GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The COVID-19 pandemic and other pitfalls in 2020 have cost West Michigan countless bars, restaurants and other businesses.
In November, the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association said nearly 2,000 restaurants statewide had shut down permanently as a result of the pandemic.
Here are some of the Grand Rapids-area places we’ve said goodbye to in the past year:
BRAVO CUCINA ITALIANA | 2078 E. Beltline Ave.
Closed: March 2020
West Michigan’s first Bravo location shut down after four years in business. The restaurant was accepting takeout orders before a state order forced its dining area to close like all other Michigan restaurants. It’s unclear if the COVID-19 restrictions on businesses played a role in the closure. | Closing details
CHARLEY’S CRAB | 63 Market Ave. SW
Closed: May 2020
Grand River Houston-based owner Landry’s Inc. blamed COVID-19 and dine-in restrictions for the demise of this landmark restaurant near the Grand River.
Charley’s Crab opened in 1982 and was initially owned by Chuck Meur, who disappeared while boating in the Bermuda Triangle in 1993. The high-end destination for special occasions was a favorite for soups, seafood and its Sunday breakfast buffet. | Closing details
THE CHESHIRE KITCHEN | 2162 Plainfield Ave. NE
Closed: Around Aug. 1, 2020
This family-owned restaurant had a legacy dating back to 1956, according to Experience Grand Rapids. Visitors to this Creston neighborhood dining spot were charmed by the 1950s-style interior and comfort food with a twist.
Based on the Experience GR listing, The Cheshire Kitchen tried to navigate the pandemic through takeout and delivery to start but eventually closed.
The 4,000-square-foot space became available for leasing on Aug. 1, according to the Commercial Alliance of Realtors’ website.
CRAFT BEER CELLAR | 404 Ionia Ave. SW
Closed: Sept. 26, 2020
The business Experience GR described as “half taproom, half retail bottle shop” closed about 18 months after celebrating its grand opening.
Craft Beer Cellar was part of a national franchise but independently owned and operated, according to Experience GR. The business has since been replaced by House Rules Board Game Lounge.
THE DOG PIT | 132 Monroe Center NW
Closed: Dec. 19, 2020 (Planning to relocate)
Hot dogs with piles of toppings made The Dog Pit a favorite for people walking through the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.
The Dog Pit announced it would be closing its downtown location on Nov. 4. But Dog Pit lovers, have no fear: the restaurant says it plans to move to a new, larger location and expand its menu. The Dog Pit is currently working to find its next home, with hopes to announce the new site in early 2021.
THE DONUT CONSPIRACY | 1971 E. Beltline Ave.; 6783 Cascade Rd. SE; 3819 Rivertown Parkway
Closed: November 2020
The business specializing in all things doughnut opened near Knapps Corner and eventually expanded to Grandville and Cascade.
In November, The Donut Conspiracy announced on Facebook that it would be closing its two newest locations, with plans to keep the original shop running. However, in December, the bakery at 1971 E. Beltline Ave. NE was also listed as available for leasing starting in January 2021.
GORMAN’S HOME FURNISHINGS | 2320 28th Street SE
Closing: Jan. 1, 2021
Operations at the 40,000-square-foot store have been winding down since Gorman’s announced plans to close the showroom in September. A company spokesperson told News 8 in December that New Year’s Day will be the shop’s last day.
The Farmington Hills-based company blamed a “leasing issue” for the closure, but said it planned to “focus on fewer, better positioned, company-owned properties,” and take advantage of a metro Detroit market that recently lost “multiple larger players” in the industry.
The 28th Street store opened in 2011 and was Gorman’s only West Michigan location.
GR BAGEL | 423 Norwood Ave. SE
Closed: June 2020
The Eastown espresso and bagel bar used local and organic ingredients to elevate the breakfast experience and gain momentum for two expansions over seven years.
The owners of GR Bagel announced plans to “suspend operations” in a June 7 Instagram post, citing the end of their lease and the challenging environment for businesses because of the pandemic. The good news: GR Bagel’s owners are planning a “new food venture from us coming soon.”
