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Old 03-04-2010, 09:30 AM
 
25 posts, read 57,052 times
Reputation: 20

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Mochachick, you're pretty much spot on.
-I wish there were more cool boutiques downtown but they have a hard time keeping businesses down there. The downtown isn't very sexy aside from the area around Van Andel but that's on it's way to becoming a really sweet area. GR is starting a pretty extensive marketing plan to get more retail in.
-Ethnic food. Not much but a couple good ones...Jamaican Dave's, GoJo's and Little Africa are both good Ethiopian spots, and there are some good Indian places. If you have any suggestions on Korean let me know.
-That's funny what you said about yelp and the insularness that's so true. When people travel they don't really go to that many places, let's see, Florida for spring break, Chicago, within Michigan up north, Cedar Point. Not many people make it out west but it sucks that when they do they usually don't come back. I feel like MI exports a lot of cool people to CA, OR and WA.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:34 AM
 
25 posts, read 57,052 times
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By the way i'll also add that i'll probably leave here too within the year and move back out to CA. I've still got some 20's left in me and I feel like that's a great place to spend those years, but no worries, when i'm older I think i'll fall into that crowd of people that come back here to raise kids.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:17 PM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,657 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunder14 View Post
Mochachick, you're pretty much spot on.
-I wish there were more cool boutiques downtown but they have a hard time keeping businesses down there. The downtown isn't very sexy aside from the area around Van Andel but that's on it's way to becoming a really sweet area. GR is starting a pretty extensive marketing plan to get more retail in.
-Ethnic food. Not much but a couple good ones...Jamaican Dave's, GoJo's and Little Africa are both good Ethiopian spots, and there are some good Indian places. If you have any suggestions on Korean let me know.
-That's funny what you said about yelp and the insularness that's so true. When people travel they don't really go to that many places, let's see, Florida for spring break, Chicago, within Michigan up north, Cedar Point. Not many people make it out west but it sucks that when they do they usually don't come back. I feel like MI exports a lot of cool people to CA, OR and WA.
I've had sushi at Shogun on Breton at 28th St. before.
They advertise as Korean but I've never tried it.
That might be a spot worth checking. Their sushi is good enough to warrant a visit either way.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:56 PM
 
25 posts, read 61,731 times
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Shogun has insanly good chicken bolgogi. Go try that!
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Old 03-04-2010, 08:09 PM
 
1,426 posts, read 2,655,912 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mochachick View Post
Cons:
  • Shopping - I'm not a big shopper, but there's a huge lack of independent and unique stores here. The only organic grocery around here shut down a few months ago. There is however an awesome farmer's market that operates 8 months/year. I drive to Chicago once a season to shop for clothes.
  • Entertainment - I'm married with kids, so am not into the night-life scene - but don't see a hopping night life when I'm downtown on the weekends. They do have quite a bit of theater for the size of the town, but nothing really 'cutting edge'. Big outside acts do come to town and smaller events like local Griffins games are actuallly quite fun to attend. Overall though, the town seems very boring on weekends for young people.
  • Coffee - I've yet to find a decent coffee shop with west coast-style (bold) coffee. I really miss this.
  • Ethnic food - Same as above - still searching for good Asian/Korean/etc food.
  • Downtown GR - needs revitalization. Many stores are boarded up and there is a lack of people in the streets shopping and dining out. Many restaurants (and stores) are closed on Sunday.
  • Insularness - I agree with the previous poster about the insularness of the people here. Many are not worldly and seem to feel travelling even to Chicago is a big event. Not that anything is necessarily wrong with this, but I just feel I'm starting to become 'behind' and am losing out on the latest trends/etc in the world because of the lack of diversity of people here.
  • Technology - GR is totally behind the times with technology. Very few local companies have websites, very few people use 'Yelp', etc. I feel like I've stepped back 10 years in terms of IT when I moved here.
Doesn't sound like you get downtown much but it's very alive and active. For dining try Rockwell/Republic, Bistro Bella Vita, and a few microbrews over at Founders for starters. Nearby in Easttown check out Winchester on Wealthy, Electric Cheetah, and The Green Well. Last weekend was nuts ... not only were 5000 on hand for the beer festival, you had nosh night, the ski jump at the Bob, Tim McGraw and John Mayer. There's stuff *always* going on.

