French-inspired restaurant slated for downtown Grand Rapids

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new restaurant opening in downtown Grand Rapids will pay homage to the city’s history.

Developers Tuesday announced plans to open New Hotel Mertens’ restaurant and bar in the ground floor of 35 Oakes Street SW, located at the corner of Commerce Avenue and Oakes Street.

The business is named for the hotel that opened in the same building in 1914, which contained a dining room and cocktail bar.

Mertens Hospitality, LLC also plans to retain and showcase many of the building’s original features. They’re asking for anyone who has photographs, artifacts or information about the historic New Hotel Mertens or its later incarnation, the Heartside Manor, to contact them or the Grand Rapids Historical Commission.

The new restaurant will contain seating for 125 guests and be modeled after a casual French restaurant, known as a brasserie. Developers say the menu will feature traditional French foods as well as vintage Belgian, French and Michigan beers and spirits. The owners of New Hotel Mertens also plan to eventually add Michigan, French and Californian wines to the list.

New Hotel Mertens’ restaurant will also have a to-go area for coffee, espresso and pastries. Its owners plan to eventually open the business daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Mertens Hospitality says it signed a long-term lease with Colliers International West Michigan and Rockford Construction Tuesday to build and open the restaurant. Its owners also plan to develop the building’s rooftop deck as early as next spring.

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