GRAND CENTRAL MARKET | 57 Monroe Center NW
Closed: June 1, 2020
In a Facebook post announcing its closure, Grand Central Market said it planned to reopen June 1 but was unable to put “new protective systems” in place, forcing the store to shut down instead.
Grand Central Market opened about 15 years ago. It was owned by the same family for a decade.
In 2019, Grand Central Market sold its adjacent deli space to Art Caribbean Fusion Cuisine restaurant, which opened in July after pandemic-related delays. | Closure details
GROVE | 919 Cherry Street
Closed: March 16
When the first indoor dining ban took effect in March, Essence Restaurant Group said it was clear the small, intimate setting of this popular East Hills restaurant would not work in the post-pandemic world. The owners instead fast-tracked plans to convert the space into Jimmy Berger’s Chicken Shack.
In October, the owners again pivoted, converting the restaurant to The Essence Room. The private event space served up favorites from The Green Well and Jimmy Berger’s Chicken Shack.
A spokesperson for Essence Restaurant Group told News 8 last week that The Essence Room would be closing after the holidays. Future plans for the site are undetermined.
KINGFISHER RESTAURANT AND DELI | 1001 Lake Dr. SE
Closed: Sometime in 2020
The restaurant that replaced East Hills’ beloved Marie Catrib’s closed about a year after opening.
Kingfisher offered vegan, gluten free and vegetable-packed dishes as well as deli items ranging from desserts to pasta. The restaurant temporarily closed March 23 “to help flatten the curve and keep our guests and staff safe.”
Kingfisher’s owners also run LittleBird on Monroe Center and That Early Bird on Lake Drive SE in Eastown.
A new restaurant has already claimed the Kingfisher’s location: Red Bowl Chinese and hibachi restaurant, which plans to open soon.
MADCAP CAFÉ | Downtown Market Grand Rapids – 435 Ionia Ave. SW
Closed: June 2020
About three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Madcap Coffee announced its decision to close its coffee bar inside Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market.
“We are sad to say goodbye to a space we cared so deeply for, but are excited for what future may hold,” co-owner Trevor Corlett added in the June 8 announcement posted on the Madcap Coffee’s Facebook page.
Madcap Coffee blamed the pandemic “and many other external factors” for its decision to shut down the Downtown Market coffee bar after three years.
The Grand Rapids-based coffee roaster is still operating three storefronts on Monroe Center, Fulton Street and in Detroit.
MARCONA ON LYON | 623 Lyon Street NE
Closed: March 20, 2020
The “experiential” Mediterranean restaurant that graced Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top 10 list for restaurants tried to survive via takeout service for a week, but chef Matt Overdevest said the amount of orders didn’t even cover the cost of staying open. On March 8, Overdevest announced Marcona on Lyon would not be reopening.
Overdevest has since returned to his roots as a personal chef and opened Steadfast Supper Club. People can book a dining experience with Overdevest at https://www.steadfastsupperclub.com/. | Closure details
MING TEN | 2090 Celebration Dr. NE, Suite 215
Closed: December 2020
The pandemic was a one-two punch for this Asian food buffet, forcing its dining room to close and shutting down the nearby Celebration Cinema that brought business to Ming Ten.
The restaurant tried to survive by switching to takeout and delivery in April, but the circumstances from 2020 proved to be too much. Ming Ten’s 9,120 square-foot space went up for lease Dec. 16.
SHIRAZ GRILLE | 2739 Breton Road SE
Closed: Nov. 23, 2020
Said to be one of Michigan’s only Persian restaurants for many years, this family-owned restaurant announced its closure in November as owner Ali Ghebleh retired.
For 12 years, Shiraz Grille immersed guests in the culture of Iran through art and food. The business sold off its artwork, rugs and tapestries before closing.
SOCIAL KITCHEN | Downtown Market Grand Rapids, 435 Ionia Ave. SW
Closed: Summer of 2020
As a full-service restaurant at Grand Rapids’ Downtown Market, Social Kitchen served up comfort foods with a creative twist to Market Hall visitors for four years.
