Subscribe About Us Advertise Newsstands Contact Us Jobs
  < home< inside this month< online feature archive

Best of Grand Rapids Readers Poll
We’ve collected and counted a record number of your votes and added some interesting tidbits just for fun.
By Madison Mabin, Alexandra Fluegel and Marty Primeau
Photography by Michael Buck and Johnny Quirin

Your nominations, your votes, your opinions — that’s what this is all about.

After all, it is called the Best of GR Readers Poll. We gave you one Best of Grand Rapids ballot with 95 categories, and you gave us a record number of responses.

Awww GR, you never cease to amaze us!

After months of meticulously counting ballots by hand, we realize one thing is certain — Grand Rapids is an old soul with a heart beating to a newer, younger pulse.

Your responses reflect a thriving, vibrantly diverse city packed with proud, passionate people and top-notch local establishments — and of course, GR is Beer City USA (woo-hoo!).

Cheers to our city on the river offering up a big city feel without sacrificing an ounce of its charming personality.

This Best of Grand Rapids list is a great opportunity to be adventurous, explore new places and try new things.

As always, let us know what you think by using #BestOfGR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. GR

Food & Drink
The Best:
San Chez, A Tapas Bistro
Other favorites: Blue Water Grill

The Best:
Wealthy Street Bakery
Other favorites: Arnie’s
Nantucket Baking Co.

The Best:
Other favorites: Founders Brewing Co.

Beer/Wine Merchant
The Best:
Martha’s Vineyard
Other favorites: G.B. Russo & Son
Crushed Grape

The Best:
Slows BarBQ
Other favorites: Two Scotts Barbecue
The Pit Stop

The Best:
Anna’s House
Other favorites: Wolfgang’s
Real Food Café

The Best:
Anna’s House
Other favorites: Charley’s Crab
Sundance Grill & Bar

The Best:
Founders Brewing Co.
Other favorites: Perrin Brewing Co.
Brewery Vivant

The Best:
Stella’s Lounge
Other favorites: Cottage Bar
Broadway Bar

Butcher Shop
The Best:
Sobie Meats
Other favorites: Kingma’s Market
Frank’s Market


Donkey Taqueria

The Best:
Other favorites: Long Road Distillery
Bistro Bella Vita

The Best:
MadCap Coffee
Other favorites: Kava House (now closed)
The Sparrows Coffee, Tea & Newsstand

The Best:
Other favorites: Arnie’s
Sugar Momma’s Bakery & Café

Date Night Restaurant
The Best:
Other favorites: Leo’s

The Best:
Schnitz Deli
Other favorites: G.B. Russo & Son
Cherry Deli & Catering

The Best:
Women’s City Club
Other favorites: Arnie’s
Graydon’s Crossing

The Best:
Pal’s Diner
Other favorites: Real Food Café
The Grand Coney

The Best:
Marge’s Donut Den
Other favorites: Van’s Pastry Shoppe
Propaganda Doughnuts

Froyo Shop
The Best:
Other favorites: Sweet Yo’s
The Pump House

Happy Hour
The Best:
Other favorites: Rockwell-Republic

Hot Dog
The Best:
Other favorites: Corner Bar
Jonny B’z

Ice Cream Parlor
The Best:
Jersey Junction
Other favorites: Rocky’s
Furniture City Creamery


Uccello’s Ristorante, Pizzeria & Sports Lounge

Juice Bar
The Best:
Sip Organic Juice Bar
Other favorites: Malamiah Juice Bar
Jam’n Bean

Outdoor/Deck Seating
The Best:
Other favorites: The Score Restaurant & Sports Bar
Blue Water Grill

The Best:
Other favorites: Harmony Brewing Co.
Big Bob’s Pizza

Restaurant Service
The Best:
Anna’s House
Other favorites: The Green Well

The Best:
Women’s City Club
Other favorites: Marie Catrib’s
The Electric Cheetah

The Best:
Schnitz Deli
Other favorites: Two Beards Deli & Catering
Women’s City Club

The Best:
Other favorites: Charley’s Crab

The Best:
Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop
Other favorites: Women’s City Club

The Best:
Other favorites: Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille

