We recently returned from a WONDERFUL vacation in Grand Haven, Michigan! We had such a good time, I think we could have easily spent 2 weeks there taking in all the sights, events, and natural beauty of this Lake Michigan town. One of our favorite parts of Grand Haven was the downtown area, chock full of neat shops and all sorts of restaurants.
Our first full day of vacation, we spent most of the day at the beach. By dinner time, we were ready for a relaxed, sit-down meal. We had eaten enough fast food on the way to Grand Haven, and were looking forward to a nicer meal. JW’s Food and Spirits owner, Chris Weavers-Stevenson, had asked us to stop by and check her place out. We were happy to oblige.
Our Experience at JW’s Food and Spirits
JW’s, a cozy tavern-style restaurant, is conveniently located smack dab in the middle of downtown Grand Haven. It has been a part of the community since 1994. As soon as we entered the door, we were warmly greeted and seated. The hostess even asked where we preferred to sit – now that’s a nice touch that doesn’t happen very often.
My first impression of JW’s was that it was the kind of place where not just vacationers, but the locals liked to dine. It just had that warm, familiar feel to it. My feelings were confirmed as we were seated and I could hear one of the waitresses chatting with the folks she knew dining at several tables next to ours. All of the staff were outgoing, professional, and seemed like they really enjoyed serving their customers.
JW’s Menu and Our Dinner Choices
J-dub’s, as the locals call it, has a great, eclectic menu. Here’s a sampling of the entree offerings: pasta alfredo, pub-style white fish, tuscan portobello ravioli, chicken stir-fry over wild rice, smothered petite sirloin, wet beef or chicken burritos, and the mouthwatering list goes on and on! All of their soups are homemade, and their Chicken White Chili has been an award winner at the Muskegon Jaycees Chili Cook-Off every year since 1999! You can enjoy all of their menu offerings in the dining room or in their large sized pub as well.
It didn’t take long for my husband to choose the Blackened Salmon with Lemon Butter. I opted for the Black and Bleu Flat Iron Steak. Alyssa was feeling old and very hungry, so she too ordered off the adult menu (LOL) , settling on Summer Lovin’ Linguine. Lila, who can be a bit of a picky eater was THRILLED to see Nachos on the kids’ menu. Better yet, she ordered it with french fries. Well, it was vacation, you know! The adult-sized entrees we ordered ranged in price from $11.99-$14.99. Very affordable in my book, considering they came with a salad or soup, and our choice of side dish!
My husband seemed to inhale his Blackened Salmon – he loved it! Just enough on the spice side of things, and the lemon butter was a nice addition. I personally don’t care for salmon, but I gave it a try since he was pushing his fork at me and telling me how wonderful it was. He was right – it was yummy, and not at all strongly fishy tasting like salmon can be. The fact that I liked it means it was super fresh, and very well prepared. Nice work, J-dub’s!
My Black and Bleu Flat Iron Steak was just as delectable! My steak was cooked perfectly to order, and the broiled gorgonzola on top was ever so yummy! The steak was butter knife tender and wonderfully juicy. This steak at JW’s easily rivaled similar entrees I’ve had at much more expensive restaurants. Hats off to the chef!
Both of our girls enjoyed their entrees too, so much so that they shared part of their meals with each other. I believe they were in carb heaven – thank goodness the pasta had the redeeming quality of lots of broccoli. ha ha!
As I’m sure you’ll agree, a great meal really needs to be complimented by great wait staff. Sometimes, it’s hard to get both in the same dining experience. Our waitress was wonderfully attentive. She didn’t miss a beat! She knew their menu backwards and forwards, and got all our requests right the first time. She also was incredibly personable to boot. My girls enjoyed telling her about our day at the beach, and she, in turn, shared her favorite beach spots when she has her grandchildren. She could not have been nicer.
All in all, we’d unanimously give JW’s Food and Spirits two thumbs up! On our next trip to Grand Haven, JW’s will be on the top of our list of “old favorites” we want to visit again.
JW’s Food & Spirits
6 North 7th Street
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Phone: (616) 846-3380
Hours: Monday-Thursday 11am – 9pm (Pub open later)
Friday-Saturday 11am -10pm (Pub open later)
* Open 1/2 hour later Memorial Day thru Labor Day