Downtown Grand Rapids finally has a sushi restaurant.
Though I noticed it was going in a couple weeks ago, I only realized it was open on Wednesday. As it happens, it had opened on Monday.
It’s at 47 Monroe Center. That’s right next to Grand Rapids’ police department. Grand Rapids’ police department is in what used to be Mackey’s World (an attempt at a children’s mall) and was before that a mall for grown-ups.
Marado Sushi itself is in a space that I’ve visited in several of it’s previous incarnations. First as “Dr. J’s,” a Jazz themed coffeehouse that was sadly doomed from the start. First, because it charged a cover for live music while free live music was going on just a block away at an open city amphitheater. Second, because it tried to be a nightclub that served coffee. You can markup alchol much more than you can coffee.
The second restaurant was a combination sandwich shop/coffeehouse. It was also doomed, competing with a restaurant that did exactly the same thing just across the street. Also, it occupied a space much larger than it needed for what it did (large enough to host Jazz bands…) and I’m pretty sure they were paying rent by the square foot.
Still, you’d think that a place that sold coffee and donuts and was located next to the police department would survive.
So now we’ve got Marado Sushi in that same place. The sushi seems good. At least it did when I got take out on Thursday. I bought the very cheapest assortment of sushi they sell (10.95). The woman who took my order seemed unsure that I would be full on something that small and gave me a house salad for free. It turned out to be 6 pieces of sushi plus a tuna roll (cut in 6 pieces) plus the salad. For me at least, that’s filling enough for lunch.
Apparently, it’s the first time that the cook/owner has actually run a restaurant. Previously, she’s run a sushi stand (something like that). They’re currently still figuring out the system for getting the food to the diner in reasonable time and how many waitresses they really need.
Once they get their system down, it seems possible that they’ll survive. More spaces seem to be occupied downtown. The old Steketee’s department store looks like it will become the local offices for Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The new art museum will be a short block away. This kind of professional, cultural environment might bring enough people who like sushi downtown.
At any rate, I hope so.