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.
Under the guidance of cofounders and brothers Mikhail and Arkadiy Sarkisov, the skilled coaches at Grand Rapids Fencing Academy enlighten budding swordsmiths on the essential techniques of modern fencing. During informative classes for all experience levels, students learn the foot moves, blade work, and confetti-cutting skills of èpèe-, foil-, and saber-style fencing. Each session is designed to improve mind-body coordination and flexibility while providing aerobic exercise. A wall of full-length mirrors allows pupils to view and modify their techniques inside the sprawling hardwood studio.
Mikhail and Arkadiy Sarkisov sharpened their fencing skills on the former Soviet Union's national fencing team before earning medals in their home country's national championship. In 2004, the United States Olympic Committee named Mikhail the Developmental Coach of the Year in fencing. Both brothers hold master's degrees in fencing and have placed highly in numerous tournaments across multiple globes.
Genesis cover band The Musical Box faithfully recreates the classic performances of the 1974 album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the last recorded with Peter Gabriel at the helm. Mixing costumes, slide projections, outlandish costumes, and visual effects, the show weaves a dreamlike tale of a boy named Rael searching for his brother in a surreal vision of New York, set to complex instrumentation and werewolf-identifying supersonic squeals. With Genesis' original slides and sonics carefully calibrated to recreate the original sound of the album, The Musical Box fashions a multimedia experience as close to the original concerts as possible. The Orbit Room immerses showgoers in an intimate space, with ample standing room facilitating enthusiastic arm waves and spontaneous ribbon dancing.
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.
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).