Mertens Prime

4.5
854 Reviews
$31 to $50
French
Mertens Prime is a French brasserie and steakhouse set in a historic 1914-built former hotel lobby and dining room that preserves and celebrates Grand Rapids' past. We offer a variety of French classics along with an impressive French-touched steak menu, including Chateaubriand. The Mertens cocktail list is an exact replica of the drinks and menu design from the New Hotel Mertens bar, circa 1939, and includes the same 50 cocktails served in 1939 that are as relevant today as they were 80 years ago. Mertens also operates a Cafe adjacent to Prime. Cafe Mertens offers warm beignets & poutine every day and does not offer table service. The restaurant's rooftop cocktail lounge, Mertens Rooftop, is open seasonally and it is *not* possible to make a reservation for the Rooftop via Mertens Prime.

Safety precautions

Cleaning & Sanitizing
  • Surfaces sanitized between seatings
  • Common areas deep cleaned daily
  • Digital, disposable or sanitized menu provided
  • Sanitizer or wipes provided for customers
  • Sealed or wrapped utensils used
Physical Distancing
  • Limited number of seated diners
  • Distancing maintained in common areas
  • Extra space between tables
Protective Equipment
  • Waitstaff wear masks
  • Diners must wear masks unless eating or drinking
Screening
  • Sick staff prohibited in the workplace
  • Staff temperature check required
  • Contact tracing information collected
What 854 people are saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.5based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.6
service
4.7
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
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DG
vipDavidG
Detroit
16 reviews
Dined a day ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Outstanding steak, accommodating staff, engaged manager. Good for business dinners, dates, special occasions, or everyday dining.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Detroit
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Birthday Dinner with Friends

MH
MadisonH
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved the historic building decor, and taking dessert on the rooftop bar. Wonderful service, especially with the rolling cheese cart. Steaks were a little pricey but understandably so with current market prices. Excellently prepared.

C
Cara
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall3food5service3ambience4

All the food we ordered was excellent, and we were pleasantly surprised to even find a handful of yummy poutine dishes on the menu. We did however have 4 DIFFERENT menus within our party of 6, with a whole range of price discrepancies and missing/additional items.

We requested to go to the rooftop after dinner, which luckily opened up in time for us to go up for a drink. With it being a cool, windy evening I would have assumed that there would be a variety of heaters. However, the ONE fireplace table that was available and we were seated around was not lit. We asked every employee on the rooftop to light the fireplace and nobody knew how and never looked into the issue. I would hope that when you're paying $30 for a mediocre drink that they could figure out how to make guests comfy. Disappointing since the space itself and ambiance was very cool, and the rooftop offered a nice view of the city.

E
Emilyk
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Beautiful, loved the historical touches, great food and service.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Orlando
2 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience5

The service was outstanding, however with pricing did not fully meet the quality. With staff shortages plaguing the industry though I’m sure the price increase will be temporary. The food was overall very good and we will definitely be returning. The Maître D possibly could do a shorter menu discussion and also possibly ask if we had been there before, before diving into a detailed education session on the history of the restaurant. We have dined her often and we were here in the beginning of the restaurant’s opening and got breakfast daily. I hope that it will return to its once spectacular glory soon.

OT
OpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Amazing dinner! Have my girlfriend and I the best experience.

JS
JessicaS
Grand Rapids
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wonderful hospitality! We went for our Anniversary and loved every second on it!

b
barryhe
Grand Rapids
12 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall4food4service5ambience2

We have dined here many times but this was the first since re-opening and with the new chef. The menu is slightly changed - no more bouillabaisse or "steak-frites" - although you can "manufacture" the latter by ordering a steak and the Belgian fries as a side. New items on the menu are ratatouille and Chateaubriand for two (but probably could feed 3 people). The menus is much more steak-oriented (and they apologize about the rising steak prices) but also includes mussels or salmon. The place still looks like an archeological dig-faded walls and faux-peeling paint and parts appeared to be without lighting as I saw patrons using their cellphones to read the menu. Maybe that's why the manager comes and, somewhat patronizingly, goes over the menu with a fine tooth comb. We were disappointed that they were out of certain cheeses from the cheese cart and were out of espresso. We shared mussels as an appetizer - lovely broth and the frites were delicious. The steaks were delicious and prepared beautifully. The Chateaubriand was so tender - could cut it with a butter knife. It is carved table side and our server did a lovely job. She also prepared our bananas foster table side - great show! The new executive chef is a James Beard award winner, so I hope the menu evolves to include more classic European or Euro-inspired items.

