Fourth Annual Grub Crawl Treats Local Tastebuds

michele_smith-aversa PrintHere’s a recipe for a good time: Take an empty luxury charter bus, fill it with hungry people and chauffeur  the lot to four different eating establishments from Wyoming to Cascade. The result is the 4th Annual Grub Crawl hosted by the Wyoming-Kentwood Area Chamber of Commerce and it’s  the one time of the year you can dine and dash – without guilt!


The special-event badge adorning your neck officially qualifies you as a Grubber so  you can board the opulent shuttle that whisks you  away to the first feast. Be cautious not to eat too much because the vittles vehicle is waiting to take you to the next location where more savory samplers await – created just for this occasion.


“We do it for fun, to highlight the food, and to introduce people to the local businesses,” explains Chris Fuller, a chamber volunteer.   “The Chamber rotates the Crawl between the Wyoming and Kentwood areas. This year the Kentwood area had the most honors.”

First-time Grubbers Dennis and Barb on a date night.
First-time Grubbers Dennis and Barb on a date night.


The event is a great chance to go out with friends or a date, and sample varied menu items at each location. One couple was Dennis and Barb Slagel – first timers for the Grub Crawl. Barb works for one of the sponsors, Godwin Hardware. She was thrilled to get the tickets and go out on a much needed “date night” after the long winter indoors. “It’s a chance to be with my favorite person,” Barb says.


The restaurants sharing in the event were:

Branns Buffet
A Grubber enjoys the buffet at Brann’s

Brann’s on 28th Street

In a room designated for large parties, Brann’s set up a buffet of their offerings. And this event certainly was a large party! Several tables accommodated guests who were either laughing, talking or chewing. The Grubbers helped themselves to items which included:

  • BBQ Meatballs
  • Crispy chips and gooey cheese
  • Brann’s jumbo chicken wings

Bagger Dave’s on Kraft Avenue

Bagger Dave Manager Dave Hood serves guests with a smile.
Bagger Dave Manager Dave Hood serves guests with a smile.

Manager Andrew Hood was happy to be one of the participating restaurants in this year’s Grub Crawl. “It’s a chance to meet the residents in the community and a chance for the community to sample some of our food,” Hood says. The restaurant created four special drinks just for the Grubbers. Tray after tray of food was brought out and set on the tables. Choices included:

  • Santa Fe Chicken Nachos
  • Creamy Queso Dip and chips
  • Fresh Cut Potato Fries (which a few Grubbers discovered went quite well with barbeque sauce)
The Arayna Cuban received rave reviews.
The Arayna Cuban received rave reviews.


Aryana’s, Crowne Plaza Hotel on 28th Street

Tucked inside the Crowne Plaza Grand Rapids Hotel is Aryana’s, which was part of the renovation of the Crowne Plaza in 2010. Eager Grubbers entered the large and inviting dining room and saw a beautiful buffet just for them. In silver dishes were:

  • Margherita Chicken
  • Creamy Macaroni Bake
  • Salmon burger with mango sauce (new item)
  • Cuban Sandwich


Robert Turner, Kitchen Supervisor, was on hand to serve Aryana’s delectable creations. “If you live around here, stop in and try us out,” says Turner. A personal invitation. Who can say no?

Smokey Bones on 28th Street

The sampling from Smokey Bones.
The sampling from Smokey Bones.

Logs crackling in the massive stone fireplace, walls made of enormous honey-colored logs and the smell of barbeque greeted guests as they enter the building. It was the aroma that lured Grubbers to the table to try:

  •  Pulled Pork Sandwiches
  • Tangy Cole Slaw
  • Pretzel “bones”
  • Baked beans
  • Four types of wings


One Grubber was heard to say, “I could eat these wings all day!”

Not a bad ride for a night on the town.
Not a bad ride for a night on the town.


Care Free Coaches shuttled Grubbers to and from the restaurants. John, a volunteer driver, has driven for the event every year. “One year there were eight restaurants and two buses. People forgot where they parked!” he laughs.


Dave, another volunteer, appointed himself a tour guide in between stops. “A point of interest coming up on your left is the Meijer Gas Station.”


At one point a barbershop quartet broke into song. Gotta love dinner and a show!


So with another successful Grub Crawl in the bag, the Chamber of Commerce will get working on next year’s event. Don’t miss out!