Cranker’s Restaurant & Brewery
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine from work was finally lucky enough to get the hell out. He had found a new job with better pay and better hours…the dream for most people that work in my business.
His going away party was last Friday night at Buffalo Wild Wings in downtown Grand Rapids. J and i decided we were just going to make a day trip out of it and reserved a room at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Grand Rapids South on 68th Street. This particular Holiday Inn has a pretty nice pool area with a splash park and a zero-depth pool for the kids. L loves to swim and since we were planning on going to Grand Rapids anyway, why not make a night out of it with something we all could enjoy.
Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate. The big pile-up on I-94 had just happened and every time we left the house that day, we couldn’t see much of US 131 from the Stadium Drive bridge. We had to cancel our plans.
The hotel actually has a 48 hour cancellation policy, but after a call to the corporate office, they finally agreed to let us reschedule. That was fine because we still wanted to go. The only downside is that we missed the party.
To make up for it, I asked my friend if he and his girlfriend would want to meet for dinner Friday night after they got off work. They were both game and I picked a place pretty close to our hotel so we would have maximum swim time.
Cranker’s Restaurant & Brewery has been in the unincorporated community of Cutlerville for sometime although up until pretty recently, it was known as Cranker’s Coney Island. Once the original restaurant in Big Rapids started brewing beer, they decided to take advantage of Grand Rapid’s status of Beer City USA and turn the Grand Rapids Cranker’s into more of a traditional restaurant instead of the breakfast heavy Coney Island place.
Cranker’s is just east of US-131 on 68th Street. The small restaurant finds room for a bar and a decent sized dining room. We pulled in to the parking lot at almost the same time as our friends, so we just waited an all went in together.
We had a party of five so they showed us to the big corner booth in the back of the dining room. I immediately grabbed the draft list while everyone else ordered Coke’s. My first beer was the Propaganda Red IPA. As our dinner was coming out, I switched it up and ordered a Fifth Voayage Coconut Porter. Both were good beers and something I haven’t been able to order in the past. I did like the Propaganda a little bit better, but I tend to like hoppy IPA’s, so that’s not much of a surprise.
All five us went with something different for dinner. My friends started things off with an order of Cranker’s Famous Lager Rings. These HUGE onion rings are coasted with a lager batter and deep fried to a nice golden brown. J and I were both offered one, but neither of us like onions so we passed. We were told they were quite delicious.
I stuck to the small burger menu when it came time to order. My choice was the Pulled Pork Burger. The 1/3 lb Angus beef burger is topped with house smoked pulled pork and cheddar cheese. The bun options are either pretzel or potato. I chose pretzel because I like a real hearty bun…especially on such a messy sandwich. The pork had a thick, sweet BBQ sauce on it and it was piled high on the bun. The sandwich was delicious. Is there anyway that pulled pork and a burger can’t be? For my side, I chose the french fries. Nothing special here except a generous portion of fried potatoes.
J scanned up to the BBQ menu and selected the Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich. She also chose the pretzel bun which came with the same pulled pork that was on my burger. Her sandwich also came with fresh cole slaw. For her side, she chose the Parmesan Fries off the appetizer menu. These came with a two dollar upcharge, but so worth it. The fries are topped with garlic oil, Parmesan cheese, and fresh herbs.
L picked the Chicken Strips and Fries from the kids menu. The meal only comes with two chicken strips, but that turned out to be just right for L. She ate them up with a little ketchup and even put a pretty good dent in her fries before I finished them off.
As for my friends, he ordered the BBQ Beef Brisket which looked amazing. The BBQ is all smoked in house and comes with the choice of two sides. She ordered the Cranker’s Classic Burger adding on cheese. Both were genuinely happy with their meals and both complimented me on finding such a good restaurant as we walked out.
We got separate bills, so I actually don’t have a total for the entire table of food, but the bill for my family was $37 which included two beers.
I never ate at the place when it was a Coney Island, but J had stopped there a couple times for breakfast. She always said ti was just ok and was a little worried when I told her that was where we were meeting for dinner. After the meal, she had a totally different opinion of the place. The atmosphere is a little weird. It still sort of has the breakfast joint feel to it. You can definitely tell it’s a converted Coney Island, but I like any place that serves their own beer and my the meal was pretty good too. Cranker’s Restaurant & Brewery isn’t the most popular brewery in the Grand Rapids area, but it’s one that shouldn’t be overlooked either.