Watts’ menu emphasizes locally sourced, farm-to-table ingredients and includes a host of shareable plates like poutine, made with duck gravy and cheese curds; homemade soups and salads; handcranked, house-made sausages; gourmet beef, crab and veggie burgers; and entrée plates like Northern Michigan Rainbow Trout with creamy stone-ground grits and a succulent Vegan Shepard’s Pie.
“We take as much pride and care in developing our food as we do our beer at Grand Rapids Brewing Co.,” Watts said. “My goal is to create dishes using as many seasonal, local ingredients as possible and help our customers pair them with one of our great organic beers or a traditional cocktail or a glass of wine.”
Watts graduated at the top of his class at Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute of Culinary Arts before stints working at Northern Michigan’s iconic Tapawingo, Scotland's Rhubarb at the Prestonfield Hotel, California's Chateau du Sureau, Kalamazoo’s Rustica, and Boulder, Colorado's The Kitchen Café.
Most beer selections made by GRBC’s award-winning brewers are named after legendary names in Grand Rapids history, including some of GRBC’s founding partners. The opening also marks the return of Silver Foam, a light-bodied beer that was once the flagship brand of the original GRBC.
The restaurant also may be divided to provide a private room with its own bar for parties of up to 150 people. A mug club will offer those who join a custom-etched mug, discounts on pints of beer and growler refills, discounts to special events and the first chance to buy bottles of special beer releases.
“Bringing Grand Rapids Brewing Co. back to downtown has been a labor of love,” said Mark Sellers, co-owner of GRBC with his wife, Michele. “We wanted to restore some of the great brewing tradition associated with the name while creating a restaurant where anyone – whether they are a beer drinker or not – can go for a great meal, or just some drinks and snacks with friends.”
Grand Rapids Brewing Co. will be the only all-organic brewery in the Midwest.
GRBC is the latest restaurant and bar from Grand Rapids-based BarFly Ventures, which also owns HopCat, rated the No. 3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine and the No. 2 Beer Bar in America by the readers of CraftBeer.com; Stella’s Lounge, which recently was lauded for having the “Best Burger in America” by GQ magazine; and McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, which hosts the state’s largest St. Patrick’s Day street party, Irish on Ionia, each year.
The new brewery will implement the same recycling and composting program that has reduced landfill waste by 90 percent at BarFly Ventures’ other bars. Anything that can be recycled or composted will be.
About BarFly Ventures:
BarFly Ventures was founded by Grand Rapids native Mark Sellers and his wife, Michele, as a holding company for the couple's pubs. BarFly’s flagship establishment, HopCat, opened in 2008 and has been rated No. 3 Beer Bar on Planet Earth by Beer Advocate magazine and the No. 2 Beer Bar in America by the readers of CraftBeer.com. In 2012 GQ magazine declared the burger at BarFly’s Stella's Lounge as the “Best Burger in America.” On Dec. 5, BarFly will open the state’s first all-organic brewery, Grand Rapids Brewing Co., in downtown Grand Rapids. In 2013, Barfly will open Lansing Brewing Co. in downtown Lansing and HopCat (East Lansing).