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I'll be honest, and no offense to GR or to Mertens, but if you were born in GR and are used to GR restaurants, then this might not be the right restaurant for you. Stick with 28th St or Leo's or whatever. But if you're looking something that's more like you'd find in a big city or overseas, then Mertens is the good (and only) choice for you in GR. Our meal or service werent perfect, but there's real substance to dishes like the ratatouille stuffed pepper and the (housemade) pasta with ham & truffles. Easily better quality than pretty much anywhere in GR.

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved it. Ive been coming here since it opened and it's as good as it's ever been.

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Art Prize is always a risk, especially this year, but we had a wonderful meal. Mertens is our favorite GR restaurant and we were happy to see it so full and bustling like we remember.

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My wife and I are a cheap date. Before making the reservation we scanned the menus of all the steak places in the city and no one else had a steak under ~50, but Mertens had its coulotte for ~$33. And the house wine carafes are a lot less money than the other places house wines. So we went with that and for $100 had one of better meals we've had since moving to Grand Rapids. The house wine is a steal; it tastes like table wine from a regular French restaurant. I asked about it because I would like to buy it, but apparently they import directly from France. It's not the best wine you ever had, but it's great value for the money.

We also split the cheese cart, which was very special. And then all the little touches are just awesome. We will be back many times.

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Another great experience at Mertens Prime. Usually we eat at the bar (it's the most beautiful bar in GR), but tonight we sat at the table and it was great to get the full experience. The cheese cart at our table was great.

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Wow, a very interesting restaurant for Grand Rapids. Most GR restaurants have all the ambiance of a suburban mall (Leo's, Bowdies, Palio, Osteria Rossa), so this one stands out as beautiful and historic.

The service is very attentive; I'd say over-attentive, but I understand most GR people like that. It's just not for me, but it's not a big deal. But I like the over-attentiveness of the cheese cart.

The food is quite interesting too. Again, it's unique for GR bc, in this case, you can tell it is very homemade and that seems to make it a bit inconsistent. But Ill take that vs the assembly-line store-bought food from Leo's down the street. I can imagine it is tough finding people to execute homemade these days with the labor shortage. Bottom-line is I thought the food and menu was great, especially vs other restaurants in GR; but your expectations should be dialed down a bit.

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 20, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Always a wonderful meal. French onion soup, the rolling cheese cart, the aroma of the ham & truffle pasta, the coulotte steak, and beautifully poached peaches with the peach melba.

We go to all the restaurants in town and there just isnt a restaurant that compares with the sort of authenticity and rusticity of Mertens.

SO
SherylO
Grand Rapids
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall1food2service1ambience4

Made dinner reservations 3 to 4 weeks beforehand and even received a verification phone call from the restaurant one and a half weeks before we arrived, we even had to give a CC number to confirm-we would be charged if a no show. I was expecting an elegant dining experience considering the price and reservation process; other patrons with shorts and bare midriffs was not expected!! I indicated that this was a birthday celebration for my husband. Nothing was special or even noted that it was my husband’s birthday. Does the restaurant read the reservation on Open Table?? The service was slow, the manager on the floor even stopped at our table and said that there was a delay in the kitchen with our meal. Other patrons ordered after us and their food arrived before ours. The food was nothing remarkable, my husband said that my cooking at home was much better and the house wine at this French restaurant was more like Kool-Aid. Waiting to pay our bill took 40 minutes, we had a gift card for part of our bill that they could not find in the system. While waiting for it to be remedied we sat with nothing at our table but water. We were never offered a complimentary drink or a decrease in our bill($120) for the delay in our meal or checkout. We spent 2 and 3/4 hours at the restaurant and most of the time was waiting!! Definitely will not return!!
Leo’s down the street will continue to get my business, not Mertens Prime!!

