Looking for a downtown Grand Rapids restaurant we have not yet experienced (yes, we need to backtrack and write up many), we chose Pearl Street Grill, located in the renovated Holiday Inn (the old Days Inn). From the parking lot, we could see the large row of windows and the place looked busy. Walking into the hotel lobby, we saw a sign listing the specials and directing us to the right. Promptly greeted by a hostess, we were lead past a “to-go” express station on the right and a private dining room on the left.
The main dining room is divided into two parts: the window portion that holds about 15 tables and looks out onto Pearl Street, and a booth section on the other side containing five large booths, adjoined by small room containing a few half-booths and tables. A short hall leads to the hotel bar. We choose one of the booths because it was more secluded and quieter. Overall, this restaurant provides a very welcoming environment, clean, friendly, and comfortable. (We were subtly reminded that we were in a hotel when the scent of pool chlorine reached us.) The window portion of the dining room was about half full when we entered shortly after noon, and the entire restaurant was empty when we left around 1:30.
It’s a small menu with several choices under each of these categories: soup, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas. Other than the soup, prices range from $6.00-$9.00. Without any appetizers to choose, we ordered the soup. And the first, a creamy, potato soup with onion, had nice consistency and a good balance of flavors. The vegetable beef soup, which is available daily, was weaker - a little thin and boring.
We chose two of the more interesting sounding sandwiches, the first being a Hawaiian Chicken Sandwich: grilled teriyaki glazed chicken breast topped with bacon, swiss, and pineapple on a toasted sesame seed bun (that reminds you of the old Big Mac commercial, right?). Accompanied by steak fries, the sandwich was an interesting combination of flavors and quite delicious. The tuna dill croissant (dill referring to the pickle and not an added ingredient) was okay but a little bland. Along with the tuna, ingredients were red onions, mayo, house seasoning, and cayenne pepper, and it needed more seasoning and cayenne (the half taken home was spiced up nicely later).
Everything was well-presented, and our server was excellent, both observant and attentive without being ever-present. Nothing could be found online regarding a website (www.pearlstreetgrill.com will bring you to a restaurant in New York). Decor is warm and minimal, and features a very interesting photo series depicting a dinner cruise ship passing a lighthouse This is a very pleasant spot for lunch, and our tab with a generous tip was $30.00.