There is certainly no shortage of fantastic restaurants in West Michigan. Each bring something a little different to the table – literally. With a vast array of cuisines from the myriad of cultures in West Michigan, sometimes you have to pack two restaurants into one.
This was the initial idea behind Rockwell Republic. When they first opened in the historic Heartside District, the two eateries boasted two menus and two completely different atmospheres. Rockwell's Kitchen & Tap was more casual and felt like you were in Chicago and Republic Cafe was more upscale and had the feel of a more sophisticated wine bar.
As each restaurant grew more and more popular, the strain on the one kitchen became too great and patrons endured long wait times for their meal. Brothers Paul and Dave Reinhart, then owners, streamlined the menu by taking favorite dishes from each and combining them.
In 2016, the brothers Reinhart approached friend and fellow restaurateur, Jeff Lobdell, about buying Rockwell Republic. They were looking to focus their efforts on what was then Monty's and rebrand as Butcher's Union, a more food centric establishment.
After celebrating his first year at Rockwell Republic, Lobdell has seen it voted Best Happy Hour in Grand Rapids, hit record sales, and grow in staff. The menu has remained successful with eclectic fusion dishes, small plates, and sushi.
They’re all about making friends, too. Since Lobdell took over, Rockwell Republic has partnered with Avenue for the Arts for First Fridays. Together with other local businesses, Rockwell Republic is working to bring attention to the vibrant work being done in the area.
To learn more about Rockwell Republic, visit rockwellsrepublic.com or stop in to the restaurants at 45 S. Division Ave.
When it comes to business, it is easy to think about bottom line profits, growth, scalability and outperforming the competition. While those are all important aspects, there are countless other factors.