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Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar (Grand Rapids)

January 2, 2023

  • 140 Ottawa Avenue NW, Suite 100
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 239-7158
  • Website
  • Menu

Shhh. Don’t actually tell anybody but I get kinda bored when I have too much time off work. For the first time in several years, I had a whole week off plus the weekends.

J had been off since the Friday before Christmas. I had been off since Christmas Eve. She had to go back to the office on Wednesday while I still had time off until Sunday. Our days off weren’t together so we really couldn’t travel or do anything since so much of our time off was taken up by holidays.

I needed to get out of the house. I needed to do something other than going to Wings West for an open skate…which we did a lot of over Winter Break.

I first asked J if we could go to Grand Rapids for the Great Lakes Invitational final between Ferris State and Western Michigan. She said yes but the kids kind of threw a fit. They’re not really sports people only want to go to games if there is going to be a ton of concession food. I would have enjoyed the game but not the constant badgering for more food so I reluctantly pulled back on that request.

My second idea still involved going to Grand Rapids but it involved ice skating. I proposed going to Rosa Parks Circle to skate. I’ve always wanted to go at night with the lights on and it was a decent night weather wise so I didn’t think I’d get much push back.

Rose Parks Circle was really cool to skate at night. It was pretty packed and my kids are kind of show offs so I spent most of the evening reminding them to control themselves because there was a lot of people there and a lot of new skaters. They pulled back and had a lot of fun. Both of them loved skating outdoors and it’s such a cool spot.

We skated for about an hour then called it a night. L asked if we were going to eat somewhere. She was hungry. I had a couple of ideas if they wanted to sit down for a meal and no one objected. If we were going to make a night of going to Grand Rapids, let’s make a night of it.

We walked about a little over a block to find Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar. J was excited because she stayed in the Hyatt Place Hotel it’s part of when she was in Grand Rapids this summer but never got a chance to go down for a meal.

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar is a chain of scratch made southern foods with restaurants in 14 states. The original Tupelo Honey Cafe is in downtown Asheville, NC. The Grand Rapids location on Ottawa Avenue Northwest and Pearl Street Northwest inside the Hyatt Place is the only Michigan location.

We walked in to the restaurant about 7:00 on a Wednesday night. The first thing the hostess said….”Do you have a reservation?” Ugh, no. It’s Wednesday night and this was kind of a spur of the moment thing.

I thought we were going to be turned away but she told us to hang out by the bar and she should have a table in ten minutes or so.

The kids were being good so we stayed. It really was only about five minutes before we were taken to a table near the back of the dining room.

The restaurant is a little bigger than it looks initially. There are three dining spaces that feel kind of enclosed by support beams and decorative structures. Tables are packed in kind of tightly and there’s even in infamous shared booth along the window that looks out on to Ottawa Avenue.

The furniture is pretty bright with lighter wood tables and chairs painted white. The high ceilings, light wood floor and use of lighter blues give a brighter feel to the space. The space was decorated with stockings and tinsel since we were there right after Christmas.

The bar is right inside the door. It also makes use of lighter colors and bright white hanging bulb lamps to give the area a much more inviting, homey feeling.

We were all pretty thirsty when we sat down. The kids asked for lemonades and chugged them right away. The poor waitress barely left our table before she was coming back with refills.

I picked a beer from a list which was kind of hard to find. They had a QR code but my phone wasn’t getting great service. It eventually loaded and I ordered the Ri-Fye IPA from Ludington Bay Brewing Company. The waitress came back and sadi they didn’t have it but when the bartender brought it over, she said it was the Ri-Fye so I have to think it was.

J noticed an advertisement for bottomless mimosas but they were only for the simple, basic mimosa…which isn’t what J wanted. She ordered the Blueberry Lavendar Mimosa and was happy with just one. The drink is made with lavender lemonade and a blueberry puree.

The menu at Tupelo Honey is very chicken and waffles. I was very tempted to order a half fried chicken. I have to imagine the fried chicken from an upscale places that specializes in fried chicken would have to be divine. I didn’t do that thought. I ordered the Asheville Hot Chicken and Ranch Melt with a side of Extra Crispy French Fries.

Starting with the sandwich, it was nowhere near as hot as I assumed it would be. In fact, I didn’t really get any heat from it at all. The chicken was delicious though. It was crispy and juicy. The breading was amazing. Really makes me wish I went with the fried chicken meal. In addition to the chicken, the sandwich is white cheddar cheese, house made pickles and a garlic buttermilk ranch sauce. The sandwich is served on toasted Texas Toast. A solid overall sandwich but I was really thinking the hot chicken would have a lot more hot to it.

The fries were extra crispy..just like the menu said they would be. Not much to them. A pretty standard fry but a good fry none the less. There was a cup of ketchup served with them but I’m not a ketchup guy.

J went the chicken and waffles route by ordering the Classic Chicken & Waffles. She’s not a dark meat person so she subbed two breasts for the two thighs which was an upcharge of $4.50. She made the right choice. The two pieces of chicken were huge. She immediately moved one off the plate knowing she wasn’t going to eat both. We were either taking the second piece home or I was going to eat it (spoiler alert..it was me). The chicken was so tender and so juicy. It had that delicious crispy breading on the outside. The plate also came with two big fluffy waffles, butter, powdered sugar, and syrup. J said there was way more food on the plate than she could eat but loved it. It’s a simple, classic chicken and waffles plate but it was really delicious.

The kids love breakfast food so they were super excited to see waffles on the kids menu. Each got a kids waffle and a side of bacon…and both kids cleaned their plates. There were two waffles and two slices of bacon (the bacon was an extra $2.50) on each plate. We always joke that when we eat out, breakfast is the only meal the kids will actually eat so breakfast for dinner was a huge hit. There were no arguments. No “one more bites.” Just both kids devouring waffles.

The cost of the meal was right under $80 before tip but that includes a drink for both J and I.

Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen & Bar is a fantastic place. There’s something to be said about waffles for dinner. My sandwich was good but I think there’s more on the menu that would be better.

This trip to Grand Rapids was probably the highlight of our Winter Break (outside of Christmas with family). The kids had a blast ice skating then this turned in to the most enjoyable meal we’ve had out together in a while. Everybody loved their choices.

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