Kent County seal
Kent County

Brick and mortar, temporary or mobile, there are nearly 2,300 food establishments in Kent County.

The pandemic has brought hardship to the industry with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issuing closures and seating capacity limits aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing the challenges over the past year, the Kent County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously waived the 2021 food service licensing and inspection fees.

Depending on licensure type and size of establishment, the annual fee varies from $155 to $580.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, January 22, 2021 photo
Michigan Office of the Governor

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Tuesday announced the further loosening of Michigan’s coronavirus restrictions, easing capacity limits in restaurants and a host of other businesses while also allowing for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings.

The revised state health department order will take effect Friday and last through April 19.


People will be allowed to eat inside restaurants in Michigan starting February first.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced that today.

When they re-open next month, restaurant dining rooms will have to operate under restrictions -- 25 percent of capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Dining areas will have to close by 10 o-clock.

   Governor Whitmer say re-opening dining areas is possible because earlier restrictions have worked and infection rates have improved.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Nov. 5, 2020 photo
Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will announce Wednesday that Michigan restaurants can reopen for indoor dining on Feb. 1, two-and-a-half months after an order to close amid a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

The governor’s office confirmed the pending announcement following a statement issued on social media by the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association. The current order prohibiting indoor dine-in service is due to expire Friday but will be extended.

Judge with gavel photo

An Upper Peninsula cafe was found in contempt of court and fined $2,500 for continuing to serve indoor diners, the latest turn in an effort to get the owner to comply with coronavirus restrictions.

“When it comes to court orders, in my opinion, civil disobedience is not an option. It just absolutely is not,” Judge Wanda Stokes said.

Stokes held a hearing Friday involving Cafe Rosetta, which serves soup, sandwiches and more in Calumet, a town of roughly 750 in Houghton County.

Michigan Bridge Card
City of Flint

Michigan residents who receive food assistance from the state can use their benefits at restaurants, officials said Tuesday.

The program could give a boost to restaurants that are prohibited from offering indoor dining because of coronavirus restrictions imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration.

More than 300,000 people will soon be able to use their Bridge Card to buy discounted meals at restaurants, including 1,200 people who are experiencing homelessness, the health department said.

Those eligible include people over 60 and people with a disability.

pic of take out challenge sign
Kent County Board of Commissioners

A local “take-out challenge” has started in West Michigan.  The Kent County Board of Commissioners has issued a challenge aimed at encouraging residents to support locally owned restaurants.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, December 3, 2020 photo
Office of the Governor / Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that her administration may extend portions of a three-week partial shutdown of schools and businesses next week because of the “sheer volume” of coronavirus cases in Michigan.

Dining room table setting photo
Public Domain Pictures

Meals at Michigan restaurants came with a new side dish Monday: What's your name and phone number? The latest order kicked in from state health department. Restaurants must be able to contact customers if there's a virus case linked to the business. The Michigan Restaurants & Lodging Association insists COVID-19 transmission doesn't occur much at restaurants. The group predicts job losses and more financial strife. Michigan's coronavirus cases have risen significantly, setting a new daily high Saturday at nearly 3,800.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer photo
Associated Press

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday tightened pandemic restrictions in northern Michigan while letting Detroit’s three casinos reopen at limited capacity after four-plus months of being closed to curb the coronavirus.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer photo
State of Michigan

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced that retail businesses in much of northern Michigan, including restaurants and bars, can reopen starting Friday. The bars and restaurants will have to limit their capacity to 50%. Groups will be required to stay 6 feet apart and servers will wear face coverings. The move affects two of the eight regions identified in the governor's gradual reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic. One covers the Upper Peninsula and another includes 17 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula, including the Traverse City area.

Bottles of alcohol photo

The state of Michigan will offer cash-strapped bars and restaurants relief by buying back their liquor inventory during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an order authorizing the program in a flurry of moves late Monday.

She also delayed the expiration of valid driver’s licenses and state ID cards. And she extended a measure to keep intact a prohibition against dine-in service at restaurants and to continue the closure of many places of public accommodation through April 30 — when her stay-at-home order is scheduled to expire.

After a call for help,  the Grand Rapids Police Department tweeted out they have identified two people who "dined and dashed" at a local eatery the day after Christmas. Their names have not yet been made public. 

Police said in a news release that a man and a female companion dined at the Chop House on December 26th, and snuck out without paying their hefty $320 bill. Police originally asked the public for help in finding the two diners.  

Restaurant Week

Aug 19, 2016
Restaurant Week GR

Restaurant Week is in full swing so we talk and discuss local eating. Chef Justin Large from VanderMill discusses the event.

Kitchen 67

Aug 11, 2016
Kitchen 67

Kitchen 67 is the first restaurant in the Midwest to serve up wireless charging.  We talk about this local Michigan bistro’s cutting edge technology with owner Johnny Brann Jr. and Gill Electronic's Larry Leete.