The Best:
Maru Sushi & Grill
Other favorites: Ju Sushi & Lounge
XO Asian Cuisine

The Best:
Donkey Taqueria
Other favorites: Taqueria San Jose
Tacos El Cunado

Vegan/Vegetarian Menu
The Best:
Marie Catrib’s
Other favorites: Bartertown Diner

Wine List
The Best:
Reserve Wine & Food
Other favorites: Noto’s

Annual Festival
The Best: ArtPrize
Other favorites: Festival of the Arts
Founders Fest

Female TV Personality
The Best: Terri DeBoer, WOOD TV 8
Other favorites:
Rachel Ruiz, WOOD TV 8
Lauren Stanton, WZZM 13

Golf Course
The Best:
Thousand Oaks Golf Club
Other favorites: The Golf Club at Thornapple Pointe
Egypt Valley Country Club

Hike/Bike Trail
The Best:
White Pine Trail
Other favorites: Kent Trails
Provin Trails Park

The Best:
Z’s Bar & Restaurant
Other favorites: Cheer’s Restaurant
Play Station Pub

Live Music Venue
The Best:
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Other favorites: The Intersection
Van Andel Arena

Male TV Personality
The Best:
Bill Steffen, WOOD TV 8
Other favorites: Christian Frank, FOX 17
Mike Avery, FOX 17

The Best:
Bill Steffen, WOOD TV 8
Other favorites: Terri DeBoer, WOOD TV 8
Matt Kirkwood, WOOD TV 8

The Best:
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Other favorites: Grand Rapids Art Museum
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

The Best:
Millennium Park
Other favorites: Riverside Park
John Collins Park

Performing Arts
The Best:
Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Other favorites: Grand Rapids Symphony
Grand Rapids Ballet


Left to right: Eric Zane, Producer Joe Gasman, Producer Steve McKiernan, “Free Beer” Greg Daniels and “Hot Wings” Chris Michaels.

Place to Meet Someone New
The Best:
Rosa Parks Circle
Other favorites: MVP Sports Clubs
Founders Brewing Co.

Pro Sports Team
The Best:
Grand Rapids Griffins
Other favorites: West Michigan Whitecaps
Grand Rapids Drive

Radio Station
The Best:
97.9 WGRD
Other favorites: My Channel 95.7

Tourist Attraction
The Best:
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Other favorites: ArtPrize
Founders Brewing Co.

Trivia Night
The Best:
Stella’s Lounge
Other favorites: Cheer’s Restaurant
Grand Rapids Brewing Co.

TV Station
The Best:
Other favorites: FOX 17

Wedding Venue
The Best:
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Other favorites: The Goei Center
City Flats Hotel

The Best:
Eastown Antiques
Other favorites: Bluedoor Antiques & Elements
City Antiques


Village Bike and Fitness

Art Gallery
The Best:
LaFontsee Galleries
Other favorites: Richard App Gallery
Gallery 154

Auto Dealership
The Best:
Fox Motors
Other favorites: Todd Wenzel Automotive
Harvey Automotive Group

Bike Shop
The Best:
Village Bike & Fitness
Other favorites: Freewheeler Bike Shop
Grand Rapids Bicycle Co.

The Best:
Schuler Books & Music
Other favorites: Baker Book House
Argo’s Book Shop

Car Wash
The Best:
Southland Auto Wash
Other favorites: Waterworks Car Wash
Breton Auto Wash

Children’s Clothes
The Best:
Snapdragon Boutique
Other favorites: Hop Scotch Children’s Store
Sassy Pants Baby & Children’s Boutique

Cigar Shop
The Best:
Tuttle’s Select Cigars & Tobaccos
Other favorites: Grand River Cigar
Buffalo Tobacco Traders

Consignment Store
The Best:
Georgie’s Consignment Clothing
Other favorites: Urban Exchange Consignment Boutique
Rosa’s Closet

Farmers Market
The Best:
Fulton Street Farmers Market
Other favorites: Downtown Market
Rockford Farmers Market

Florist Shop
The Best:
Eastern Floral
Other favorites: Kennedy’s Flower Shop
Daylily Floral and Gifts

