Restaurant and bar opens downtown


Wheelhouse Kitchen & Cocktails in downtown Grand Rapids is a “new American bistro,” featuring seasonal recipes and artisan cocktails. Photo via

The restaurant and bar in the works at a major development downtown is now open.

Wheelhouse Kitchen & Cocktails in Grand Rapids opened today at Arena Place, at 67 Ottawa Ave. SW, following nearly two years in development.

The restaurant is owned and operated by Grand Rapids-based Meritage Hospitality Group, which also has an office on the fifth and sixth floors of Arena Place.

Meritage President and CEO Robert Schermer is excited to have the restaurant open, but first-day nerves exist.

“Give me 12 hours to answer how it feels to have it open,” Schermer said. “All of these chef-inspired restaurants are custom restaurants, and it takes a lot of TLC.”


The menu is largely inspired by French bistros, but it also has Italian and Spanish flairs, Schermer said.

The restaurant’s menu was developed by Wheelhouse Chef Andrew Alcid.

Appetizers include Belgian-style mussels, oysters on the half shell, escargot, tuna crudo, beef tenderloin carpaccio and a trio of tartines.

Sandwiches include a double-stack burger, duck Rueben, crab cake, tuna provencal and the CB&J, an “adult peanut butter and jelly” made with cashew butter, fig jam, goat cheese and candied bacon.

Entrees include duroc pork chop, steak and frites, grilled prawns, diver scallops and pappardelle.

The menu also features a curated selection of beers, wines and cocktails.


Meritage has 165 restaurants, which are mostly Wendy's locations across seven states.

Wheelhouse is the company’s fourth casual-dining restaurant, joining Twisted Rooster, Crooked Goose and Freighters.  

Meritage Hospitality Group is publicly traded in the OTCQX marketplace under the symbol MHGU. 

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