Built by Irish farmers in 1937 and still family-owned, Grattan Irish Pub serves its steaks, dusted perch, and house-brined kraut and corned beef with a hearty side of tradition. Deep kelly green booths dot the interior, tucked along walls covered with Irish decor. The kitchen produces authentic dishes made from carefully guarded family recipes and serves soups alongside local, hormone-free steaks that are hand cut and never marinated. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, live music sails through the air, and a weekly burrito special is definitely not Irish but involves a burrito, so nothing else matters.
The cherry-red Diners, Drive-ins and Dives convertible idles beside a giant rooster statue in the Gizzard City parking lot. Inside the diner, Food Network's Guy Fieri stands over a deep fryer, a full burger battered in his gloved hand. With a sizzle and a grin, Guy drops the entire creation into scalding oil, yielding Joe's Gizzard City's newest creation, the Triple D burger. After spending years battering chicken in his grandmother's secret blend of ingredients, co-owner Joe Bristol Jr. decided to experiment with the hot oil, and now deep fries hot dogs, Oreos, and even whole burgers. But the eatery isn’t called Gizzard City for nothing. Pressure cooked in garlic and celery powder until tender, Joe's namesake chicken gizzards arrive to tables cloaked in Cajun spices or crowded into the cheese-filled confines of an omelet.
Hesitant diners begin to sample gizzards, cautiously at first, but then letting forth happy sighs that reverberate off neon beer signs, a projection TV, and a weathered wooden bar. The staff operates on the same irreverent attitude that led them to deep-fry a Twinkie, joking with one another and playfully asking guests to help with the dishes. Booths the deep red hue of a lobster with lost cue cards cradle lingering patrons who chat with Joe Jr. about his numerous Tennessee Country Music Association awards.
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.
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.
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.