Downtown Grand Rapid’s Wheelhouse consists of everything desirable in a restaurant

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Jordan Helmbrecht

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Downtown Grand Rapid’s Wheelhouse consists of everything desirable in a restaurant

As most people know, I am a big food person. I love trying new things and eating, well, practically anything. With that said, it was no surprise when the alluring pictures of Wheelhouse and its meals spread across my phone immediately convinced me to try the restaurant.

Of course, I am not one to eat on my own, so I dragged my family downtown to the semi-new, undiscovered restaurant. The twenty-ish minute car ride provided me with quite the foresight as my anticipation to arrive heightened, yet all the expectations I had mentally set were completely dissolved as I entered the world of Wheelhouse.

Accompanying the modern bar at the entrance of the building was an illuminated royal blue essence, which was the first aspect of the restaurant that grasped my attention. I was quickly enraptured in the uniquely shaped ceilings that were encased in hundreds of beautiful white lights. Abstractly-shaped lights hung above certain tables, while the rest of the room was dimly lit by smaller white lights that flowed down the walls like a river of glittering stars.

We were quickly greeted by an elated host, who led us to our table and introduced us to our waiter, who also immediately came across as noticeably affable. The atmosphere, as well as the staff, was very comfortable, courteous, and promising.

In terms of promising, the dinner menu was absolutely full of mouth-watering options. The waiter descriptively went over the entirety of the menu, as well as pointing out his favorite dishes. And, although multiple items were calling my name, beckoning me to choose them, I ended up going with the Wheelhouse Signature Burger, a classic meal with an anomalous touch to it. My mom, of course taking an eternity to decide due to her captivation with many items on the menu, ended up electing to try the Scallops — as did my dad. My sister went with the Poke Bowl, giving our table an overall worldwide variety of food.

As our food was cooking, the waiter constantly checked in with us. He often engaged in unforced conversation, making me feel comfortable and welcome and remained contently polite throughout the night. Meanwhile, the host was going table to table and conversing with the guests; the grand staff service was continuously illustrated throughout the night, ending in a masterpiece of customer bliss.

The dishes ended up taking about twenty minutes or so to appear in front of us; however, the wait was well worth the taste-bud shattering food. My burger was escorted by a tin of fries, yet not just your average fries. The crunch-encrusted, perfectly seasoned fries are what first drew my fingers to them, as I quickly consumed nearly half of them.

Once I finally gave myself a second to come up for air, my attention turned to the delicious aroma that was emanating from my burger. As I dug into the burger, multiple enticing tastes swarmed my mouth. The masterpiece of a burger was cooked to my liking and assisted by tomato aioli, arugula, and aged sharp cheddar; it was the perfect mix.

As I practically inhaled my tasteful dinner that I probably should’ve savored more, both of my parents were astounded by the freshly cooked scallops that laid atop a mountain of rich risotto. I stole a bit from my mom’s plate, and the sliver of scallop and risotto she allowed me melted on my tongue; it was a luxurious spin on a common restaurant meal. And, although I wasn’t granted the allowance to try it, my sister’s Poke Bowl looked quite appetizing.

To say the least, my family and I fell victim to each of our meals and were left wanting more, even though our stomachs were at their full capacities. The waiter swiftly cleared our table and stealthily dropped off a heavenly-sounding menu full of exquisite desserts; however, given our stuffed stomachs, we chose to save dessert for next time.

Our check came out promptly after sending the dessert menu away, and although the dinner overall had been somewhat pricey, the food and service were both well worth the dollar amount. I was content with the overall time and money I had invested in experiencing Wheelhouse, and I left the restaurant eminently satisfied. 

In my mom’s words, we will “most definitely be returning to our new favorite restaurant” sometime soon.

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