Taste of My Town: The Beltline Bar
If you stopped by The Beltline Bar back in its early days, you'll remember how different the restaurant used to be.
Opening in 1953, The Beltline Bar did not first serve the "Tex Mex" style fare it's famous for today. Rather, the restaurant seated 42 people and had beer, wine, popcorn and chili dogs.
Fast-forward to 1966 when the Mexican-themed menu was crafted, and the famous wet burrito was born.
Current owner Jeff Lobdell tells the story of the wet burrito, saying it was born out of an order mistake.
"As legend has it, the previous owner was on vacation and the tortillas came in too big and the manager decided to sauce them all up and have a special, and he came back from vacation, there was a line out the door," said Lobdell. "They've been selling wet burritos ever since."
There is even a current wet burrito sales count in the restaurant. Over five million have been sold since the '60s.
What makes the wet burrito so special? It's partially due to consistency. The recipe for the ground beef, refried beans, and sauce has never been altered.
Diners love the comfortable and consistent menu and atmosphere.
"It is consistent, the same every time and it's been that way for the thirty plus years I've been in Michigan," said one patron.
The hotspot is about to be more than a local gem - The Beltline Bar will soon be featured on cable television.
"We got a call that the Travel Channel was wanting to do some stories on iconic restaurants along with their eating challenge and they called us and we said, 'yeah, we'd love to have you in and tell you all about our story,'" said Lobdell.
The Travel Channel will be featuring the restaurant and a few other Grand Rapids' restaurants on their show Man v. Food, which will air Monday, February 12th at 9:00 p.m.
The Beltline Bar will have a viewing party for the show as well as specials on their wet burrito and margaritas all day.
"All day long we're going to have our famous wet burritos for $4.99, our margaritas for $3.99 and we're looking forward to a great day," said Lobdell.
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