eventually becomes a restaurant that goes away. I want you to play food roulette and gamble on at least one of these restaurants. If you have already gambled on one of these places, gamble on another that you have not yet tried. These are the six local restaurant experiences that I deem worthy of placing your greens on.

Gojo: Located at 421 Norwood Ave SE in Eastown. They feature authentic Ethiopian food in a very laid back environment.

Chez Olga: Located at 1441 Wealthy St SE in the McKendrie building serving Creole and Caribbean cuisine. If you like it spicy, they can do right by you.

Chicago Hood Spot: Located at 605 Franklin SE, Chicago Hood Spot serves the best Chicago style Italian beef sandwich, and that is definately the dish that I am recommending.  He is now open 3pm-10pm

Jamaican Daves: Located at 1059 Wealthy St SE just outside of Eastown. Dave offers great Jamaican dishes including their very popular jerk chicken and oxtail.

La Huasteca: Located at 1811 Plainfield Ave NE. This is the only authentic Mexican restaurants that I am aware of on the NE side and they serve the best flan that I have ever had.

Wing Doozy: At 3916 Plainfield Ave NE is a new buffalo wing place on the NE side that features several unique sauces and the best hand battered onion rings in town.

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