There are many places in Grand Rapids that we could say this about, but maybe nowhere more than Bartertown Diner in downtown Grand Rapids:
The food here is inspired. It’s not the fanciest looking, and the diner atmosphere is raw, but the food is good. It’s food cooked by vegans who understand vegan food. Any vegan knows how nice it is to be in a restaurant where you’re not worried about food contamination on the grills, or accidentally eating something because the server/chef doesn’t understand an alternative diet. You can expect to find everything vegan, made vegetarian by adding real cheese, and sometimes a raw dish option.
For that alone Bartertown is worth your patronage, but add in that fact that the food is delicious, sourced from local farms, and run by under a utopian society ideal collective, you know you’re in for something special.
Bartertown’s menu is constantly evolving based around the local produce they receive each day. For that reason, it’s hard for us to tell you exactly what you will find at Bartertown when you visit, but we can say that whatever it is, you will not be disappointed.
One recommendation we insist you follow is to stop by during breakfast. They have, what we believe, is the best breakfast in town. Breakfast is served on Saturday from 9 am to noon and all day on Sunday.
They also have a deli case with ready-to-go vegan goodies that normally include sandwiches, salads (like potato or macaroni), cupcakes, and raw desserts (like cheesecake from Deliciosity). Be sure to grab a few on your way out the door.
They’ve set goals for themselves around producing little to no waste. It’s not unusual for them to be out of an item you’re looking for, but they say that’s just how it needs to be! Bartertown is a unique operation from top to bottom, with unique food to match. They’re worthy of a visit and we should feel lucky to have such a progressive eatery in our community.
Please note the hours on the right. They’re a bit weird as they close for a few during the day to prep for dinner, and aren’t open for dinner on certain days, so do check to make sure they are open. There’s nothing more disappointing than going for dinner on a Monday evening and finding them closed.