The Rapidian Home

Neighborhood taqueria to join Wealthy Street

Owner of The Winchester is preparing to open a taqueria across the street in late October or early November.
Construction moving along inside Donkey

Construction moving along inside Donkey /Courtesy of Donkey: A Neighborhood Taqueria

Underwriting support from:

Donkey location and hours

665 Wealthy Street SE
Planned hours:
Monday- Friday: 11 a.m.- midnight
Saturday-Sunday: 7:30 a.m.- midnight
Beginnings of construction show original building condition

Beginnings of construction show original building condition /Courtesy of Donkey: A Neighborhood Taqueria

Across the street from neighborhood restaurant and bar The Winchester, an old building is being rehabbed to hold Donkey: A Neighborhood Taquieria.

Owner Paul Lee, also owner of The Winchester, has been operating What the Truck, a food truck with fusion tacos, for several years now. Lee says the restaurant will be an expansion of the truck's offerings. Executive chef for the restaurant is Craig Svozil, coming from his position as chef de cuisine at Big Star in Chicago

"The menu at Donkey will be authentic Mexican with some Tex-Mex. You'll see traditional items like al pastor (pork), birria (goat) and pescado (fish), but we'll also offer a selection of tortas, a selection of salsas and many vegetarian items," says Lee. "Like a traditional taqueria, we'll offer sodas (can or bottle only), and a few aqua frescas to compliment the full bar made from reclaimed wood from four demolished Detroit homes."

The food truck will also operate out of Donkey once opened.

"The idea for the taqueria grew from [What the Truck], but first a desire to see another establishment on Wealthy Street. There's an amazing building stock on Wealthy Street, unfortunately most need a lot of work and this prices out most start ups. We're hoping this development will help spur additional growth on the street because the interest is there," says Lee. "A taqueria is something my wife and I love to visit when traveling and felt it would do well in Grand Rapids and especially across from the Winchester and in Uptown."

After delays with City for additional on-site approvals, the restaurant is now slated to open within the next month.

"We want to keep the existing building as true to its originality. [The interior includes] reclaimed brick and concrete block walls, exposed ceiling support beams, concrete floor and new windows to replicate original. The new building addition will house the kitchen, bathrooms, and additional seating," says Lee.

The entire space will make use of reclaimed wood from demolished homes in Detroit, metal and some tile.

"We elected to rehab the existing building, although it would have been less expensive to start new, because we feel that character to the neighborhood and space cannot be recreated with new construction," he says.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.