7 restaurants in GR with outdoor seating


Eating out can be difficult during a pandemic. With these seven restaurants offering outdoor seating, new students can still experience Grand Rapids safely. (Photo courtesy Hancock)

Whether it’s celebrating a big win, going out after a concert, or just hanging out, many fond Calvin memories have taken place at Grand Rapids restaurants. Though dining-out looks much different this year, it’s still a crucial part of forming the friend groups you’ll make memories with for years to come.

In the spirit of making Calvin a safe environment during the pandemic while still having some fun, here are seven of Calvin students’ favorite restaurants with outdoor seating:


$ = Less than $10 per meal

$$ = $10-15 per meal

$$$ = More than $15 per meal


Uccello’s $$$

Located just down the Beltline from Calvin, Uccello’s is a go-to spot for students to celebrate after on-campus events. Their menu offers a wide variety of Italian-American cuisine including pastas, pizzas, salads, sandwiches and more.

Although on the more expensive end of the list, many of their appetizers offer well-sized portions for a more affordable price.

I recommend splitting Uccello’s Signature Pizza and some appetizers with friends for a late-night snack close to campus.


Harmony Brewing Co. $$

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be 21 to enter. Harmony Brewing Co. offers more than just beers.

Located on Lake Drive just off picturesque Wealthy Street, this pizza joint is well-worth the ten-minute drive from campus. Their website currently advertises delivery and takeout only, but they do offer outdoor seating. Be sure to check out their $7 pepperoni pizzas on Tuesdays.

Even if you don’t make it out for their Tuesday deals, prices are affordable when splitting a pizza with one or two friends.

I recommend the Margherita pizza and a root beer.


Taqueria San Jose $

One of the most affordable choices on this list and the author’s personal favorite, Taqueria San Jose is a can’t-miss. Their $2.79 tacos are some of the best in town (some might say Tacos el Cuñado is better; they’re wrong), and their outdoor seating is about all that’s offered even when there isn’t an ongoing pandemic.

On the off-chance you’re not in the mood for tacos, their quesadillas, burritos, and tortas are all competitively priced.

I recommend chicken, steak, and/or shredded beef tacos with a Jarritos soda of your choosing. Be sure to get the cilantro and onion on your taco.


Hopcat $$$

Located downtown and at Knapps Corner, Hopcat serves a spread of American pub food including soups, salads, burgers, and their renowned cosmik fries. The restaurant is perfect for a nice dinner out with friends.

I recommend the fish and chips, which comes standard with cosmik fries.


Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop $

Forget what you know about soup from eating cans of chicken noodle or tomato that you bought at the grocery store. Uncle Cheetah’s Soup Shop takes things to a whole new level with their constantly-changing list of gourmet soups.

Their current offerings can typically be found on their Instagram (@unclecheetahs), and the variety of flavors offers new favorites with every visit. Sample a few before you order, and take a look at the sliders and grilled cheeses, too.

Uncle Cheetah’s soups are always changing, but it’s hard to go wrong with anything on their menu. I recommend just going there and checking out the day’s flavors.


Donkey Taqueria $$$

Donkey Taqueria doesn’t claim its food is authentic, but it’s delicious all the same. The tacos, tostadas, tortas, and botanas they serve are exactly what you’d expect from a taco joint on Wealthy Street.

Be warned, these tacos can get a little pricey compared to some of the other restaurants on this list.

I recommend their $4 tacos for an impressive first date on your freshman frenzy. Or just skip the freshman frenzy altogether and have double the tacos.


Hancock $$

If you’re craving chicken at a reasonable price, Hancock is the place to go. Ordering a whole bird with a group of friends is an unforgettable experience, and their sides aren’t too bad either with options like cornbread, mac and cheese, and waffle fries.

If you don’t plan on ordering an entire chicken, I recommend the chicken sandwich and a glass of sweet tea.