GRAND RAPIDS, MI — At The Mitten Brewing Co., it’s all about beer, pizza and baseball.
The brewery, whose interior is decked out with baseball memorabilia, has built a reputation since opening in 2012 as having some of the best pizza in Grand Rapids. Take a spin through the menu and you’ll find classics such as pepperoni and cheese, but also 13 specialty pizzas.
One of the more unique pies in the collection: The Westerdog.
In a nod to Yesterdog, the well-known Grand Rapids hot dog restaurant, the pizza features “chili bean sauce, all-beef franks, Colby-Jack cheese, diced white onions, shredded kosher pickles, ketchup, yellow mustard.”
Or there’s The Heater, which features “Scoville Farms Everidae Sweet Habanero Sauce, andouille sausage, jalapeños, banana peppers, green peppers, Colby-Jack cheese.”
Chris Andrus, co-owner of The Mitten, said his pizza rises above the rest because it’s “hand-made every day, hand-tossed” and topped with some of best ingredients available.
“The Mitten is about the people, whether it’s the neighbors, the employees or the surrounding businesses that we team up with on projects to feed the hungry in our neighborhood,” he said. “It’s always been about impacting lives on the West Side.”
Andrus and his business partner, Max Trierweiler, opened The Mitten at 527 Leonard St NW in 2012. It has since expanded to locations in Saugatuck and Northport.
Andrus said The Mitten, through its foundation, has given away more than $300,000 to community nonprofits since it opened.
In addition to pizza, The Mitten has a wide selection of beer.
Andrus said one of the most popular beers is the Country Strong IPA. The beer is described as a “crisp, golden American IPA showcasing bold hop flavors that remain on the tongue between sips.”
Another popular beer is the Peanuts and Crackerjack, a nod to The Mitten’s baseball theme. The beer is described as a “robust porter made with real roasted peanuts and peanut butter from Germack Pistachio Company,” and opening one up is like “the ballgame came to you.”
“It’s been our most popular distributed beer through the years,” Andrus said of Peanuts and Crackerjack. “But the brewers are releasing a whole bunch of new one offs right now, so the board has never been more eclectic.”
Now that indoor dining has been suspended by the state in an effort to reduce spread of the coronavirus, The Mitten is putting its focus on its carryout menu.
Andrus says a pint of any of the brewery’s beers can be canned for to-go orders. The Mitten also launched a new online ordering system, designed to make it easier for customers to place carryout orders.
In addition to beer and pizza, The Mitten’s menu also features sandwiches, appetizers, chicken wings, salads and more.
Like other restaurants, the coronavirus pandemic has hurt The Mitten.
Sales at the brewery are down about 40 percent compared with pre-pandemic times, Andrus said. Now that indoor service has been temporarily suspended, Andrus expects sales to fall by an additional 25 percent.
“A good year at a restaurant is a five to 10 percent margin — 25 percent is going to be a fatal blow for some people,” he said. “We’re going to come through it. We’ve got eight years of goodwill in the bank, and our customers have been great. But I feel terrible for companies that just started out.”
The Mitten Brewing Co. is open for carryout on Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and then from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. It’s open from noon to 8:30 p.m. on Friday through Sunday. Because of state restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19, The Mitten is not offering dine-in service through Dec. 8.
It can be reached by calling (616) 608-5612, and online orders can be made here.
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