Group plans restaurant downtown


Crews work on the site of the 5,200-square-foot restaurant planned for 816 Monroe Ave. NW in Grand Rapids. Courtesy Essence Restaurant Group

A lot of details aren’t finalized yet, but a restaurant group is planning to open a restaurant in Grand Rapids’ downtown area.

Essence Restaurant Group, which owns Grove, The Green Well and Bistro Bella Vita, said today that it plans to open a restaurant that would be part of Grand Rapids-based 616 Development’s Lofts on Monroe project, located in the North Monroe neighborhood.

Essence Restaurant Group recently purchased vacant land at 816 Monroe Ave. NW and plans to build a one story, 5,200-square-foot building there.

A spokesperson for Essence Restaurant Group said that many of the plans for the new restaurant, including details like concept, name, menu, contractor and timeframe, haven't been finalized yet, but more details should be coming out this fall.

Essence Restaurant Group has “a terrific track record” of helping revitalize neighborhood corridors, starting with Bistro Bella Vita in the Arena District and continuing into the East Hills neighborhood with The Green Well and Grove, said James Berg, managing partner, Essence Restaurant Group.

“So, we are hopeful that our presence as part of the Lofts on Monroe project will continue that legacy,” Berg said.

Monica Steimle, director of development at 616 Development, said she’s excited for the restaurant and is confident it will be a great concept and addition to the neighborhood, given the great reputation that Essence Restaurant Group has built in the community.

“The Monroe North neighborhood is a perfect place for a new concept from a trusted restaurant group,” Steimle said.

“With the community focus on increasing access to the Grand River, as well as improving connectivity from Belknap to the Grand River, this development and restaurant will be an asset for the corridor."

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