Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

French restaurant leases space downtown

July 25, 2017
| By Pat Evans |
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35 Oakes St. SW Grand Rapids
35 Oakes St. SW in Grand Rapids. Courtesy Rockford Construction

A new restaurant is slated for downtown Grand Rapids.

Rockford Construction announced today the signing of a long-term lease with the operator of new restaurant called New Hotel Mertens at 35 Oakes St. SW.

Mertens Hospitality will open the French-inspired restaurant later this year, named for the hotel located in the building in 1914.

Anthony Tangorra is the managing member of Mertens Hospitality.

The menu will be traditional French, with Belgian, French and Michigan beer and spirits, as well as a wine list with labels from Michigan, California and France. A to-go portion of the restaurant will offer coffee, espresso and pastries.

Eventually, Tangorra expects the brasserie to be open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The 125-seat restaurant is expected to highlight many of the building’s original features. Mertens Hospitality also secured rights to develop the rooftop deck of 35 Oakes and could begin on the project early next year.

“We designed the new incarnation of New Hotel Mertens to reflect the building’s contribution to the history of Grand Rapids,” Tangorra said. “The hotel housed a dining room and cocktail bar starting in 1914, so our mission is to adapt and restore many of those features we’ve been fortunate to inherit over 100 years later.”

Colliers West Michigan handled the lease, and Grand Rapids-based Concept Design is providing architectural services. Grand Rapids-based Varnum advised Mertens Hospitality.

Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction began the rehabilitation of 35 Oakes in 2014. This year, Swedish tech firm Configura moved into two of the eight office floors in the building.

“New Hotel Mertens will bring a fresh, new concept to downtown,” said Mike Mraz, managing partner of real estate, Rockford Construction. “The renovation of this building was part of a large and long-term investment that was made in this area by Rockford and our partners.”

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