Furniture Store
The Best:
Klingman’s Furniture & Design
Other favorites: Talsma Furniture

Garden Center
The Best:
Fruit Basket Flowerland
Other favorites: Romence Gardens & Greenhouses
Countryside Greenhouse

Grocery Store
The Best:
Other favorites: Forest Hills Foods
D&W Fresh Market

Hardware Store
The Best:
Rylee’s Ace Hardware
Other favorites: Kingsland Ace Hardware & Rental
Gemmen’s Home & Hardware

Home Décor Store
The Best:
Klingman’s Furniture & Design
Other favorites: Wealthy at Charles
Rebel Reclaimed

Jewelry Store
The Best:
Paul Medawar Fine Jewelry
Other favorites: Almassian Jewelers
DeVries Jewelers

Men’s Fashion
The Best:
A.K. Rikk’s
Other favorites: Fitzgerald’s
Jurgens & Holtvluwer

Shoe Store
The Best:
Mieras Family Shoes
Other favorites: Leigh’s
VanHoecks Footwear

Shopping Mall
The Best:
Woodland Mall
Other favorites: RiverTown Crossings
Breton Village Shopping Center

Specialty Grocer
The Best:
G.B. Russo & Son
Other favorites: Kingma’s Market
Martha’s Vineyard

Thrift Store
The Best:
Other favorites: New 2 You Thrift Shop
Salvation Army

Women’s Fashion
The Best:
Other favorites: A.K. Rikk’s
jb and me

Animal Clinic
The Best:
Family Friends Veterinary Hospital
Other favorites: Cascade Hospital for Animals
Southkent Veterinary Hospitals

Auto Repair
The Best:
Fox Motors
Other favorites: Verburg’s Automotive Services
Community Automotive Repair

The Best:
Northpointe Bank
Other favorites: Fifth Third Bank

The Best:
Martha’s Catering
Other favorites: Kangaroo Kitchen & Catering
Gilmore Catering

Child Care Provider
The Best:
AppleTree & Gilden Woods
Other favorites: Generations Child Development (YMCA)
Rainbow Child Care Center

Chiropractic Center
The Best:
iChiro Clinics
Other favorites: Harrison Chiropractic Center
Discovery Chiropractic & Soft Tissue Clinic

Credit Union
The Best:
Lake Michigan Credit Union
Other favorites: Option 1 Credit Union
Western Districts Members Credit Union

Day Spa
The Best:
Design 1 Salon Spa
Other favorites: Tanaz Hair Boutique & Day Spa
The Crown Jewel Spa & Salon

The Best:
Thomas J. Lambert, DDS
Other favorites: Karen O’Rourke, DDS
Samuel Spraggins III, DDS

The Best:
Richard J. Ashack, MD
Other favorites: Evelyn E. Vanderveen, MD
Robert J. Lamberts, MD

Dry Cleaner
The Best:
Sheldon Cleaners
Other favorites: Afendoulis Cleaners & Tuxedos
Curtis Cleaners

Hair Salon
The Best:
Design 1 Salon Spa
Other favorites: Panopoulos Salons
Heidi Christine’s Salon & Day Spa

Law Firm
The Best:
Velzen, Johnsen & Wikander PC
Other favorites: Varnum LLP
Miller, Johnson, Snell & Cummiskey PLC

Place to Work Out
The Best:
MVP Sports Clubs
Other favorites: YMCA
Symmetry Training & Fitness

Plastic Surgeon
The Best:
Bradley P. Bengtson, MD
Other favorites: John D. Renucci, MD
Steven L. Ringler, MD

Real Estate Firm
The Best:
Keller Williams
Other favorites: RE/MAX of Grand Rapids
Greenridge Realty

Retirement Community
The Best:
Porter Hills
Other favorites: Holland Home
Clark Retirement Community

Tattoo Parlor
The Best:
Mos Eisley’s
Other favorites: Screaming Needle
Wealthy Street Tattoo

Yoga Studio
The Best:
Funky Buddha Hothouse
Other favorites: Twisted Hot Yoga Studio
Cascade Yoga Studio

  ^ back to top
Grand Rapids
City Guide
Taste This! Michigan
Golf Magazine