Thursday, December 4, 2014

Menna's Joint, 44 Ionia Ave SW ~ 12/3/14

Part of a local Michigan chain, this seventh location is the only one that's not built in a college town. But seeing that it is on Ionia Avenue, Grand Rapids' restaurant/bar alley, they are probably doing just fine. Every night they stay open until 3:30 or 4:30 am, depending on the night. But first we had to find the entrance.
We walked toward their awnings to the first available door but that went nowhere. So we turned around and entered under the apartment awning.
The place is small and with counter service. There are six booths, two standing-only high tops, and two sets of five stools facing the street ~ and one small church pew.
Stepping up to the wall menu, we tried to decipher what we were looking at and had to have "Dub" defined for us, and there are all kinds of them listed, 23 to be exact (prices range from $5.00-$8.75). It's not a burrito and it's not a wrap but something in between due to the grilled tortilla. There are also a couple of salads and soups available as well as "Munchies" (French Toast Sticks with Syrup and Mac 'N Cheese Bites along with the usual Mozzarella Sticks, Chicken Tenders, Onion Rings, and Cookies?). So we each selected a Dub and waited down at the end of the counter for our food.
Here is our food being prepared.
While we waited we took a good look around and decidedly felt like we were in someone's college dorm room. All the requisite signs and posters were there, and Corn was playing.
There are two TVs, one in each corner and each showing some daytime TV, no news or sports, and one with an ill-placed lamp.
Our food was ready in about 10 minutes. Whether you take it to go or for here, it arrives the same.
Here's the Gyro Dub opened up. This wasn't the best choice but it was my own fault. Why get anything Gyro-like other than at Sami's Pita House? So it was okay but very light on tzatziki and without that distinctive gyro flavor.
Our second sandwich was the Chik'n Philly: chicken, swiss, onion, green peppers, mushroom, topped with Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.
Probably a better choice than the Gyro but still nothing extraordinary. We did both like the grilled tortillas, however. They are a nice vehicle for the ingredients and add a crispy texture to the sandwich.

We tried one side, the loaded fries ~ red skinned potato cubes deep fried and topped with cheddar and bacon. But every bite tasted burned. They apparently sat in the deep fryer a bit too long and we couldn't finish them (see photo above with the unwrapped Dubs).

Just on a whim, the next day I stopped in during lunch to try one of the Breakfast Dubs and selected the Classic to go: scrambled egg, cheddar, and potatoes. The order-taker wisely suggested that I add something, and I took the menu suggestions and added bacon, onions, and green peppers for an additional charge of $1.50 on the $5.00 sandwich. This dub was much more enjoyable than our other choices and had an even blend of ingredients.
I spoke to a neighborhood friend who regularly stops in and he mentioned that the food quality depends on who is cooking. So there you have it ~ inconsistent quality but at 3am in the morning, I'm sure no one cares. Just like they won't care about the "Extras" on the menu being called "Hook Ups."
The restaurant is not looking for business lunchers and won't get many. Menna's knows its niche and it's late night. There was one couple dining in when we had lunch, and three people came through for take-out. Today there were four people dining in. The owners may also want to get some permanent signage on the restrooms.
All that being said, and in spite of the cliched, dorm room-kit decor, this place beats all other fast food restaurants hands-down. Your food is prepared when you order it. And you can also avoid supporting the ubiquitous national chains seeping into our downtown by frequenting this local chain. Online ordering and delivery are available, and they are currently looking for drivers. 
Menna's Joint on Urbanspoon

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