The eternal question that can sap productivity from your company for hours, all while leaving your stomach & your taste buds in limbo: Where To Go For a Lunch Meeting.
There are so many factors to consider:
- Price – Not so high that your accountant rejects the charge, but not so cheap that your client balks at your cheap-o choice.
- Location – Not so far that it wastes everybody’s time. For meetings with unknown people somewhere close to the office is good because it offers an escape route– but at the same time, close by locales may be filled with colleagues who could throw off your vibes.
- Food Quality – Somewhere with a good variety of healthy and hearty options for any palate. For meetings where drinking will be involved opt for hearty food, but if you are eating out for breakfast, lunch & dinner a salad or sushi roll needs to be incorporated every so often so you can feel as good as your food tastes.
- The Sexy Factor – Proceed with Caution — Sometimes it can be temping to book a table at the hot new restaurant in town so you can wow your guests. This can be a real win, and sometimes you may even get someone to meet with you simply because of your restaurant choice’s appeal. This can also blow up in your face if your restaurant’s menu is too intimidating/specialty. Watch out for brand new places that haven’t totally figured out their menus and service yet.
Even for “foodies” in a food mecca like Grand Rapids the typical problem that occurs when selecting the perfect place for your business pitch is a common one not so uncommon to the business world: analysis paralysis. You think too much, examine all the options (which in GR are plentiful) and before you know if you have blown 30 previously productive minutes on a foo-d-cision.
Since time is the one thing they aren’t making more of, and every meal is something that should be sacred here are our top 5 restaurants for business lunches in Grand Rapids (in no specific order because you can’t go to the same place every day).
- The Greenwell – This gem off of Cherry Street only a 3 minute drive from downtown is usually busy at lunch, but seldom overly packed. You can call ahead if needed as well to ensure there are tables. The menu has a little bit of everything & there is both on street parking as well as a lot behind the restaurant. Prices are moderate. What to order? Start with the breads & spreads and move onto the warm kale salad. Feeling more like a sandwich? Opt for the ever popular smoked brisket sandwich with some truffle fries.
- Downtown Market – An easy 8 minute walk from the bars of Ionia Street the choices here may cause some paralysis. This is the perfect option if you aren’t planning to pay for your guests, or if you don’t know what they like. It is also an especially good option for out of town guests. There is everything from sit down dining with wait service (Slows BBQ, Social Kitchen) and also plenty of fun kiosks with something for everyone- Sushi, Juice Bar, Carver’s Meat, Seafood, Wine/Cheese… list goes on. There is plenty of parking, but be prepared to pay $4 or so if you are inside for an hour. What to order? Munch on the turkey gyro at Social which is served in a pita. End with some treats from SweetieLicious and bring back something for your co-workers.
- Six One Six @ The JW – This is always one of those places that people don’t think to go to, yet it was almost built for business lunches/events. It is almost never too busy, and always quiet enough for a good conversation. Food quality and diversity is great, and in the warmer months you can even sit on the deck with a great view of the river. What to order? For a flavor explosion that won’t break the bank opt for the curried chicken salad wrap on naan bread, with the Parmesan truffle fries of course.
- Terra – Good for breakfast, lunch & dinner – Terra is a god send for farm to table food with appropriate flavor and menu options. Service is always great, and they have tables big enough for big groups. There is even a large outside patio for summer meetings. Parking is hit and miss. They have a parking lot that is currently under construction. What to order? The kale Caesar salad is probably the best salad in the world. It fills you up for the perfect amount of time. In the mood for something more? Try one of their wood fired pizzas.
- Maru – Sushi is the perfect option for lunch during the work day. It is light, packed with flavor & reasonably filling due to the rice. Right across from the aforementioned Greenwell, parking here is easy and they have a reasonably priced lunch menu. For your guests who may not love uncooked cuisine from under the sea don’t worry there are plenty of meat/veggie options as well. What to order? It may seem like a sin to call a roll with bacon, sushi- but the “Big Sexy Bacon” is everything that its name suggests. A little less light and healthy than other options, every calorie in this roll is worth it. Get some green tea to wash it all down.
- Butcher’s Union – At the time of this writing it is one of GR’s newest spots, but so far the 5 trips we have taken have been great. Portion sizes are fair, and a menu with both normal & fun options. Parking can be tough but there is a lot that you can use for a couple bucks (cash) across from O’Tooles.
- Sheshco – If your business meeting is with your staff this Mediterranean restaurant in Knapp’s Corner offers some of the most flavorful food for your money in West MI. The constantly baking fresh pita bread is served to all diners with a side of addictive garlic sauce. Your guests will thank you, unless they have to smell your breath after…
So when you need to be productive at your next business lunch but still want to eat like a king and impress your guests we hope you enjoy some of our most well tested spots for business lunches in Grand Rapids. Whether you need help with your next restaurant decision or with your next mortgage (more of our core specialty) we are always a phone call away. If you love going local for lunch, why not go local for your loan? #LocalLoans
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