OT
OpenTable Diner
Grand Rapids
1 review
Dined on September 18, 2021
Overall3food5service2ambience3

Food was good. Service was sub-par.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Awesome food! Amazing service. Love the history

J
Jill
Grand Rapids
3 reviews
Dined on September 17, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

What a fabulous evening! We started on the rooftop for a cocktail, we all had on of their specialties and we all agreed they were delicious. Dinner was a marvelous experience and the service impeccable. Three of us had steak, all different cuts and cooked to different levels. Each was perfectly cooked! The addition of the roasted garlic was a nice touch. The odd man out got the roasted pepper, and said it was the best he had had. We will definitely be headed back. Plus, all the history on the menu and cocktail book were interesting and gave us a lot to discuss.

m
mileso
1 review
Dined on September 16, 2021
Overall5food3service5ambience5

Was quite a bit overpriced for 2 people. We spent more there than on our hotel room at the Marriott. The food was so so. I was not really impressed. Loved the staff. One of the waiters is actually from my hometown, which is a rare find.

S
vipSiglo
Grand Rapids
106 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2021
Overall4food5service5ambience3

We were warmly greeted at the door by "Aries" and were immediately seated. Mario, the Dining Room Manager, introduced himself and gave us the highlights of the menu. Our server, Shannon (who was training a new server - Jenny, was tableside ready to take our beverage order within minutes of Mario's introduction.

My filet mignon was excellent. My Salade Paysanne salad was delcious. And, the profiterole was a great dessert to end the evening. Portions were large.

The wine list is a bit limited but does offer a nice repesentation of French selections by-the-bottle as well as by-the-glass pours from Premier Cru & Classified châteaux.

The attire of other guests was everything from t-shirts and shorts to business casual on the Sunday evening we visited.

Thank you, Shannon! Your knowledge of the menu coupled with your very positive personality made for an enjoyable evening.

MC
MattCD
1 review
Dined on September 11, 2021
Overall3food3service3ambience2

I won't go back to Mertens Prime. I don't have a problem spending almost $300 for a meal for two but it better be stellar. The value just wasn't there unfortunately.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 10, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We came for our anniversary dinner. The food was outstanding. The service was equally amazing. I don’t think I have ever received that level of service at a restaurant.

RV
RayV
Grand Rapids
3 reviews
Dined on September 10, 2021
Overall4food3service5ambience4

Quiet at first. Really got noisy later.

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The food was excellent and the workers were so friendly. They truly wanted us to be happy with what we ordered. The politeness of all the staff just blew us away! The rolling cheese cart was my favorite part of the night. Very unique and so delicious!

A
Anonymous
1 review
Dined on September 6, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

The entire setup is more big city and so it's unique for Grand Rapids. Some, especially those that are used to Grand Rapids restaurants (Bistro Bella Vita, Leo's, etc.) might not like it. The lights are low, there's no ranch dressing anywhere (lol), the food & atmosphere is rustic. We loved it.

TH
TonyH
Detroit
4 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2021
Overall4food3service5ambience3

Cool spot. We were greeted warmly by the hostess and the bar server. The food was nice. Steaks were large, pricey. The wine list was weak.

MB
MaryB
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Loved our experience.
We can’t wait to go back to again. The workers were amazing!

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on September 5, 2021
Overall2food2service2ambience3

Birthday dinner - service was slow, dinner was cold - pasta was raw- pasta was not taken off the bill- not an ideal birthday dinner.

OT
OpenTable Diner
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2021
Overall3food3service5ambience5

Steak was great, sides not so much. Service & ambiance was fantastic!!

SS
SueS
1 review
Dined on September 4, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience4

The food and service was outstanding. If I have any complaint the music was too loud for fine dining.

LC
LindaC
Grand Rapids
1 review
Dined on September 3, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We had a wonderful dinner (New York, Sao Paulo, Salmon and Mac & Cheese. All were WONDERFUL. But the surprise stars of the night for us were ... The Shrimp Beignets (omgosh they were SOOOO amazing) and the rooftop, which was magnificent! I cannot finish this review, however, without shouting out to the truly great staff. Thanks to the chef, the hosts, the waitstaff, the pastry chef, the bartenders. Everything we had, from adult beverage to dessert & rooftop drinks were carefully handled, crafted, and delicious. The staff was GREAT! Go, people, GO!

JC
JohnC
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

It was our anniversary and thy put a beautiful little bouqet of flowers on the table as well. A nice start.

After a glass of champagne we had the cheese cart; which is very charming. The wine prices are very reasonable for a restaurant like this.

We both had steaks with mushrooms and brussel sprouts. Everything was delicious and perfectly cooked. The mushrooms though were the standout. These are not just button mushrooms that every other steakhouse seems to have. They were beautiful, complex and reasonably priced considering the quality.

