Grand Rapids restaurant industry in flux

Grand Rapids restaurant industry

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - As the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens and the same could be said about restaurants in Grand Rapids.

In just the last month, three area restaurants announced they're closing. Experts tells us there are many factors as to why restaurants close but of course no one likes to see it happen, especially when its a business that's been around for nearly 40 years.

"You know when you're here for 39-40 years you always seem to mean something to people," Katie Stone, Manager of the Shawmut Inn, said. 

After 39 years the Shawmut Inn is closing its doors. The owners announced the closure on Facebook last month.

"The owners are just ready to retire. It's their time," Stone said. "They found a buyer that wanted to take the building off their hands and they're ready to go sip on some margaritas at the beach." 

But the building that housed the restaurant known for its wet burritos, will see new life. Stone says those who bought the place, plan to open up a new restaurant.

"They have purchased the place, going to do some remodeling on the place, a little change of menu, change of atmosphere, nothing too huge." 

Something experts are saying we're seeing more often than not. They say even though restaurants are continuing to close, the industry as a whole is doing well. 

"It's fantastic, it's blooming," Shawn Kohlhaas, said. Kohlhaas has been in the restaurant world for 30 years and now runs Culinary Cultivations, a restaurant consulting business.

"We do its all. We're an all around culinary support system." 

He says the restaurant scene is thriving in town and changing. Restaurants that succeed today may no longer look like your 'mom and pop shops'.

"Of course there's the big craft cocktail scene, craft beers and trying to melt all that with food," Kohlhaas said. "Anything from farm to table, farm to fork, being fresh local organic, finding your niche in the industry is really a thing that helps drive people towards you and makes you unique." 

Shawmut Inn's last night will be Thursday, August 10, so if you want to stop and grab a wet burrito that's your last chance.

Saladworks and Romano's Macaroni Grill are just a few of the other restaurants that have closed over the last few weeks.

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