Brann’s Steakhouse & Grille – Leonard St.
After a day at the zoo, we decided to eat in Grand Rapids before heading home to Kalamazoo. I wanted something safe for my family, but didn’t want a chain store.
I had considered taking them to Brann’s back home in Portage. Since Brann’s actually got it’s start in Grand Rapids, I knew there were a couple locations there I could take them.
I’ve seen the Brann’s on Leonard Street just off US-131 in Grand Rapids many times. You can see it from the southbound lanes of the Interstate and it doesn’t look like your typical chain restaurant. It actually looks like a neighborhood place, so that’s the one I chose.
The building is divided up into a bar area, a dining room, and a party room. Brann’s started out as a local steakhouse in the 1960′s. Over the years, they’ve slowly expanded in West Michigan and, recently, to the Eastern part of the state. The stores have all been standardized so they have a chain feel. This restaurant on Leonard Street still has the feeling of a local joint.
My 18-month-old niece was fast asleep in her stroller when we walked in, so when the hostess at the door asked where we’d like to sit, we said any place we could just put her in a corner and try to keep her out of the way. She said the dining room was pretty full and asked if we’d be ok in the bar. I was fine with that since the smoking ban has been passed.
We were taken to a table in the back corner of the bar. The hostess had pushed two tables together for us and since it was in the corner, we were able to push the stroller in there and keep it out of the way.
The menus were already on the table along with a drink menu. There was also a pretty cool feature on each one of the tables. There’s a button that you can push that will get a waitress’ attention.
Our waitress didn’t see us walk in. She thought we were heading back to the party room. A different waitress on her way to the party room saw us sitting there and went and got the lady who was taking care of us.
When it came to drinks, J and my sister-in-law both got a Spotted Bull Lemonade. The cool thing about these drinks was that you could get a different flavor on each refill and they were served in a unique, fun glass. The rest of us got pop. I got a Pepsi. My brother and mom got Diets, and my dad got a Mountain Dew.
The menu is pretty large and has something for everyone. It really looks like a chain restaurant menu. There’s a huge variety of sandwiches, entrees, salads, appetizers and burgers.
I ordered the Hickory Smoked Bacon and Cheddar burger. The sandwich is a 1/2 lb burger served on a grilled bun with bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and salad dressing. Lucky for me, the waitress asked if I wanted everything on it including the salad dressing. I totally glanced over that on the menu. I didn’t want the dressing and was able to keep that off. I asked for the burger to be done medium, but it was more well-done. It was just a little dry. The sandwich was fine, but nothing spectacular from my point of view. The fries that came with the sandwich are pretty good. They a specially seasoned with a salt mixture.
My brother also got a burger. He ordered the Cajun Bleu Burger which is a 1/2 lb Cajun seasoned patty with bleu cheese, salad dressing, lettuce, tomato, and onion. He also ordered his medium and never said whether it was over done or not. In fact, he called it one of the best bleu cheese burgers he’s ever had.
J ordered the Asiago Turkey Bacon Sandwich. This very interesting sandwich came on a grilled Asiago cheese roll that is stuffed with turkey, pepper jack cheese, bacon and Chipotle mayo. She really liked it and said it was delicious. It was a little bit smaller than she expected to be, but that turned out ok. Between the fries and the sandwich, she had more than enough to eat.
My sister-in-law ordered the 1 lb rack of ribs. She’s a big fan of ribs and orders them most of the time when we go out to eat. The ribs are served already taken apart and they were very tender. The ribs are roasted then slathered in a sweet BBQ sauce which both she and my brother liked. She got the basket which also came with fries, so my brother ended up with a couple rib bones which he gladly consumed.
My dad, as usual, ordered the 1/2 lb patty melt. The grilled, seasoned burger comes topped with Swiss cheese, grilled onions, green onions and Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye bread. The best thing my dad can say about any meal is nothing. Usually if he doesn’t say anything, that means he enjoyed it. This was one of those times.
My mom ordered a soup and salad. She was sitting at the far end of the table, so I have no idea which soup or which salad, but she said as we were leaving that she really liked both.
Our bill was around $60 and just as we were finishing up, my niece decided to wake up. Good timing. Brann’s worked out great for my family. It’s always hard to please a group and especially a group that has a lot of somewhat picky eaters. A restaurant like Brann’s is perfect. When I explained the place to my brother, I called it a “local Applebees.” I would still call that a pretty fair comparison. The Brann’s concept is something that could easily be franchised and they would be very successful if they do so.