We shared the bananas foster for dessert which is done tableside.

The service was a bit slow at times, but welcome to 2021. The key was the attitude of those who served us (there were a few people) were all very cheerful and helpful.

FH
FrancisH
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

A very fun night out if you like food and history. Agree that it's not perfect, but wow it's really unique and has great food. Who else has a beautiful rolling cheese cart? And then the ratatouille was very creatively done; better than we had in France. The bananas foster was wonderful. Our server and everyone there clearly liked their job very much. Sure, not at all perfect, but a real winner and a much better value than the vanilla steakhouses and seafood places found everywhere else in GR.

JK
JodyK
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Compared to most other restaurants at this level in GR, Mertens is right at the top. It has a very unique setting. The bar is glorious looking. Everything has an old-world feel.

Many parts of the restaurant were left weathered from the authentic downturn the neighborhood went through for many decades, but there's also many beautiful finishes. It's just the right mix.

So many restaurants in GR feel like a 1990's shopping mall. This is perhaps the best ambiance in the city. Overall, I'd say MDRD is more polished and perfect, but they're menu is so small. If you're willing to accept that by nature Mertens is more rough around the edges in its ambiance and food (or maybe you even prefer that like me), then this would be the choice. Repeat: there's many imperfections here. It comes with the territory with this style of cooking. It seems odd how many expect perfection in a brasserie style restaurnt.

So it's bistro-style cooking plus steak options. The pasta is classic French and many ppl in Grand Rapids may not be ready for something this good. Dont expect a cream sauce here Grand Rapids, this dish is much closer to the real thing with nicely cut pieces of ham, incredible black truffle and little nicks of cheese. The only "sauce" is butter and pasta water. The way it should be.

We enjoyed the peach melba for dessert. The wine-poached peaches are amazing, though the presentation leans more to something over-done like you might find at Chophouse; we wish Mertens would stick to something more elegant for a classic like Melba. But it tasted great and is certainly a massive portion.

The rooftop is beautifully decorated and has a very nice, unique cocktail menu.

We're glad we found this place. It's potentially a real stalwart of the GR dining scene.

TM
ThomasM
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We were seated a little late as they made up our table; not a big-deal at all these days. It amazes me to read some of these stupid negative reviews giving one star reviews about "imperfect service" and imperfect table cloths. Wow, get a clue people.

We really were blown away. The touches at Mertens are just more thoughtful than most any other restaurant in GR. The cheese cart that rolls up to the table, the bananas foster table-side, the gorgeous forks they use and the very cool logoed plates.

And the food is great. If you like steaks, try the coulotte. Compared to what others are charging for steaks in town, it's a pretty decent deal. And then the ham and truffle pasta was incredible. And make sure you finish with the bananas foster. The decor and the view on the rooftop is amazing with a very neat spritz menu with some things we havent seen since we've been in France. Remember to get on the priority waitlist for the roof when you sit for dinner. We'll be back many times.

JR
JohnR
1 review
Dined on August 26, 2021
Overall5food5service5ambience5

First time here and it was amazing. The French Onion Soup was wonderful, beautifully prepared steak, and just incredible little details such as the plates they use, the ambiance, the lighting, the bar cart. Just superb!

JS
JohnS
Grand Rapids
1 review
Dined on August 22, 2021
Overall4food4service5ambience4

We enjoyed our dinner and the waiter in particular was very helpful in describing our options and daily alternatives.

OT
vipOpenTable Diner
Chicago
1 review
Dined on August 21, 2021
Overall1food2service1ambience4

Kept an open mind despite many of the negative reviews but was very disappointed. Food was not good. Everything was very poorly seasoned. Pork belly and steak were dry and burnt. Eggs were flavorless. Pasta was unsalted. Somehow the fries/poutine were bland and tasteless. Waitstaff was friendly but very poorly trained- forgetting multiple orders, describing the steak favorably as "thinly cut and gristly." Somehow all of the dishes we ordered were misses. Rooftop has nice views but below average drink/food selection. Really wanted to like this place but it was almost hard to believe how disappointing the food was.

FAQs

Mertens Prime offers takeout which you can order by calling the restaurant at (616) 551-1713.

Mertens Prime is rated 4.5 stars by 854 OpenTable diners.

Yes, you can generally book this restaurant by choosing the date, time and party size on OpenTable. Due to local restrictions, this restaurant may not be accepting reservations at the moment.