Try this for starters to keep you abreast: Downtown Alliance (DowntownGR) on Twitter, Grand Rapids Night (GRNightOut) on Twitter

Coffee: Madcap Coffee, fast becoming *the place* for coffee drinkers. Right now they're featuring some terrific Brazilian blends if you like the bold side. Many other choices however. Ferris Coffee is a good runner up.

Chinese/Asian/Thai suggestions: XO Asian Cuisine, Angel's Thai Cafe, Sushi Yama, Wei Wei Palace, Ming Ten.

Good restaurant reference: Grand Rapids Grub | Food Reviews, Restaurants, West Michigan, Dining, GR Grub

Not sure where you get where GR is behind tech wise. Nearly *every* business I know in the area has a web site, wi-fi is quite prevalent, and many I've talked with are quite tech savvy. A big college influence in the area helps. Of course any city without Microsoft as a major employer might seem a bit behind short of Silicon Valley or Mountain View.

The 'insular' nature of people is a tough one to quantify. Downtown is getting pretty diverse but it's certainly plain vanilla in the 'burbs' which sounds like where you're coming from. True to a lesser extend in Seattle .. lived there a while too. Personally I found it didn't hold a candle to Vancouver however
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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Insular also means a lot of the moronic crap that goes on in the mainland has no place here.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:12 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,657 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by actinic View Post
Doesn't sound like you get downtown much but it's very alive and active. For dining try Rockwell/Republic, Bistro Bella Vita, and a few microbrews over at Founders for starters. Nearby in Easttown check out Winchester on Wealthy, Electric Cheetah, and The Green Well. Last weekend was nuts ... not only were 5000 on hand for the beer festival, you had nosh night, the ski jump at the Bob, Tim McGraw and John Mayer. There's stuff *always* going on.
Amen.

Keep in mind that the poster was comparing GR to Madison and Austin. GR still lags far behind those towns in terms of nightlife and downtown energy.

I'm not sure it's a fair comparison, however. Both of those towns are traditional college downs. Madison is one of my favorite cities, but the energy you feel downtown is driven by 34,000 undergrads living right downtown on campus. That's a huge difference from metro-GR which boasts just as many undergrads, but has them spread out between downtown, Davenport (far SE side), Allendale (far west side), and little schools in the city neighborhoods away from downtown (Calvin, Aquinas, etc).

At the end of the day, someone moving to GR would find things to complain about, but I don't think downtown vitality (from a dining, entertainment and nighlife perspective) would be one of those things.

Retail on the other hand... ouch.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:27 AM
 
25 posts, read 61,731 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Good luck! Hope you find happiness.

BTW, if you don't like a place, people pick up on it and probably don't respond well.

I think you missed the part where I mentioned I lived here for 10 years. I have given this place every chance and I try really hard to be polite to people no matter what. I do have manners, unlike a lot of people who live in Michigan. I didn't say everyone here is rude, that is just the norm. I have had this conversation with lots of people and I know that I am not the only one who thinks Michigan is full of wackos.

The minute I leave this state, it will be nearly one of the best days of my life. (And for all you haters here, my husband's family is here which is why we are here and he has a good paying job so that is why we have not left yet.) We should be leaving mid-May to mid-August, it depends on the work situation.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,744,725 times
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I would definitely try MadCap for good coffee.

Strong Coffee

It's interesting that people compare Grand Rapids, which is about the size of Boise or Des Moines, to much larger metro areas. At least we're being used in the same breath as Austin and Portland. One big difference I would point out: much larger metro areas are plug-n-play: you can move to those areas, plug in, become part of the "crowd", and probably not make much of a mark. Grand Rapids requires a little bit more, and the opportunities to make your mark are endless.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:31 AM
 
Location: East Grand Rapids, MI
845 posts, read 3,018,657 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brbie419 View Post
I think you missed the part where I mentioned I lived here for 10 years. I have given this place every chance and I try really hard to be polite to people no matter what. I do have manners, unlike a lot of people who live in Michigan. I didn't say everyone here is rude, that is just the norm. I have had this conversation with lots of people and I know that I am not the only one who thinks Michigan is full of wackos.

The minute I leave this state, it will be nearly one of the best days of my life. (And for all you haters here, my husband's family is here which is why we are here and he has a good paying job so that is why we have not left yet.) We should be leaving mid-May to mid-August, it depends on the work situation.
Where do you live?

I think characterizing an entire state, or even an entire metropolitan region as "rude" or "wackos" is way too generalized.
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