Brick walls and fireplaces surround the nautical-themed dining area of Great Lakes Shipping Co. Restaurant & Tavern. During warmer months, the casual steak and seafood house opens its large outdoor deck that allows diners to pair meals with the melodic tweets of nearby birds. Executive chef Thomas Verlin's menu showcases fresh lake catches such as breaded perch alongside oceanic fare such as Australian lobster and Alaskan king crab, often accented with simple sauces, pastas, and cue cards that let the entree speak for itself. Thomas also lassos hand-cut slices of prime rib, new york strip, and tenderloin fillets onto dinner plates and wrangles juicy burgers and sandwiches to satisfy lighter appetites.
Shining its spotlights on everything from live concerts to cage fights, the Orbit Room morphs to handle intimate concerts and packed dance parties alike. A two-tiered design lends ample room for more than 1,600 swaying fans or 800 three-legged racers, with an open ground floor and loge resting below a seated balcony. Five bars adorn the two floors, quenching fans' thirst before they hop into the mosh pit or stretch their legs in the balcony.
Flanagan's Irish Pub's gastropub menu rotates nearly weekly with eclectic offerings such as pulled pork tacos and specialty burgers with fresh, seasonal toppings. Chefs still cook up classic Irish dishes such as fish and chips or shepherd's pie, but also put twists on old favorites: reuben bites?mini reuben sandwiches rolled in wonton skins?are a house specialty. On the weekends, live bands and DJs fill the air with music.
If the weight loss of the company's owner and a trainer?75 pounds and 100 pounds, respectively?is any indication, Grand Rapids Boot Camp and Fitness means business. The outdoor classes are tailored for all fitness levels, so beginners and seasoned athletes will both feel the burn as the perform weight exercises, resistance workouts, and functional movements.
Although officially founded in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony's history stretches back to 1917 when an enterprising group of local musicians began practicing together and holding regular concerts. In the years since, the ensemble has retained this self-starter mentality while growing into one of the nation's preeminent regional orchestras. Always asserting its idiosyncratic individuality, the organization earned a 2007 Grammy nomination for its collaboration with flamboyant electric harpist Deborah Henson-Conant and the ire of conductors for its rule that all batons should be able to shoot sparks.
Rock Fire Grille fills grumbly stomachs with classically prepared American fare, complementing an eclectic array of steaks, pastas, and pizzas with a stellar wine list. Diners can watch their meals being meticulously prepared in Rock Fire Grille's open exhibition kitchen, an experience far superior to viewing an episode of Top Chef and eating the TV screen at the end. The restaurant's expansive menu begins with seafood-infused appetizers, such as beer-battered, coconut-crusted shrimp ($8.95) and pan-seared Maryland crab cakes ($9.95). When the main course rolls in, treat taste buds to the Sienna chicken penne, served with sundried tomatoes and spinach and tossed in a creamy parmesan sauce ($14.95), or the bacon-wrapped pork fillet ($15.95) with a smidgen of pineapple salsa. Pizza purveyors can bite voluptuously into the wood-roasted mushroom pizza, with melty feta cheese, savory bacon, and spinach on four-cheese bread. For dessert, discuss your status as the Statue of Liberty's husband-to-be over a slice of Julia's New York cheesecake, drizzled with wild berry coulis ($6.95).