I’ve mentioned in the past I don’t get to Grand Rapids very often on my days off. I drive that route enough during the work week, driving it again on my weekends just seems like torture.
This past weekend, my company entered a softball tournament out in Plainfield Township. Working nights, I never get to play on the company team, so when the opportunity came up to play on a Saturday, I jumped at the chance.
J decided she and the kids would come with me and after softball, we’d pick up lunch and do some shopping. Since I don’t like to go to Grand Rapids much on my days off, she almost never gets a chance to hang out in the city.
We were eliminated pretty quickly from the tournament. I had to head in to the office real quick and drop something off, so we did that immediately after the game then headed to lunch. J asked if there was any place nearby I’ve been wanting to go to and, of course, there was.
Harmony Brewing Company set up shop in Eastown in early 2012. At that time, the single taproom was simply known as Harmony Brewing Company. Last year, Harmony opened Harmony Hall in the old Little Mexico building on the west side. They renamed the original building Harmony Eastown to differentiate between the two spaces.
Harmony Eastown sits on Lake Drive just to the south of the five point intersection with Wealthy and Norwood. Harmony took over an abandoned, dilapidated building from the 1920’s that used to be Jack’s Liquor Store and turned it into something the neighborhood can be proud of.
Parking is kind of an issue for the small cafe/brew pub. By issue, I mean, there really isn’t any. Street parking is somewhat available in the surrounding area and they’ve worked out a deal with the CVS across the street to use some of their spaces. The closest parking is the Subway next door…but that isn’t an option. They will tow if they see you park and go in to Harmony.
We got somewhat lucky and found a spot on the street next to the BP station that was a fairly short walk. I didn’t know the CVS was an option until we got to the door.
The building does not look big from the outside and J was a little concerned about getting a table. There’s a patio on the sidewalk along Lake Street that looked pretty full and when you walk in, there’s a few tables and a couple of booths around the small bar. All of those looked full, so we waited for a hostess thinking we were going to have to find another place to eat. But, hidden behind the ball is an upstairs area with about a dozen tables and only one of them was being used at the time.
The hostess told us to pick a table upstairs so J picked the one right next to the stairs. Cool story on the stairs. According to an old Mlive/Grand Rapids press article, the hardwood from the stairs is from an old basketball court at Western Michigan University.
The menus were given to us on clipboards which was accompanied by a lunch menu featuring flatbread sandwiches and a specials menu with a pizza and a sangria. The space upstairs is kind of dark. There’s not much lighting and little natural light coming through. L commented on it, but I don’t think J or I really noticed. Without kids, it gives the space an intimate feel. I forget what that feels like sometimes.
I didn’t ask if they did flights and I didn’t see anything on the menu or on the chalkboard that hangs near the bar when we walked in. We had other plans for the rest of the day and I didn’t want to feel too full and miserable, so I stuck with a pint to go with my lunch.
I stuck with the IPA and chose Fiddlestix. This delicious, citrus-y, hoppy IPA is made 100% with hops grown at Hopyards of Kent located outside of Greenville. I’ve seen it described as a sessionable beer for the people that like hoppy IPA’s. It was a well-balance American IPA with a light, crisp finish.
J asked if there was anything on the tap list she would I like. I told her to look at the specials menu. She ordered the Summer Sangria. The much smaller than I thought it would be glass was a concoction of pineapple juice, hard cider, whiskey, fresh citrus, and sweet red wine. She said it was delicious, but she was done with the glass before our food arrived. She ended up just drinking water with her meal because at $8 a glass, she was only going to drink one.
For the most part, Harmony Eastown’s menu is appetizers and pizzas. It’s a little bit different during the day and to my surprise, the lunch menu even included Saturday. I was happy to see that. The pizzas looked amazing, but I knew J was going to get one, so I wanted to try one of their lunch flat breads.
I ordered the Cuban flatbread. I cannot even begin to describe how delicious this was. The bread was very thin and very crispy. Between the two slices was house made pulled pork, shaved ham, mustard, pickle slices and Swiss cheese. Everything about this sandwich was perfect. The bread was so crispy from the wood fired oven, but it wasn’t tough. The pork was juicy and tender. The mustard was tangy, but not hot. The pickle slices were sweet, but not overbearing. Really, it’s as close as you can get to a perfect sandwich.
The sandwich comes with chips and a pickle. The chips tasted to me like Kettle Brand Salt and Pepper Chips, but I don’t know that for sure. They were definitely not house made though, but a good compliment to the sandwich.
J had a hard time deciding on a pizza eventually selecting The Herbert. My guess is she did this knowing I wouldn’t try to help her eat any of it. 🙂 Anyway, this wood fired pizza is topped with a balsamic and oregano base, prosciutto, and then fresh spinach and goat cheese. J was a little hesitant on the prosciutto. I don’t think she’s ever had it cooked, but could not pass up goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. That’s, by far, one of her favorite combinations on pizza. The spinach was piled on top of the pie and I couldn’t tell if it was cooked with the pizza or added after it came out. It was slightly warm and wilted a little bit so I’m assuming it was in the oven for at least part of the time. The pizzas are all 12″…the perfect size for one person. She started to take some of it home, but just couldn’t do it. This was a pizza that had to be eaten.
One of the few foods L will still eat for us at restaurants is pizza. She asks for it constantly and this time, she had no choice. We were just going to order her a 12″ pepperoni pizza, but the waiter mentioned there was a kids size, so we did that instead. It looks like probably a 6″ pizza cooked in the same wood fired oven. L ate almost two of the four slices of her pizza. She gave me the last little bit of the second so I could have a taste. It was actually damn good and I almost wanted to order a whole pizza to take home with us. The sauce is layered on pretty thick and it’s got a sweetness to it that is perfect with the woody taste from the grill.
Our bill for lunch was about $45. J remarked that seemed a little high, but it did include 2 drinks and the food is all scratch made, so there’s no doubt you get what you pay for.
Harmony Eastown was everything I had hoped it would be. I’ve been tempted to order dinner from there on several occasions, but I really wanted to wait until I could have the whole experience. The space is small and intimate and the food is fresh and delicious. I need to try a lot more of their beer, but I hear Harmony Hall is the place to do that. I really enjoyed the one I did have, but I know they’re hiding something from me too.