Last year the family added a brewery to its Big Rapids location, and this year they did the same to their Mount Pleasant and Grand Rapids locations. We haven't been to the other locations, but this restaurant has a very weird vibe to it.
Walk in and it will feel like you are in a New Beginnings or Anna's House, and the menu confirms your feelings - a full breakfast menu, a 15-minute guaranteed lunch menu, and lots of retired people in the restaurant - but with beer! There are about 21 booths located in 5 short rows, and behind that, the kitchen and small brewery. A very small outdoor patio is also available.
There is a small bar tucked in the corner but no one was partaking of its goodness this afternoon but us, and we thoroughly enjoyed the Ambrosia Honey Kolsch and Professor IPA.
The 6-beer menu suggests pairings with menu items, which is so appreciated, but the appetizers consisted of typical bar food, except for the Saganaki, so that was our choice.
We subsequently decided to go with burgers, and thanks to Stella's, it's difficult to resist a stuffed burger, particularly when it's filled with cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers.
Our other choice was the simpler, but not much smaller, bacon cheeseburger.
The Cranker's version of onion rings (Lager rings) was most impressive, with thickly cut onions, well-presented.
The soundtrack playing easy listening, pop hits was fine for us but I doubt anyone else in the place, other than staff, recognized any of the songs. We're assuming that a different crowd rolls in at night. Our server was excellent - friendly and efficient - and pretty much worked the room herself with a little assistance from a manager and the take-out window order-taker.
When we asked about seeing the brewery, we were told that most of the beer is brewed at the Big Rapids location but a little is brewed here (with its 3-barrel nano-brewery). Lastly, this sign was bothersome grammatically.
They have several facebook pages, a twitter presence, and an outdated urban spoon page. We feel the need to visit them in Big Rapids.