In addition to sating stomachs with pulled-pork sandwiches and entertaining ears with live music, Cellar Brewing Company's dedicated staff fills glasses with libations fresh from its microbrewery, winery, and artisan distillery. The restaurant's plush, leather sofas sit beneath its rust-hued ceiling, and at a blond-wood bar, bartenders serve house brews and a variety of wraps and sandwiches. A glass of stout awakens taste buds craving a darker brew, and the cellar's servers pluck bottles of Michigan Apple Delight wine directly from in-house wine trees to complement sun-dried tomato and turkey sandwiches and soft pretzels.
Equipped with an in-house brewing system, Old Hat Brewery churns out a medley of homegrown suds to pair with an extensive menu of hearty pub fare. Whistles receive a thorough wetting with a bevy of brews ($4–$5), such as the house-brewed alt ale, which glows with a ruby hue and creates a bitter balance of malt and hops; and the pub’s original gluten-free brew, a sudsy beverage that gives sippers with vendettas against whole grains the opportunity to quench thirsts. Old Hat Brewery fills in the nooks and crannies left in the stomach after a brew-dousing with noshables such as the prime-rib french dip sandwich, a mound of meat marinated in homemade stout and resting atop billowy bread ($6.99); or a half-pound burger cooked to order ($5.99). Burritos, nachos, and quesadillas satisfy southwestern appetites ($5.99–$7.99), and an array of hand-tossed dough disks come adorned with your choice of fixings or inspirational quotes penned in marinara sauce ($8.99–$12.99).
Granite City Food & Brewery, a casual family restaurant founded by hospitality experts, has an on-site brewery and a menu stuffed with more steak, seafood, pasta, flatbread pizza, burger, and sandwich options than Abe Lincoln had dollar bills stuffed in his top hat. Gourmet pub-grub appetizers and many other generously portioned dishes are listed alongside the beers that bring out their flavors. The intoxicating taste of the inebriated vodka mussels ($12.99) is suggested alongside Northern Light––a light creamy beer––and the juicy, tender meatiness of a 14-ounce New York strip ($25.99) is advised along with Brother Benedict’s bock––a brownish German-style lager. Others among Granite City Food & Brewery's six specialty brews are the Irish-style Broad Axe stout, known for its nose of roasted chocolate and coffee notes, and Duke Of Wellington, an IPA with muscle-bound malt character and a deep-seated dislike of Napoleon.
Cherries from Michigan bedeck rainbow trout from a farm in Harrietta. Mrs. Dog’s Disappearing Mustard, from Grand Rapids, drapes across sausage made from lamb raised on a family farm in McBain. Though many of the ingredients at Bar Divani are local, the chefs draw culinary influences from around the world. They dunk Bay of Fundy salmon in walnuts and apple horseradish relish, and combine dollops of aged cheddar-cheese grits with small plates of cajun-spiced black tiger shrimp. The trio of lamb sliders prance through a range of flavors, from sweet cinnamon honey yogurt to pickled carrot and pistachio butter.
The earthy scent of simmering bourbon barbecue sauce suits the warmly hued dining room, where light dances off rich wooden accents. An illuminated wine cellar showcases 40 varieties, allowing patrons to find the ideal pairing for any dish or discretely cheat through the Wine Connoisseur Weekly crossword. Servers cut among bronze columns beneath exposed-brick walls, leaving a wake of aromas that hint at alligator and exotic grains of paradise as they visit curved booths swaddled in ornate fabrics.
Jaden James Brewery isn't the Bonga family's first foray into the world of sippable fermentation. In the same space where they now create specialty beers, they've spent years crafting wines from the fruits of Michigan's bountiful vineyards and orchards.
"So many people come for the wine, but we often get one half of a couple who says, 'I like beer,'" says Bob Bonga. The brewery's current selection includes a cream ale to be savored between bites of pretzels, a Russian Imperial Stout, and an oatmeal porter that Bob characterizes as "wonderfully dark, with roasted tones of chocolate and coffee." The juice of apples harvested in northwest Grand Rapids goes into hard ciders.
The family also prepares a short list of snacks for visitors. In the future, the Bongas may grow their menu further by distilling their own liquors.
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.