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Black Napkin

May 9, 2023

  • 966 Fulton Street East
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 
  • Website
  • Menu

Like I said, I spent a few days in Grand Rapids while my Kalamazoo colleague was on vacation.

I had a pretty easy day on Friday. I didn’t really leave the office. Since I was stuck inside all day, I wanted to get out for lunch. I did my usual Google searching to see what’s new and instantly found something right up my alley.


I had just had a pretty amazing burger the previous day when I was in Muskegon. I finally got to try Hamburger Mikey which has been on my list for years. I can never have to many burgers though, so Friday was going to be a burger day.

My lunch pick was Black Napkin.

The takeout restaurant is on the corner of Fulton and Diamond in Grand Rapid’s East Hills Neighborhood. The building used to be a very unassuming pizza joint called Rinaldi’s Pizza & Subs. Black Napkin upped the art game on the outside to make it stand out on this fairly busy corner.

The restaurant is mostly take out. I could have actually ordered online. The owners told MiBiz when they opened in 2021 that was kind of the idea. Dining has shifted since the pandemic and more people are doing the grab and go. I’ve always done that and I always appreciate new counter service places to keep me on my toes.

There is a little bit of dine in space inside the small building but it appeared to be mostly used for waiting for food. I got there right at 11:30 when they opened and a line formed pretty quickly. We all kind of did the musical chairs things so groups could sit together while they waited.

The menu is simple…like it should be for places like this. They do hamburgers, fried chicken sandwiches, fries, house made soda (their words…not mine. We all know it’s pop), and Any Colour You Like popsicles which is owned by the same people who operate Black Napkin.

I kept things simple ordering a Double Classic and Crusty Dust Fries with the Smoked Serrano Chile and Cheddar Cheese dust. I passed on the drink just because their pops….er…sodas were too fancy for me. I love a good craft cola but I was just feeling a Pepsi that day. I regret that decision.

It took about ten minutes for my name to be called and I headed back to the office to eat.

I started with the fries. The Crusty Dust fries are cooked with a thick, heavy freeze dried dust. I picked the Serrano Chile and Cheddar Cheese dust. There was a little heat but a lot of cheese. This wasn’t like a sprinkling, it was full on Cheeto dust like substance on the fries. It stuck to everything including my fingers. The fries were average on their own but the the dust made them really unique and quite tasty.

The Classic burger comes topped with lettuce, tomatoses pickles, American cheese, ketchup and mustard. You can choose from a single, double, or triple patty. I stuck to the double which was more than enough burger. The sandwich was heavenly. The meat was fall apart tender and still incredibly juice. The American cheese melted in to all of the crevices to hold it together. I could have done without the ketchup and mustard but it was fine on the burger. I’m not a sauce guy but I’ve been trying really hard to eat food as it was intended and get over some of my hang-ups.

The cost of the meal was about $17.

When I sat down with the bag, I immediately had a couple of co-workers complain about the price. This is something I don’t get and tend to argue about with my dad moreso than younger co-workers. If you want to pay McDonald’s prices (which my dad thinks is too high) then go to McDonalds. I don’t think paying $17 for a fresh, high quality meal is really all that bad. I’d much prefer to pay more for a quality meal than go cheap and feel like I’m just eating because I have to eat and McDonalds is the only thing around.

I liked Black Napkin a lot. Next time I will have to try the pop (I’m not saying soda). The fries were interesting but also really good. The burger was one of my favorites. I like places that take simple and make it great. That’s what Black Napkin does.

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