Last summer found us taking a trip to explore the restaurants and bars in Ludington on beautiful Lake Michigan. When planning this year’s trip, we had our sights set on the West Michigan shoreline once again. We threw around names like Saugatuck, South Haven and Holland, but ultimately settled on Grand Haven.
One-half of the Michigan Restaurants & Bars crew grew up in Grand Rapids and has fond memories of Sundays spent at Grand Haven State Park. The lure of the beach, the restaurants, and a little nostalgia made Grand Haven the perfect target for our latest spotlight.
We picked a few of our favorites out of the many establishments we visited. Be sure to include these Grand Haven restaurants, bars and breweries on your next visit.
Butch’s Beach Burritos
Butch’s Beach Burritos has been around forever, since 1987 to be exact. This little burrito shack is in close proximity to the State Park, making it an ideal spot for beachgoers to grab a quick bite to eat on the way to or from the beach.
You would be hard pressed to find a time when there’s not a line out the door on a sunny Summer’s day. If you find yourself at the end of a long line, don’t fret; it’ll be worth the wait.
We ordered the Original Beef & Bean Burrito, as well as the Chicken Burrito. These burritos come with lettuce, tomato, cheese and salsa. You get to choose your level of heat: 1, 2 or 3 alarm.
Both burritos were delicious and really hit the spot, but the Original Beef & Bean is the way to go!
The small outdoor seating area is convenient if your legs are exhausted from dredging through hot sand. Take a load off and enjoy a burrito from Butch’s, a Grand Haven institution.
Come here for: The Original Beef & Bean Burrito on your way to or from the beach.
Speaking of institutions, the Kirby House has also been around for many, many years. This two-floor establishment features a restaurant and bar on the main floor and a second floor that opens up to a beautiful rooftop deck with a bar.
We experienced Kirby from both vantage points, but as you can probably guess, the outdoor rooftop seating was our favorite.
If you can snag a seat on the roof, you’ll be treated to views of the channel and a stellar sunset if your timing’s right. We tried a few cocktails off their summer drink menu and threw back a few pints of Bell’s Oberon as we enjoyed the evening.
Come here for: A meal and a cocktail or Michigan craft beer on the rooftop deck.
Theatre Bar / The Grand Seafood & Oyster Bar
After a Sunday spent at the beach, we found ourselves hungry and thirsty, so we stopped by Theatre Bar for dinner and drinks.
Theatre Bar is wedged between The Grand Seafood & Oyster Bar and Dee-Lite Bar & Grill in quaint downtown Grand Haven. The bar stands on its own, featuring a formidable list of Matinis (15 to be exact), but offers food from both of the aforementioned restaurants.
The menu at The Grand looked especially appetizing, so we ordered the Seared Scallops with stir-fried shiitake mushrooms, red onion, wilted greens and spicy peanut sauce. They were cooked to perfection and melted in our mouths.
We ordered the Baked Lobster Dip and Clam Strips, too.
Served with baked pita chips and toasted crostini, the Baked Lobster Dip was so delicious, we couldn’t stop gushing over it. We favored the baked pita chips because the dip-to-vessel ratio favored the dip much more. This appetizer was a real winner.
The Clam Strips weren’t your run-of the mill Long John Silver’s fare. They were bigger and meatier, but with the subtle clam flavor you know and expect.
Todd’s Roadtrip, a Martini featuring Sky Vodka, Absolut Mandarin, Midori and guava nectar, went down easy with our meal.
Overall, we were very impressed and would definitely come back to enjoy more seafood from The Grand.
Come here for: Martinis at Theatre Bar. Order seafood from The Grand while at the bar or visit the restaurant itself. The Baked Lobster Dip is an excellent bite.
Odd Side Ales
Our Michigan beer-loving hearts brimmed with excitement as we visited Odd Side Ales, one of our favorite breweries in the state.
Conveniently located in downtown Grand Haven, Odd Side’s brew pub has an industrial vibe, but a lot of woodwork makes it feel warm and homey. The place is spacious, providing plenty of seating to meet up with friends or family.
To order, step in line at the ordering counter and prepare to sip a great brew. We ordered pints of Citra, a constant in our Michigan beer repertoire, and Beerjito, beer brewed with mint and lime for a refreshing finish.
Come here for: Some of Michigan’s best craft beer. Be sure to get a Growler to go!