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With big flavor and even bigger decorations, this GR bar is a holiday must-visit

The classic dive bar marries perfectly with its all-out festive furnishings. It looks like Christmas threw up all over the place, but in the very best way possible.
Credit: 13OYS

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There is no shortage of incredible restaurants in Grand Rapids. But with so many options, how do you choose where to indulge? We — 13 ON YOUR SIDE digital producers Riley and Amy — have set out to find the tastiest spots in the area and are documenting our journey with a series called 13 Eats.

13 Eats is all about highlighting the best, locally owned eateries in the Grand Rapids area. This week, we’re getting extra festive and enjoying the most elaborate Christmas setting in town at the Broadway Bar.

About Broadway Bar 

Located on the corner of Broadway Avenue and 6th Street on the city’s north side is Broadway Bar, a small eatery with big character and deep community roots. This place is a Grand Rapids staple, standing the test of decades. While the bar is popular year-round, the holiday season is when it really thrives. 

Credit: Amy McNeel 13OYS

Decorated with lights, trees and so much more, the little dive is covered floor to ceiling in holiday attire. It’s the perfect place to get into the Christmas spirit, all while munching on a signature burger and sipping from a glass full of cheer. 

The Broadway Bar is all booked up through Christmas, although you could try to snag a bar seat to enjoy the festive setting before the holiday season is over.

Read more about Broadway Bar here.

The Food

We’ll say this about the Broadway Bar: we came for the ultra-festive Christmas vibe, but we stayed for the food. This place is the greasy American paradise of our sugar plum dreams. 

We have a thing for the classics, so we went with The Broadway Burger ($12.00) and The Broadway Burrito ($12.00).

If you visit the Broadway Bar without stopping to enjoy a burger, you’re a real cotton-headed ninny muggins. The Broadway Burger is two huge patties topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle, small onion bits and creamy mayo, sandwiched between slices of thick Texas toast. And of course, we added some American cheese to top it all off. In simple terms, this thing is immaculate.

Credit: Amy McNeel 13OYS

Maybe the best part of all? There is no delicate way to eat a Broadway Burger. When the double-decker burger arrives on its Christmas-themed paper plate, you shift the sandwich half between hands, deciding where would be the best spot for a first bite. Each mouthful is ginormous, with the perfect amount of sauce-to-patty ratio and the most amazing, buttery crunch from the Texas toast. We were left with an empty plate and multiple scrunched up, greasy reindeer napkins – the true sign of a delicious burger meal, if you ask me.

Even with its hefty size, you will finish this burger and wonder when you will be able to return for the next. The fries are salty, golden and fried-to-perfection, making it the best burger and fry combo we’ve tried so far.

Credit: Amy McNeel 13OYS

One thing you need to know about the Broadway Burrito: it arrived on a tray. The burrito is a footlong of cheesy, sauce-coated goodness surrounded by tortilla chips. We cut it open, sending strings of cheese stretching over the gap, while mounds of seasoned beef came spilling out. The spices were delicious and the cooked onions added a nice crunch. For us, this meal really became two, as we ended up taking home a Styrofoam to-go container with half of the massive burrito. 

When we return (which we will each Christmas season, we’ve decided), our go-to will always be that magnificent burger and fries. Broadway Bar, save us a table for two next December. No, like, we mean it. 

RELATED: New East Grand Rapids eatery serves up classic bagels in modern atmosphere

The Vibe

Broadway Bar is a glittery, sparkly, Christmassy masterpiece. When we walked through the old wooden door, we were met with a feeling of nostalgia. The space embodies the classic American dive bar, with fold out chairs, dimmed lighting and the smell of greasy goodness. But beyond that, the classic dive bar marries perfectly with its all-out Christmas furnishings. It looks like Christmas threw up all over the place, but in the very best way possible.

As lovers of all things Christmas, we were automatically drawn to the bright lights that line the walls and ceiling. The bar is dark, but the strands of colored bulbs create a cozy and festive atmosphere. Along with a whole lot of lights, the eatery is decked out with Christmas trees, huge ornaments hanging from the ceiling and yards of tensile garlands. There are plenty of Santas, a bunch of stuffed animals and even a good old fashioned leg lamp (Fragile!).

As you can probably tell, we really fell in love with the décor inside, but the atmosphere beyond that was just as noteworthy. The smell of classic American favorites filtered through the kitchen and into the dining area and the people who worked there were kind and light hearted. We got really good vibes from this cozy cove of Christmas crazy, and we will definitely be going back again and again.  

RELATED: Have we found the most underrated holiday treat stop in Grand Rapids?

The Verdict 

When we arrived at Broadway Bar before noon on a Monday, we had no idea it was going to be so crowded. Our sweet waitress dressed in Christmas garb even told us we needed to be gone in two hours before her next reservation came in. To this, our expectations for the meal ahead of us rose – and let’s just say, they were exceeded.

This place is the perfect setting for a meal in the holiday season. It’s so decked out in holiday décor that every direction you look in the room, you will find a new piece of Christmas cheer, no matter how long you stay. The room made us feel like giddy children on Christmas morning, feeling so much holiday joy it made it impossible to return to the office without a smile on our faces.

Another amazing thing about the Broadway Bar: it doesn’t try to be something it’s not. The waitresses are cheery and sear burgers on the grill with elf hats on. The greasy meals arrive on paper plates alongside various holiday-printed napkins and silverware from a paper bag. The staff laugh with patrons eating at the bar while ‘Home Alone’ plays on the projector screen. 

We can’t stress this enough: visit Broadway Bar in the holiday season. The most wonderful time of the year is only made better with a Broadway Burger in hand. 

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