Downtown Market President and CEO Mimi Fritz says after months of discussions, the owners of Social Kitchen decided in early February to focus their efforts on the Detroit area where most of their restaurants are located. While the restaurant planned to stay open until its lease ended in Aug. 31, Fritz said Social Kitchen remained closed because of state restrictions on dining and rehiring challenges.
Fritz says the former Social Kitchen space is still available for lease.
Social Kitchen loyalists can still get a taste of their favorite dishes if they’re willing to travel about 150 miles. The restaurant’s Birmingham location is currently offering delivery, takeout and dining service on its heated patio.
SPOONLICKERS | 1515 Wealthy Street SE; 1971 East Beltline Ave. NE; 1616 Fulton Street W.; 400 Ada Dr. SE
Closed: June 2020
In seven years, the family-owned frozen yogurt shop grew to four stores in Grand Rapids and Ada Township. Spoonlickers said it served nearly 200,000 customers in its peak years, but that all changed with COVID-19.
On June 17, Spoonlickers announced it was closing its standalone shops and selling its brand to Hudsonville-based Sprinkles Donut Shop. Spoonlickers said its namesake frozen yogurt will eventually be available at Sprinkles stores in Hudsonville, Rockford, Ada and Allendale.
Spoonlickers says Sprinkles will not honor Spoonlickers gift cards, at least to start.
WHEELHOUSE | 67 Ottawa Ave. SW
Closed: March 2020
Meritage Hospitality Group’s flagship restaurant opened in 2016. Featuring three built-in fireplaces, a bar area that can seat up to 85 guests, and private event space with a video wall, the ground floor restaurant thrived when the nearby Van Andel Arena hosted large events — something that hasn’t happened for months because of the pandemic.
Wheelhouse served its last meal in March. Meritage Hospitality Group is now transforming the space into a second Stan Diego’s Baja Taco Kitchen, which the company says will open when events restart and “downtown becomes alive again.” | Closure details
BEYOND GRAND RAPIDS
ALPENROSE RESTAURANT | Holland
Closing: Dec. 31, 2020
The restaurant that brought a taste of the Alps region to West Michigan for nearly three decades announced its closure in a Dec. 16 letter, according to the Holland Sentinel.
“We have enjoyed hearing stories from our long-time customers, who reminisce of their first dates, memorable holiday dinners, special celebrations, as well as traditional family gatherings that occurred at the Alpenrose,” the owners stated.
AMC PORTAGE STREET 10 | Kalamazoo
Closed: Nov. 8, 2020
The theater that replaced Alamo Drafthouse in 2017 announced its closure three years after opening.
An AMC spokesperson told News 8 last month the downtown Kalamazoo theater was one of six AMC locations to close nationwide as part of a lease concessions deal with landlord EPR Properties. | Closure details
ART VAN FURNITURE | Various locations
Closed: March through July 2020
The metro Detroit-based company that sponsored the Santa Parade in Grand Rapids and Sports Complex in Rockford announced its closure on March 5, shortly before the pandemic gripped West Michigan. Art Van Furniture said it had been “hit hard by a challenging retail environment.”
In May, a private equity firm and Love’s Furniture bought up the storefronts and assets from 27 stores. Love’s Furniture converted and reopened 17 stores, including locations in Comstock Park, Kentwood, Portage and Battle Creek.
CELEBRATION CINEMA IN WOODLAND MALL | Kentwood
Closed: May 2020
After 13 years at Woodland Mall, the theater announced it wouldn’t be renewing its lease. A spokesperson from parent company Studio C told News 8 the pandemic and high-performing theaters located nearby accelerated the closure.
Studio C said Celebration Woodland operated at a loss for most of its history, and its delayed release business model had been declining and was no longer viable.
When News 8 inquired about the future of the theater site this week, Woodland Mall Marketing Manager Cecily McCabe issued the following statement:
“We continue to look for the highest and best use of this property, which could be repurposed to focus on retail, dining or entertainment. Of course, COVID-19 continues to impact timelines, but we have received national expressions of interest in this property, which we will reimagine much in the same way we redeveloped the former Sears property and welcomed Von Maur. We are optimistic as we turn the corner into 2021.”
