The Electric Cheetah
I needed to get J to Grand Rapids with me one day this week. I had a situation where I had two cars in Grand Rapids and needed to get them both back home. J’s schedule makes it a little tough because when she gets home from work, she’s usually pretty tired and doesn’t want to commit to a two hour trip to GR and back. She was feeling wide awake and hungry when she got home from work today, so I offered to go out to lunch, but only if we could go to lunch in Grand Rapids.
I had been holding a place I knew she would like for the next time we went to Grand Rapids for something. She pretty much only wants to go to San Chez when we go north for shows, so I knew I would have to find a time when we weren’t going downtown for something if I was ever going to get her to try something in Easttown.
The restaurant I took her to was The Electric Cheetah on Wealthy Street just to the east of Diamond Avenue. The structure looks more like an office building than a restaurant with it’s contemporary glass front, but the inside of the restaurant looks more like what you expect on Wealthy Street.
When walking through the door, you come to a hostess station which is right next to a bar overlooking the kitchen. If you’re dining alone or just enjoy a show, this a really cool feature.
The dining room takes up the rest of the space. It’s an open floor plan with tables filling the space. The wall hangings are paintings done by local artists.
I was really surprised to see the restaurant so packed at 2:00 on a Tuesday afternoon. That’s not usually a big dining out time and J and I usually eat in empty restaurants when we go out at that time, but The Electric Cheetah was doing pretty good business and the dining room looked more like what I would expect around lunch time instead of that awkward period between lunch and dinner.
We were shown to a table near the windows. The host put down menus and napkin wrapped silverware in front of us and told us a waiter would be right over. J found the chairs to be a little bit uncomfortable but they looked good in the space. I didn’t find them uncomfortable, but they weren’t really comfortable either. There’s not much padding and the rounded metal back could make a person larger than myself feel a bit squeezed.
Our waiter came over right away for drinks. J went with just a glass of water with a lemon wedge while I stuck with Pepsi. A really neat option are the craft root beers. The Electric Cheetah carries twenty five selections including Faygo and the one I grew up with, Dad’s.
We were pretty much ready to order when our drinks came back, but the waiter wasn’t quite ready to take our order. He seemed to have a lot of tables finishing up at once and was trying to get them out before taking our order. I still had about 45 minutes before I had to be to work, but I was starting to get a little nervous.
When he did come back, I strayed from my normal burger and decided to go with the Italian Beef instead. Ordering Italian beef outside of Chicago is usually something I regret, but not this time. The sandwich starts with a crusty that is stuffed with thinly sliced sirloin, grilled peppers, and giardiniera. You get the choice of having the sandwich Reggae, Soused, or The Wet Dog. Um, not really sure what any of that means. I went with the Wet Dog hoping it was the equivalent of “dipped” in Chicago. I was a little concerned about the price of the sandwiches at first, but I was very happy when I got my plate. There was a generous portion of juicy, tender beef and just about as much of the pickled vegetables mix known as giardiniera. I didn’t really notice the grilled peppers anywhere which is fine with me. I love the sweet and spicy taste of the giardiniera. The sandwich wasn’t quite as wet as I like it, but the roll still had the beef gravy taste I love with Italian beef. The sandwich was served with chips which I ate about half of.
J had a really hard time deciding between sandwiches and appetizers. She ultimately settled on the Grilled Cheese Sandwich. That sounds like a pretty boring choice, but this sandwich isn’t quite the average grilled cheese. It’s made with grilled sourdough bread, provolone, cheddar, and goat cheese, Roma tomatoes and caramelized red onions. She left the tomato and onion off and got a grilled cheese that she absolutely loved. The goat cheese made a creamy sandwich extra creamy. Her sandwich also came with chips which she really liked. She liked them so much that she ended up taking home the extra off my plate along with the half of her sandwich that she couldn’t finish.
The reason we had so much left over is because we also decided to split an order of fries. Adding them to the sandwich isn’t an option and a single order is $4. I didn’t want to get two because I didn’t want to pay eight bucks for fries. They have the choice of either sweet potato fries or russet potato fries. I don’t like sweet potatoes so we got the russet. Thing is, the waiter put it in wrong and brought the sweet potato. When we pointed out the mistake he told us to keep them and he’d get the right ones. He said they couldn’t be re-served anyway and would just end up in the garbage. J likes sweet potatoes so she ended up with those in front of her while I took the order of russet potato fries that we ordered.
The fries were freakin’ delicious. The were hand cut and fried to a crispy outside but soft and chewy middle. They served with a plate of different dipping sauces including homemade ketchup, honey aioli, poblano pepper aoili, garlic aoili, and a Parmesan dressing. I’m not a sauce person, but J liked them so much she joked about sticking the whole plate in her purse so she’d have them with the leftover fries we took home.
Our bill was a little over $25. The Electric Cheetah isn’t a cheap lunch, but it is a fantastic meal. It’s a place we could both really get in to. They have a wide array of gourmet sandwiches, but they don’t alienate the meat eaters like me.