Stella’s Lounge

Abby Scutch, Junior Writer

When I first walked into Stella’s Lounge, all I knew is that I was yearning for a cheeseburger and a big plate of fries. I did not know what to expect when walking into this retro, funk hanghouse. The walls were covered in graffiti and the restaurant was glowing with neon lights. The lighting was very dim and the decor included lots of classic, vintage, and ‘80s wall art.

I went to Stella’s Lounge at 5:30 on a Saturday night. So, of course, it could have not been more crowded especially since it was in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. The wait time to be seated was thirty minutes. As dreadful as it sounds, it actually was not too bad. Stella’s Lounge provides retro arcade games to play while you’re waiting for your table. Each game costs twenty-five cents to play and they are scattered throughout the restaurant. I took the time to play Ms. Pac Man as well as Tron, but Road Blasters, Tetris, NBA Jam, and many others were offered.

After the thirty minutes passed, my family and I were led to our table which was in the very center of the restaurant where it was very loud and crowded. The waitress was very kind to us and she was capable of memorizing our loaded order without paper and pen. I was very impressed.

The wait time for our meal was about fifteen minutes. This allowed time for pleasant chats with my family as well as watching the televisions as they played old cartoons such as Scooby Doo and the ‘60s drama Lost in Space. This was also a good time to take in the atmosphere of colorful, graffitied walls and the Michael Jackson and Beatles music playing powerfully in the background.

The four of us also shared a plate of nachos at this time. However, the toppings were incredibly spicy which is something I would not have gone for if my family was not interested.

After fifteen minutes of growling bellies passed, we were served. Inches from my face sat an American white cheese-filled burger as well as a basket of fries. GQ Magazine rated Stella’s Lounge’s burgers the best in America and Grand Rapids Magazine rated them as the best of the best in town. However, I must say that I disagree. My burger was stuffed with so much cheese that it began to fall apart as I was eating it. Also, the burger had a smokey taste and a rubbery texture which is not my preference.

The fries were perfectly crisp and salted. They were simple just like they should be and I was given just the right amount of them to satisfy my craving. I ordered Stella’s Lounge’s plain fries, but they also offer “Chronic Fries,” which are coated in a spicy seasoning as well as onion rings.

When my family and I finished eating, the waitress came back to clear our plates and offered desert. Of course, we couldn’t pass it up. Stella’s Lounge offers two deserts- the “Gooey Gooey Cookie Rolls” and “Crow’s Nest Apple Pie.” We went with the cookie rolls.

The waitress thought one serving of cookie rolls would be enough to share among the four of us because of how rich they are and because one serving comes with two cookie rolls. It turns out that our waitress was right. The cookie rolls are smushed with cookie dough and filled with chocolate syrup all while being wrapped up in a fried egg roll. The combination sounds like it could never work, but it does. The cookie rolls were the highlight of the entire meal and definitely worth coming back for.

Overall, Stella’s Lounge is a great hotspot for an older family looking for a night on the town. Keep in mind that this restaurant is a bar and it will be filled with loud and rambunctious people who are looking for some fun on a Saturday night. It is not a place for younger children. The lighting was very dark and I had to use my phone screen as a flashlight in order to see the menu.

The food was rather expensive considering that highlight of their menu, the burgers, were not even outstanding and cost $11.50 each. However, Stella’s Lounge does offer other entrees such as steaks, sandwiches, salads and chicken wings. The tab really began to total up since we had an appetizer and dessert along with our entrees.

I do think I would come back to Stella’s Lounge in the future. However, I will not wait as long as I did to come for dinner and I will not be ordering one of their burgers again. I really enjoyed my family’s outing to Stella’s Lounge, but I will be trying a different entree the next time we stop by to enjoy the atmosphere of this retro restaurant. .