Midwest Living Review
Stella's Lounge sits in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. You'll spot the building's red and black sign on Commerce, but the entrance is on the backside, down a well-lit alleyway. This 1980s retro lounge can be a bit off-putting at first. Stella's north wall is painted with brightly colored graffiti, but the interior is otherwise entirely black with red highlights. A mix of hard-edged alternative rock and punk plays on the sound system. Real pinball and Ms. Pacman machines sit in the arcade, and a jukebox is filled with Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden, Patti Smith and the Psychedelic Furs. Stella's kitchen prepares a mostly vegetarian and vegan menu with locally sourced ingredients. Expect Poor Man's Chicken Wings (which are really potato wedges brushed with hot sauce), vegan chili, lots of salads and lots of veggie sandwiches, all $6-$11. The exception to the veg/vegan offerings is Stella's burgers. Listed under a section titled "Pet Cemetery," the menu includes five burgers, three of which are made from fresh black Angus beef, including the Stella Blue Stuffed Burger (stuffed with blue cheese and bacon) and the Hot Stuff Stuffed Burger (stuffed with jalapenos and pepper jack cheese). We ordered the Hot Stuff Stuffed Burger and the Hellbent for Lentils Burger (made from lentils, of course). Both burgers included the house-made potato chips, thick and super-crispy. The Hot Stuff wasn't all that spicy or unusual, although it had great flavor. The lentil burger crumbled the way grilled ground beef does and had a tasty pesto-type sauce. All in all, they were good burgers. Also noteworthy is Stella's drink menu, which includes 200 whiskeys. You can also buy soft drinks, beer, wine and mixed drinks. Pabst Blue Ribbon is on tap.