March 1, 2019

Please pass the kidney pie!


In what I think may be my penultimate blog post for StokerCon™ 2019, I want to cover what may be the penultimate topic of importance at any convention.

Where the hell do I find some dinner?

The convention venue, the historic Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, contains three upscale dining options: Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, and Cygnus 27. If you like wine, and I mean you really like wine, Rendezvous is worth a visit. A bit less…pricey… is the GP Sports Bar, which serves your typical bar food. All fine establishments and worthy of your patronage.

Away from the hotel, you will find a plethora of dining options. Some of my favorites are listed below:

Bull’s Head Tavern: located across the street from the hotel, Bull’s Head is a mid-scale dining experience with an assortment of appetizers, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees. Most burgers/sandwiches cost $10.50. Throw in a beer and you can get out of there for under $20. Visit to learn more about Bull’s Head Tavern.

ROAM: a short walk from the hotel, ROAM is owned by one of my favorite Grand Rapids eateries: San Chez Bistro. As you may be able to tell from the name, ROAM offers food for the adventurous, fare (both meat-based and vegetarian) from different parts of the world. Try the bibimbap from South Korea (jasmine rice piled with a sunny side egg, cucumber, carrot, fern brake, bean sprouts, and kimchi) or Kati rolls from India (spiced ground lamb, egg, avocado, pickled red onions, cumin mayo rolled in toasted paratha breads) or go for broke at order the beef heart tacos (two paratha tacos filled with braised beef heart and curtido slaw and topped with cotija cheese and cilantro). You can learn more about ROAM here:

San Chez Bistro: Since I’ve mentioned it above and in a previous blog post about breakfast destinations, San Chez is one of Grand Rapids’ top dinner spots. (I’d call and inquire about reservations.) From its website, San Chez “offers a blend of authentic European, Mediterranean, and Latin American cuisine in a fun, laid-back, and artful atmosphere.” The big attraction for San Chez is its tapas menu. When I visit, I like to sit on the patio in the rear (not much of a view, though) and sample different small plates. They also offer paella for larger appetites. The food here is top-shelf and well worth the five-minute walk to get there. Do yourself a favor and check them out at:

Z’s Fine Foods and Good Spirits: Also located across the street from the hotel, Z’s is a fixture in Grand Rapids. The menu is far-reaching. The drinks are excellent. They have Karaoke Wednesday and Thursday nights. Their ribs are award winning. And they are open until 2am! If you get the late-night munchies, this is your spot. Z’s also has a small party store located down some stairs around the corner from the front door where you can buy beer and wine. See what Z’s has to offer at:

These are just a few of the dining destination surrounding the hotel. The city’s convention organization, Experience Grand Rapids, will have a kiosk across from the registration desk with a dining guide for each attendee. Look through it. Go out and explore.

But most of all, have fun.

See you in Grand Rapids!