The Elbow Room's cozy neighborhood confines welcome grub-guzzlers and fryer fanatics for spirited rounds of conversation and culinary consumption. Plop into a cushy green booth and sidle up to the menu, bedecked with a bounty of bar favorites that are served till 2 a.m. nightly. Turophiles can take leave from composing their Piave-themed opera and enjoy the dairy deposits of cheese-slathered items such as the chicken quesadilla ($7.25), deluxe chips and cheese ($7.25), chili-cheese-loaded fries ($6.25), or cheese pretzels ($7.25). The Elbow Room's savory wings ($7.25 for nine, $10 for 15) send poultry patrons aflutter, while the bacon cheeseburger ($8.25) impresses meat historians with its monumental merging of previously warring proteins. Vegetarians can opt for a large green salad ($5) or a garden burger ($6.75).
Once each new batch of beer has passed through Hideout Brewing Company's 280-gallon system, brewers transfer it from fermentation drums into kegs one by one. The hands-on process takes time, but brewmasters still manage to keep The Hideout's 32 taps filled. Drafts like the Smuggler's Hazelnut Stout and the Gangster IPA are available year-round, thought most of the bar's selection rotates among specialty and seasonal beers, as well as occasional hard ciders and meads. The brewers are often playful with different styles of beer, steeping chocolate and jalape?os or using wild yeasts that build a complex maze of flavors.
Along with food from outside vendors, Hideout's pours pair well with a modest menu of bar snacks such as mini tacos, corn dogs, and soft pretzels. Drinking and dining commences on the main floor, where Prohibition-era photographs surround weekly rounds of board games and chess. Karoake wednesdays feature locals on vocals while Saturdays bill live bands for entertainment. Competitive shouts can always be heard drifting from dartboards, and there?s also a horseshoe pit in Hideout's backyard garden, where steeds respectfully leave their hoofwear before coming inside for a drink.
For Charlie’s Bar & Grille owner Charlie Boylen, it’s not enough to see her customers’ empty plates—she wants to know how they feel about the whole experience. That’s why she frequently mingles with diners to gauge what she and her staff are doing right and what they could be doing better. And for most patrons, the chefs are doing a lot of things right with their diverse menu of American favorites, Mexican staples, and fried seafood. They update traditional dishes to include interesting flavors, marinating chicken breast in a raspberry honey glaze and topping portobello sandwiches with a tangy rosemary aioli. While they specialize in unique entrees, they still serve up classic pub appetizers such as potato skins spiced with colby jack cheese and bacon, and coconut shrimp that comes topped with fruity salsa just like a house lease in Hawaii.
Low lighting casts the private enclaves and brick fireplace in a warm glow at Louis Benton’s dining room. The restaurant is led by general manager Richard Kozlowski and new executive chef, as well as West Michigan native, Noah VanDoorne, who serves up Midwest cuisine with a French flair. VanDoorne is well-versed in international flourishes such as saffron fumet, citrus beurre blanc, and tiny edible berets, yet pays homage to his roots by sourcing ingredients from local farms for his newly upgraded menu. Some of those ingredients debut on USDA Prime aged steaks, which has earned the spotlight in Grand Rapids Magazine Restaurant Guide and were lauded by the Grand Rapids Press as a “nirvana-like experience."
Legally Blonde The Musical, adapted from the 2001 hit film, is a rosy-hued tale about a sorority sister turned Harvard Law student. Filled with lively songs, breathtaking choreography, and copious amounts of pink, the sidesplitting saga of Elle Woods leaves audiences joyous and up to 24% blonder. Seating (subject to availability) will be in the orchestra section or first-level mezzanine rows A-F ($63.25 each), or in the mid- and back-level mezzanine ($53.25 each). Join Broadway Grand Rapids for its 23rd music-making season as the company celebrates its new partnership with MSU's Wharton Center for the Performing Arts.
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.