Pulling into the parking lot in front of the quaint little building and walking up the wooden steps, you would not expect the contemporary and fresh food served at The Gathering Place.
Situated just off Cascade Road, the Gathering Place is just across from Leslie Tassell Park. The surrounding area is perfect to spend a hot day when summer comes around, as it is surrounded by ice cream shops and just across from the Thornapple River.
I found myself at The Gathering Place for a casual lunch with my mom after a short but tiring half-day at school. Walking in, we were greeted with genial smiles and hellos despite the gloomy weather outside. In a matter of seconds, we were shown to our table and given menus. The menu, although not extensive, was more than sufficient with a number of soups, salads, sandwiches, and more on offer.
After settling on Swiss beef and Chesapeake crab sandwiches, we settled back to enjoy the décor of the restaurant while waiting for our food. Decorated with pictures from the 1900s, The Gathering Place truly captured the vintage look it was going for. Wicker chairs and subtle wallpaper tied the room together into a classic yet tasteful space. Magnets, and other small articles, from 50 years ago were on display at the front of the restaurant for all to admire.
We quickly snapped out of our daze after our food arrived in less than ten minutes. My Swiss beef sandwich came with crisp vegetables, perfectly roasted beef, and melted cheese on a soft loaf of ciabatta bread. It was delicious and the ideal amount for a lunchtime meal. My mom found the Chesapeake crab roll tangy and tasty, especially with their unique sauce drizzled over it. Both sandwiches were served with a side salad and homemade dressing along with simple kettle chips, which filled any space we had left in our stomachs.
As for drinks, the homemade lemonade was satisfying even on a cold winter day but would be even more tantalizing on a hot summer one. On a different note, their coffee was just as delicious and was a very popular choice amongst their customers.
It was obvious that The Gathering Place is a very family-friendly restaurant and one that people tend to return to time and time again. Some of the customers knew the staff by name and often struck up conversations, which shows the casual and friendly environment there.
Overall, the Gathering Place was an exceptional restaurant from all aspects. The food was delectable and left us wanting more. The staff made the experience even more enjoyable with their friendly and warm service. However, the highlight of our meal was the overall atmosphere. The laid back ambiance was aided by the refined and stylish décor that matched their vintage theme. The Gathering Place provided a delicious contemporary meal in a classic, relaxing environment.