- people on the move
Downtown restaurant opening rooftop lounge
A French restaurant that opened last year inside a historic building downtown will open a rooftop lounge this summer.
Grand Rapids-based Mertens Hospitality, the holding company for New Hotel Mertens restaurant at 35 Oakes St. SW, said today it will open the lounge, dubbed “Haute at New Hotel Mertens,” on the building’s top floor next month.
Anthony Tangorra — founder, restaurant director and managing member of Mertens’ holding company — said the name “Haute” translates to “high” or “tall” in French.
“We are excited to be able to offer unobstructed, 180-degree views of the Grand Rapids skyline from nine stories above the city while presenting a unique French menu,” he said.
The upscale space will comprise a 40-seat expansion of the first-floor restaurant and offer soft seating with table service.
It will be accessible by elevator through the restaurant lobby, where guests will be directed upstairs by the main floor host or hostess — or guests can enter through the Commerce Avenue side of the building, which is open until 5 p.m.
The food will be French-focused, as is the cuisine downstairs.
The menu will include charcuterie, fresh seafood and “substantial” hors d’oeuvres.
There will be a full bar serving cocktails, wine and beer.
Hours and rentals
Haute at New Hotel Mertens will be open seven days a week during the warmer months, from lunch until late in the evening.
Breakfast and brunch might be added at a later date, if demand warrants it.
No reservations are necessary for day-to-day dining.
The space will, however, be available to rent for private groups.
Firms on the project
Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction is the contractor on the project.
Ghafari Associates/Concept Design of Grand Rapids is the architect.
Houston-based Bennett Design Group is the interior designer.
Varnum’s Novi office is performing advisory services for Mertens Hospitality.
New Hotel Mertens
New Hotel Mertens originally opened in its present building in 1914 and primarily served travelers coming through the old Union Station on Ionia Avenue SW.
After Union Station closed in 1960, the building was sold and changed ownership several times over the next four decades, gradually falling into disrepair.
Around the year 2000, Rockford Construction purchased and revitalized the building.
The revived restaurant — which occupies the former lobby and dining room — has many of its original architectural details.
The Grand Rapids Historical Commission and Mertens Hospitality are requesting that anyone who has photographs or artifacts from the historic New Hotel Mertens email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.