DAN’S DINER | Cascade Township
Closed: Nov. 17, 2020
“2020 and the pandemic were just too much for us,” the iconic 50s-style restaurant stated on Facebook when it announced its closure in November.
Dan’s Diner started as Pal’s Diner in 1954. The restaurant’s third owners moved the entire diner car from Mahwah, New Jersey to Cascade Township in 1993, reopening the restaurant in 1996, according to the website for Dan’s Diner. Dan Chudik adopted and renamed the restaurant after the third owners retired in 2017.
Chudik told News 8 last month that while the latest state order allowed takeout and delivery orders, it wasn’t realistic for his business to survive any longer without dine-in service. | Closure details
FAMOUS DAVE’S | Grandville
Closed: Jan. 5, 2020
While West Michigan’s only Famous Dave’s blamed market conditions and higher operating costs for its closure, which came months before COVID-19 dining restrictions set in.
The business located just west of RiverTown Crossings mall opened in May 2004.
GORDMAN’S | Wyoming
Closed: May 2020
Stage Stores, which bought Gordman’s out of bankruptcy in 2017, announced dozens of store closures in February. The stores in Saginaw and Wyoming were the only locations in Michigan slated to close at that time, according to a Stage Stores employee.
The 50,000-square-foot store opened near RiverTown Crossings mall in 2014. The Stage Stores employee said the cuts, which came after lower than expected holiday sales, were difficult but necessary to remain competitive.
STAPLES | Gaines Township
Closed: April 3
An employee told News 8 in March that workers knew the store closure was coming for “quite some time.” It’s unclear what led to the shutdown. | Closure details
TIBBS BREWING COMPANY | Kalamazoo
Closed: Oct. 3
“With the Covid restrictions weighing heavy on our minds,” the self-described brewery announced on Sept. 16 that it wouldn’t be renewing its lease for the space on Burdick Street at Lovell Street.
The business grew from home brewing kits to a brewery that produced nearly 600 batches of traditional and experimental beer over seven years, according to Tibbs Brewing Company’s Facebook page. | Closure details
OTHER CLOSURES: THE SHORTLIST
- Ada Pour House | 6749 E Fulton St., Ada
- Colombo’s Floors to Go | 2243 Port Sheldon St, Jenison | Closure details
- Fandango Tapas Bistro |247 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo
- Grand Coney Diner| 5121 28th St. SE, Cascade Township | Closure details
- Grillin Wings n’ More | 4410 Chicago Dr. SW, Grandville
- Hyderabadi Foodie Adda | 1280 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids
- Jester’s Court | 3707 Northridge Dr. NW, Walker | Closure details
- Kare’s Village Diner | 9678 E D Ave., Richland | Closure details
- Keyboard World | 2300 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids| Closure details
- MacKenzie’s Cafe Bakery |527 Harrison Street, Kalamazoo | Closure details
- Michigan K9 Athletic Center | 285 Dodge Court Suite E, Comstock Park | Closure details
- Renew Mama Studio (relocated) | 5161 Northland Dr. NE, Plainfield Township| Closure details
- Riverside Lounge | 5430 Northland Dr. NE, Plainfield Township | Closure details
- Sonder Eatery | 3380 Chicago Dr., Hudsonville | Closure details
- Springrove Variety store | 123 W. Main Street, Lowell | Closure details
- Springrove Variety store | 815 36th Street SW, Wyoming | Closure details
- Swanky’s Pizza | 1300 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids
- Shifters Bar and Grill | 6857 W. Main Street, Kalamazoo | Closure details
- Station 702 | 702 Douglas Ave., Kalamazoo
- TGI Friday’s | 3345 28th Street SE, Kentwood
- The Union Cabaret and Grille | 125 S, Kalamazoo | Closure details
- Y.E.S.S. Thrift Store | 3516 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids| Closure details
- Zazios | Radisson Plaza Hotel at Kalamazoo Center, Kalamazoo | Closure details