Text: Karla Jeltema
The taste of melt-in-your mouth pastry piled high with powdered sugar is a New Orleans favorite—a beloved French doughnut called a beignet—and is now available at the newly reopened Cafe Mertens in Grand Rapids, Michigan as of September 28, 2020.
The café, which is a French-style street food eatery, has also been joined by the relaunch of New Hotel Mertens Brasserie as Mertens Prime as of October 2020. Mertens Prime is a French steak house and classic bistro featuring dishes like chateaubriand, set in a restored 1914-era hotel, lobby, and dining room located at 35 Oakes St. SW. Cafe Mertens, a small venue with its own entrance at the corner of Oakes and Commerce, initially opened its doors in 2019 and has now reopened to provide six different types of poutine, beignets, café au lait, and fries to visitors and residents alike in the downtown Grand Rapids area.
Anthony Tangorra, managing member of Mertens Hospitality LLC, said while the pandemic changed so much for the restaurant industry, it also gave an ability to pause and take a close look at current offerings and think through how to better serve the Grand Rapids community.
“We felt offering all-from-scratch, French-styled food with a focus on beignets, fries, and poutine would be the perfect change and very fitting with the French roots of our restaurant,” Tangorra said.
Mertens Hospitality LLC has also brought 9th Street Cheesesteak and Pronto Pasta to the Grand Rapids community, along with Cafe Mertens and Mertens Prime.