San Chez plans new restaurant downtown


San Chez, which opened in 1992, is a staple of downtown Grand Rapids. Photo via

Twenty-five years after opening, San Chez is planning to open a second restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids.

Dan Schneider and Cindy Schneider, the owners of the tapas bistro, are in the process of finalizing financing for their second venture, Roam by San Chez, which will be located in the Calder Plaza Building, at 250 Monroe Ave. NW, across from DeVos Place Convention Center.

Cindy Schneider said they have signed a lease with Grand Rapids-based CWD Real Estate Investment for the 2,000-square-foot space and plan to open by the end of the year.

“The concept is roaming around the world and eating global street food,” Schneider said.

She said Roam by San Chez will offer the most-popular street food from countries all over the globe. Specifically, Schneider said there will be items from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Turkey, Ireland and Canada, as well as a burger representing the U.S.

Due to its location across from the convention center, Schneider said she expects the restaurant to do a large amount of take-out orders.

It will also have dine-in seating for 60-70.

Roam by San Chez will operate seven days a week during breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Schneider wasn’t sure exactly how many employees will be hired, but she said a good estimate is 20-25.

When San Chez opened in 1992, tapas was a new concept for Grand Rapids — they often got visitors expecting topless servers — and Schneider expects the global street food concept will also be something new for many in the community.

“We are thinking that maybe we need to challenge the city to a newer cuisine,” she said. “It’s going to be complicated for people like it was in the ‘90s. What global street food is for many people in the Midwest might be a little difficult. It will be new for Grand Rapids.”

Schneider is excited to bring the new concept to the city.

“We will be very focused on the same cultural agenda we have here at San Chez, but hope to bring Grand Rapids something brand new,” she said. “It will be exciting, and we have some great chefs here. We have our recipes and our menu and are moving along.”

Schneider said Roam by San Chez will be as committed to sustainability and the local community as San Chez.

“We will have the same standards we have here at San Chez — 97-percent earth-friendly, we recycle and re-use — and we will follow those same guidelines for how we affect the community, both financially and in waste,” she said.

Schneider said they were originally looking to open a second San Chez in Detroit, but due to difficulty securing a location, they recently decided on the new concept for Grand Rapids.

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