GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - There is a brand new spot for breakfast in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. The husband and wife team behind the popular Early Bird Cafe in Eastown are bringing their fresh farm to table philosophy to Monroe Ave with the opening of The Littlebird.
From the sizzle of kimchi to the smooth spread of avocado, breakfast downtown just got a serious upgrade. Littlebird hatched just a few weeks ago.
"We wanted to take the same energy we had at Early Bird and bring it downtown. The same sort of sense of food and the same quality coffee," said chef and owner Joel Wabeke. "And the same farm-to-table principals."
We spoke to one of their suppliers Case Visser, of Visser Farms, who was having breakfast when we stopped by. "They are truly farm to table and they practice what they preach," he said. "It is just unbelievable to see what they can do with food. Coming out of the ground you don't expect it to taste that good and it's just, it's awesome."
"To have an option that really offers really healthy, fresh food that is homemade is a huge boon to this city," said one visitor.
"You can come in and get something that is completely healthy, with a lot of vegetables," said Joel. "Like the Eggs in Purgatory with cucumber and then a curry sauce and eggs. Or you can go with the Full English, it's a bit more calorie laden, maybe for the weekend."
"I've had quite a few things and they are all really fresh, healthy, the portions are great, everything is homemade and if I'm going to go out I'd rather have really great quality food," said another guest.
While eggs, veggies and baked goods have a starring role -- so does the burger. "It's delicious!" says the owner's son Harry, having eaten quite a few in his day. They have some really special beverages as well.
"We have egg creams which is milk, soda and usually chocolate syrup," explained Wabeke. "We also have house made sodas. We have a machine tht makes our soda water for us and we make our own syrup in house."
A cheese steak joint for years, the ambiance of the space has come a long way thanks to an extensive renovation project. A magnificent bar is the centerpiece of the room while the banquette offers comfortable and stylish seating.
"We tiled the floor to give it a timeless but classic look for a downtown area," explained Wabeke.
"The bar is beautiful, compared to what it was, it's a transformation," said a diner.
"My hope is that it really just becomes a place that, like Early Bird, in Eastown, which is in a neighborhood, we see regular people on a daily or weekly basis. It doesn't become a destination, but it becomes part of their everyday life," said Wabeke.
The Littlebird is open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch. They plan to open for dinner in a few weeks once they have a liquor license.
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