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Kelvin & Co. Urban BBQ (Grand Rapids)

April 17, 2019

  • 1450 Wealthy Street SE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49506
  • (616) 535-8467
  • Website
  • Menu

I was pretty bummed when Kelvin & Co. close their downtown Kalamazoo location in the midst of last summer’s construction season.  I get it.  The whole point of running a business is to make money and if that’s not  happening, it’s time to close.

The Oshtemo location is still around not only is it closer to where I live but they also offer UberEats…so yeah, I still get my BBQ fix.

This past week, I was in Grand Rapids for work.  It was dinner time and I was near Eastown.  I was trying to think of what I could grab quickly when I remembered Kelvin & Co was adding a location in that area.  I had no idea if they were open or not until I did a quick Google search and found that they were.

Kelvin & Co Urban BBQ Wealthy Street & Ethel Avenue in Grand Rapids’ Eastown Neighborhood.  The building is pretty familiar to me.  It used to be an Italian beef place called Big Willy’s.  I ate there almost every time I went to Grand Rapids after the place opened.

The restaurant has undergone some cosmetic changes but the layout of the shop remains pretty much the same.  The floors have been redone with a grey wood, the walls have been painted, and the coolers that took up one wall from this building’s time as a convenience store have been eliminated.

The kitchen and order counter are still the same as they were for Big Willy’s.  The kitchen is closed in with a half wall that can also work as a counter for servers even though ordering is done at a cash register near the front of the kitchen space

I kept my order simple by ordering a 1/2 pound of brisket and an order of fries.  The cost was a little over $13.  The food was bagged up and handed to me in less than five minutes.  Before leaving, I stopped at a table and grabbed some sauce.  They have an impressive seven sauces on each table.  I grabbed the sweet sauce and squirted it all over my fries.

I got back to the office before I even tried to eat anything out of the box of amazing smelling food.  I went with the fries first because they looked so damn good.  They’re fresh cut, skin-on fries that have are soft and limp but have a crunchy exterior.  They’re covered in a generous coating of seasoning salt and pepper.  I like to dip these fries in BBQ sauce and like I mentioned earlier, I picked their sweet sauce which is just a little sweet, a little smokey, and a little spicy.

The 1/2 lb of brisket was wrapped in it’s own little foil packet to keep it warm while in transport.  It was two big, thick slices of the brisket as well as a couple of smaller pieces to round it out to about a half of a pound.  The meat was very tender and juicy.  It didn’t have the great color you expect with smoked meat but the flavor was right on point.  Despite looking like it might have been overcooked, it was super tender and just fell apart in my mouth.

I still enjoy Kelvin & Co today as much as I did the first time.  A co-worker of mine likes to call places like this “Yankee BBQ.”  It’s done in the style of traditional southern BBQ but it’s done with organic and grass fed meats.  I have never had a meal from Kelvin that I didn’t love and while this location isn’t as walkable (if I’m working out of our Grand Rapids office) as the old downtown Kalamazoo location was, it’s still close enough that I will visit this place many, many more times.

 

 

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