Pacific Northwest Lands Downtown

November 4, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Woods Lounge is a place to eat and not dine.

It’s also a place to be entertained.

According to owner Kris Elliot, that description aptly fits downtown’s newest restaurant and nightspot — which is set to open this week at 77 Grandville Ave. SW.

“The Grand Woods Lounge is a name that kind of emulates what we’re doing there, which is modeled after places in the Pacific Northwest, like Seattle or northern California, with a twist,” said Elliot.

“We do live entertainment, as well as really good food.”

Elliott said different types of music, ranging from soul groups to rock bands to DJs, will play on the stage at Grand Woods Lounge. Stand-up comedians will also perform on certain nights. The stage will be active Wednesday through Saturday, and maybe even on Sunday.

“We’re looking at doing a hospitality night on Sunday for people in the hospitality business downtown,” he said.

Elliot called the cuisine at Grand Woods upscale casual, but influenced by the Pacific Northwest. A variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches and entrees are on the menu. Many entrée prices will run from $7 to $11, a range that Elliott feels will draw customers from all age groups.

“Our typical demographic is from 21 to 61. We kind of design our genre to fit that, depending what time of day you’re in here,” he said.

The lounge has a pool table, jukebox and several large TVs, and the restaurant offers a private dinning room for special events. Imported and domestic beers, and an array of martinis are available.

The restaurant, managed by Chris Cook, seats 200 diners across its 6,000 square feet of space. Another 3,000 square feet has been devoted to a brick patio.

“I think downtown is an up-and-coming market. Most people realize throughout the Midwest that Grand Rapids is an emerging market. Our demographics fit pretty well with the people that frequent downtown already,” said Elliot.

“We’re in a unique part of downtown because formally it hasn’t been much of a retail destination. So we’re looking to push the envelope a little bit and get people to think about the west side of Van Andel Arena.”

The Grand Woods Lounge is the seventh facility that Elliott has opened. His flagship restaurant, Trôppo, is on South Washington Square in Lansing.

“It’s scary if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you know what you’re doing, it’s exciting,” he said of opening a new restaurant.

The Grand Woods Lounge will be open from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m., Monday through Sunday.

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