‘Michigan-fare’ restaurant reserves space at Arena Place


A plate of fish tacos, battered with Founders Brewing Co. pale ale, by Meritage Hospitality Group’s Twisted Rooster in Grand Rapids. Photo via fb.com

The developer of the $45-million Arena Place downtown has shared more details on the restaurant that will occupy the development’s ground floor.

The Wheelhouse is the new restaurant concept by Meritage Hospitality Group that will be housed in the first-floor corner of the 11 story, mixed-use development being built in the heart of Grand Rapids — at the corner of Ottawa Avenue SW and Weston Street SW — according to Jason Wheeler, director of business development for Grand Rapids-based Orion Real Estate Solutions, which is developing Arena Place.

The Wheelhouse will occupy about 6,200 square feet, at 55 Ottawa Ave. SW.

The restaurant is expected to bring about "200-plus jobs to local Michiganders," said Lindsay Stone, a spokesperson for Meritage Hospitality Group.

“We are in the early stages of building our team, and we are ready to hit the ground running,” Stone said. 

Wheeler said the restaurant is "as perfect as an open doorway from Arena Place to Van Andel Arena." 

“It adds to the convenience of the neighborhood, and it’s perfect for the arena district,” he said.

Grand Rapids-based Meritage Hospitality Group, which currently owns 141 restaurants in six states, will also have 12,500 square feet of office space at Arena Place.

“New concept”

Wheeler said The Wheelhouse will feature a menu and a “Michigan-fare” theme similar to two other Meritage restaurants in the city: Twisted Rooster and Crooked Goose.

Stone added that The Wheelhouse will have a strong focus on serving "scratch made, locally sourced menu items."

Stone said that Executive Chef Dave Ogren and the culinary team are creating a menu that “combines bold flavors with local flare,” while pairing them with “Michigan beer, wine and cocktails.”

The new concept is centered around Mertigage's "commit to the Mitt" philosophy, said Tom Brady, director of operations, Twisted Rooster and Crooked Goose, this summer.

The 215-seat restaurant will be segmented into several zones for different dining experiences: informal social gathering; a bar; a culinary hearth, encouraging interaction between cooks and customers; a more quiet, reserved dining room; and a private dining space, according to Rick Vangelderen of InterActive Studio.

Arena Place

Orion Construction officially broke ground on Arena Place this summer.

The project is expected to be finished in the winter of 2015.

The 373,347-square-foot Arena Place will feature 100 market-rate apartments, office space, ground-floor retail and a parking garage with at least 280 spaces.

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