Nino’s Eastown Cafe felt like home


Katelynn Heilman

A view of the “people watching window” inside of Nino’s Eastown Cafe.

As I’m sure a majority of individuals do, my friends and I constantly scour the internet for new restaurants to experience. Nino’s Eastown Café immediately clicked as a perfect fit; the location and chicken tenders being a featured item on the menu sent us running in the direction of Wealthy Street.  

Stepping into the restaurant, we were immediately greeted by staff as if we were regulars, and from that moment, we were hooked. 

In the best way possible, the experience felt like being at a friend’s dinner table. When we ordered our drinks, we were invited to go ahead behind the counter and grab it ourselves. For some reason, this added so much to the adventure. 

Another example of this trusting and friendly atmosphere could be found in the way the staff spoke throughout the visit as a whole. Whenever they would step outside or out of sight, a request to holler if anyone needed anything was put into place, and if anyone called for them, they would come running. 

The feeling of belonging can be contributed to the food just as much as it can the welcoming manner of the staff. The chicken tenders can easily be added to any list of favorites in Michigan, and the selection of beverages and sides for any main meal was incredibly admirable.

The feeling of belonging can be contributed to the food just as much as it can the welcoming manner of the staff.”

There was also a display of freshly made baked goods prominently presented by the cash register for any sweet tooth and many options of feel-good food on the menu, ranging from hot dogs to wings. 

The decor of the restaurant provided transportation somewhere outside of Grand Rapids. It’s impossible to tell whether it was in a little restaurant in New York or somewhere up in the mountains of Montana; either way, the feeling of being there dozens of times before was potent. 

This restaurant was stocked with the best opportunities for activity. A large window looked out on the busy street corner providing the best opportunity for people to watch and feel included in the hustle and bustle of the outdoors while simultaneously being within the cozy grasps of the café. 

Along with the ideal people-watching wall, there was a corner set up perfectly for live music, used most prominently for the later times of the restaurant hours. Although live music wasn’t playing, the music that did end up sounding over the speakers somehow fit the atmosphere perfectly and amplified the positivity of the experience even more.

Although this restaurant has only been open within this location for three months, they know exactly what they’re doing, and it’s easy to feel confident that they will be sticking it out in Eastown for the long haul. 

If you want to not only feel at home but also feel proud of who you’re contributing your money to, this small business is most definitely worth a try. Eating at Nino’s Eastown Café might just be the difference between a good day and a great one.