Menna’s Joint – Grand Rapids
Quick and tasty. That’s what I’m looking for when I’m looking for something in Grand Rapids on my dinner break. Some nights, I have less than five minutes. Some nights I have an hour and a half. Some nights, I could think I have an hour and it turns in to five minutes. Finding multiple places that do quick and delicious so I’m not eating the same thing over and over is getting harder and harder the longer I work in Grand Rapids.
One place I’ve passed up for no good reason and for quite some time is Menna’s Joint on Ionia Avenue downtown. I’ve always enjoyed the dubs we’ve gotten from Kalamazoo, Lansing and East Lansing so why I keep driving by the Grand Rapids location is still a mystery to me.
The Grand Rapids Menna’s Joint opened in 2013 in the ground floor space of the Weston Apartments. Prior to Menna’s moving in, the street level space was office space, so Menna’s Joint moving in changed the use of the building and made it fit in with the nightlife that lines this section of Ionia Avenue.
Parking was a little harder than I thought it was going to be on a Tuesday night. There was no street parking available, so I pulled into the lot across the street and just paid the $5. That’s really about the only option downtown even if you’re just picking up a dub to go like I was.
The restaurant space is much larger than I anticipated. The order counter/kitchen is along the back of the space and separated from a decent size dining room for a place that does a lot of carry-out with a half wall divider. It kind of has a lunch line feeling to it. You’re not picking up a tray and moving down a line, but you do order at one end then move down the hallway towards the pick up window. Along the way, you can peek into the kitchen and watch the wraps being made.
I don’t really have a “usual” order at Menna’s like I do at most restaurants. There’s never one that’s a “gotta have” for me but I’ve liked every one I’ve ever tried. I noticed on the menu board a sheet of paper with a hand written dub and the words “sold only in Grand Rapids.” It sounded good so I gave it a try.
The dub was called Chick-N-Stix. The burrito like dub is filled with mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce, grilled chicken, two fried mozzarella sticks, and pepperoni. All of that is wrapped in a flour tortilla then grilled. I also added a medium order of Menna’s Loaded Fries to bring the total cost to a little under $12.
I waited about ten minutes for my food to be made and packed up. I headed back to my workstation and unrolled the tightly rolled dub. One bite into this thing and I wanted more. If this dub was sold at all the Menna’s, it would not only be my “go-to” but it would actually make me eat at Menna’s more often. It tasted like a whole delicious meal of chicken and deep fried mozzarella sticks in every bite and the pepperoni actually made the sandwich pretty spicy. I was a little shocked at how much pepperoni was in the dub and how much it affected (in a good way) the flavor of the wrap.
I almost didn’t order Menna’s Loaded Fries just because they haven’t been my favorite potatoes in the past. Instead of deep fried french fries, Menna’s does deep fried, skin-on, cubed red potatoes. The last few times I’ve had them, they’ve been undercooked and very “potato-y” tasting. I gave them another shot because I was hungry and figured the bacon and cheese on the loaded fries would mask the raw potato flavor if that happened again.
Turns out, the bacon and cheese was just an added bonus. The potatoes were cooked to a nice golden brown color and they were cooked all the way through. Looking at the container, it’s a little hard to make out just what you’re looking at. For comparison, here’s Menna’s Fries from a visit that I didn’t really enjoy them.
And here’s the ones I got from Grand Rapids. Some people would say they were over cooked, but this is how I like potatoes. I like that crispness and a potato that’s cooked all the way through.
Menna’s Joint in Grand Rapids is probably the best experience I’ve had with a Menna’s Joint restaurant. The dub was fantastic. I’ve been thinking about it for a week now planning a return visit and hoping it will still be on the menu and the fries were the best I’ve had from the chain.