This year, Rockford’s trades team worked with several restaurateurs to craft spaces that showcase each restaurant’s unique cocktails and cuisine. New Hotel Mertens, located in downtown Grand Rapids, is a 125-seat “traditional brasserie” or casual French restaurant. The restaurant pays homage to the building’s use as a hotel more than 100 years ago. “We’re excited to have a restaurant that will honor the building’s history while creating a beautiful place to gather,” says Mike Mraz, Rockford’s Managing Partner of Real Estate Development.
Nearby on the City’s West Side, Ando Asian Kitchen + Bar and Butcher’s Union are both seeing success in their first year of operation. Ando Asian Kitchen + Bar offers Vietnamese and Korean cuisine in a 120-seat space on the ground floor of Barley Flats Apartments. With an atmosphere that mimics the menu options – striking, delightful, and alluring – Ando is a must-visit destination.
Butcher’s Union is less than one block away, located in a former nightclub on Bridge Street. Large, bi-folding doors connect street-side seating to a rich interior and outdoor courtyard, which Rockford created by removing a section of the roof. Much of the restaurant features reclaimed materials, including the prominent tin ceiling, exposed brick walls and uncovered hardwood floors, which were refinished and stained in a checkerboard pattern to create a truly unique look.
Located further north in East Jordan, MI, Blue Smoke is a “true smokehouse-style southern BBQ” restaurant that boasts fresh and locally-sourced comfort food cooked over a live fire. The restaurant’s southern-inspired fare and house-butchered meats are served over custom countertops supplied by First Cut Millwork. The space also blends upscale granite elements with relaxed barn wood accents to create a warm, welcome mood.