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Eat the Real Food

For real food and feeling, try the Real Food Café.

/Jason McClellan

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Real Food Café Locations:


Two Locations:

2419 Eastern S.E. Grand Rapids, MI 49507
(616) 241-4080

5430 Northland DR. Grand Rapids, MI 49525

(616) 361-1808

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday-Friday: 6:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Saturday: 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Sunday: 8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Note: closed on Monday

Cash or check only
They have an ATM on site

Tomato Spinach Omelet with Toasted Rye

Tomato Spinach Omelet with Toasted Rye /Jason McClellan

Apple wood smoked Bacon, House Fries, and scrambled eggs

Apple wood smoked Bacon, House Fries, and scrambled eggs /Jason McClellan

Eggs fried to succulence, fluffy Belgian waffles topped with strawberries and cream, and crispy apple-wood smoked bacon are some of the few tasty bits that the Real Food Café makes better than most. A mouth-watering breakfast can be hard to come by with restaurants using processed and reheated foods. The Real Food Café makes all their food fresh and from scratch. As the name would suggest, they do indeed serve real food! All the ingredients are hand chopped and prepared each morning. The food is not the only thing that sets the Cafe apart, though.

Real Food Café has that homey feeling of an old-time café—an open kitchen just beyond the bar, bustling with chefs in white aprons, as well as an array of tantalizing baked goods set out on display. The wait staff makes small talk with the customers and greets the regulars like old friends. The café serves the greater Grand Rapids area; yes it is worth the drive. Dave and Diane Husted come to the Café once or twice a month because they absolutely love the food.“[I  just wish] it was closer to where we live,” said Diane. “We’re from Jenison,” added Dave. One of the attributes that brings people back besides the food is the environment, both the surroundings and the feelings thereof.

The interior is stylishly decorated with attractive, retro art and antique advertisements. Small and personal tables add a small town diner feel to the space. Pam Sult, a long-time customer who loves the café atmosphere says, “Everybody seems to know everybody, and it feels like a little neighborhood diner.” Real Food Café has a cozy atmosphere that mimics the friendliness of everybody who works there. “It’s very quaint,” said customer Dave Husted. Nicki Robinson, a long-time waitress at Real Food, serves with a pleasant attitude and participates in cheerful banter with the cafe’s regulars. The service is prompt, the food arriving in fifteen minutes, and Robinson as well as other wait staff are sure to check back with customers, bringing the coffee pot before the customer can ask. In a fast-paced world, this kind of customer service is a breath of fresh air. This grand atmosphere doesn’t come at a grand cost though; the Café is surprisingly reasonable when it comes to the fees.

Real Food offers servings that are large enough to split for under $10. For example, their Logger’s Breakfast includes House Fries, Bacon, Eggs, Pancakes, and Sausage and plenty of each. Another favorite is the Veggie Benedict: an English muffin with a basted egg on top, with an inside stuffed with sautéed spinach and mushrooms; tomato hollandaise sauce surrounds it. Another scrumptious signature dish is their Home Fries: chopped potatoes seasoned with onions and fried on the open griddle until tender and browned. Unlike most fried potatoes, these are not greasy!

Real Food also offers a wide variety of fantastic, sometimes unexpected breakfast foods like Nutella stuffed French toast, banana granola pancakes, or blueberry pancakes the size of dinner plates. Real Food also offers the classic breakfast foods cooked to perfection. There are many scrumptious vegetarian options also available. 

Whichever dish you choose, you can be confident it will be quality. This is why waitress Nicki Robinson claims she enjoys her job — she said, “It’s a nice feeling as a waitress to be able to bring food out knowing that people are going to love it. You can just tell that the food is made with lots of love,” she continued. The Café prepares everything while their guests wait, and still serves them in a timely fashion. This is possible because of the people behind the scenes.

The Café is a true family affair, run by Frank and Renee Amodeo—Grand Rapids locals that started at the community college culinary program and worked their way up to owning their own business. Pam Sult remembers Frank and Renee back at Grand Rapids Community College: “I remember seeing them selling pastries and other baked goods. They had a little stand that was run by the culinary arts students.“ Now they are doing what they love: running their own successful Café. Sult continued, “When I found out that Frank and Renee were opening the café, I was excited right away because I knew it was going to be good.” 

When asked why customers keep coming back, Frank said, “The camaraderie of people, and the coziness, food, of course, and the service.” Waitress Nicki Robinson said that being an employee is enjoyable. “It’s like working with my family.”  The food made by this unique family is as unique as its members.

Robinson truly explained it best. The Real Food Café is a place where the heart of the owners and employees show through the food they serve, and the food never disappoints. The tempting food brought to your table and the smiles of the wait staff that accompany it will keep you coming back. This Café exists to give their customers a hearty, satisfying breakfast with a complement of small town love.

This article was written by Stephanie Arndt, Brandon Hooker, Jason McClellan, Carri Noteboom, and Chloe Sult for EN 102H: Digital Literacy at GRCC.

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