What to get at Social Misfits in Grand Rapids

13 Eats: In a city built on change, beer and rooting for the Detroit Lions, this weird little restaurant is a brilliant champion for us all.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — There is no shortage of incredible restaurants in Grand Rapids. But with so many options, how do you choose where to indulge? We — 13 ON YOUR SIDE digital producers Riley and Amy — have set out to find the tastiest spots in the area and are documenting our journey with a series called 13 Eats.

13 Eats is all about highlighting the best restaurants in the Grand Rapids area. This week, we’re gettin’ weird and trying some unique waffle dishes at a new eatery called Social Misfits.

About Social Misfits

What started as an idea on the back of a napkin has turned into one of the coolest dining spots in Grand Rapids. Social Misfits is a new eatery that embraces the weird and celebrates the art of the waffle. Yes, the waffle. You can get sweet or savory waffles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Paired with craft cocktails and steaming coffee, what could really be better?

The restaurant is located on the first floor of the Residence Inn by Marriott and poses an interesting juxtaposition with its very famous nextdoor neighbor, Wahlburgers. While Wahlburgers struts on celebrity and popularity, Social Misfits celebrates the unique and often isolated. It’s a place with a bold atmosphere and even bolder food. We walked in with high expectations and walked out with absolutely no disappointment. 

RELATED: One month after grand opening, Wahlburgers still serving American delicacies

The Food

We decided to pregame our excessive amount of waffles with some coffee, ordering a Spicy Mocha ($4.00) and a Lavender Latte ($4.00)

Both arrived at the table in cute white mugs and the aroma of dreamy, rich coffee filled the air. The barista behind the bar even added latte art that gave us the most delicious frothy milk mustaches.

The Spicy Mocha was first chocolatey and sweet, completed with just a hint of spice from the cayenne syrup. The Lavender Latte had a similarly light flavor with just the faint taste of lavender-y goodness. We actually appreciated that the barista let the delicious Great Lakes Coffee speak for itself in the specialty drinks. If you’re looking for a strong flavor, these may not be the drinks for you, but to us, they were a perfectly subtle pick-me-up.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for… bring on the carbs. We first ordered a Teen Spirit ($14.00), which is a macaroni and cheese-filled waffle, topped with cream cheese, chives and a parmesan crisp. And truthfully, we would come back again and again just for this dish. 

The waffle arrives in a glorious fashion — with a helping of gooey mac and cheese on top, and a parmesan crisp in the center. If you’re like us, more of a savory foodie, then this is the plate for you. Upon cutting into the waffle, globs of cheese stretch from the pastry to your fork. Inside, you can see mac and cheese noodles packed beneath the sweet waffle outer layer. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and savory, and a combination of our two favorite things — breakfast and lunch (and also Mac and cheese, duh!). 

Next, we chose the Yasuke ($16.00), a ramen-filled waffle topped with a soft cooked egg, scallion, furikake and gojuchang aioli. This one, we admit, was odd. The ramen noodles inside the waffle bunched together and made an interesting texture, complete with the noodles on the exterior, that were cooked directly on the waffle iron, that crunched with each bite. The gojuchang aioli and egg did make it taste like ramen, adding a hint of spice and a softer texture to the dish. Truthfully, this waffle was an experience, and one we are happy to have tried, but we don’t know if it’s an order-again meal like the others.

Finally, as our bellies filled, it was of course time for dessert. On par with our current box office favorite, we ordered the Peter Parker ($14.00), a waffle coated in cinnamon sugar, dulce de leche and vanilla and coffee cream. And let us tell you, if sweet breakfasts and lunches are your vibe, this dish is immaculate.

Every inch of the waffle is covered in fried cinnamon sugar goodness. The first bite, complete with its savory butter flavor, melts in your mouth. When dipped in the globs of cold cream artfully arranged around the plate, it is the most perfect mouthful of waffle we may have ever tried. 

We walked away from Social Misfits feeling full and satisfied — completely from waffles! We definitely recommend finishing off your savory plate with one of their delectable sweet waffle treats.

 See the full menu here.

The Vibe   

Social Misfits is a space like none other in Grand Rapids. With bold colors, neon lights and huge portraits, the eatery is funky, cool, and cozy all at once. 

As soon as we stepped into the place, we were immediately taken by its striking décor. Edison bulbs light the restaurant with a soft warmth and pair perfectly with the many brown leather chairs and gold-framed portraits. White plaster busts of a rabbit and other furry friends welcome guests to the space and lead them to the incredible bar that has an industrial look with a somewhat classic flare. 

Overall, it’s a look that pairs perfectly with the eatery’s message; it is nonconforming, authentic and definitely has an independent spirit. But beyond all else, the space is welcoming and SO, so pretty. If we could decorate our tiny apartments like this, we would. Heck, if we could live inside those dark teal walls, we would take that too.

Basically, walking into Social Misfits was like walking into a place that made us feel 10 times cooler just being there. But the décor was not our only obsession. We also loved the people who welcomed us and the sweet smell of deliciousness that continually wafted through the open floor plan. 

The Verdict

In a time of uncertainty and much isolation, Social Misfits is a perfect escape. We have ooh-ed and ahh-ed about this place for more than 800 words, but we could say so much more. It’s not only the perfect place for a late night hangout, it’s also an awesome family brunch spot or lunch break hideaway. But what we liked most about Social Misfits is how unified it all is in its quest to root for the underdog. From its décor to menu items, the underdog reigns supreme. For this reason, among many others, we think Social Misfits is a place everybody should try. 

In a city built on change, beer and rooting for the Detroit Lions, this weird little restaurant is a brilliant champion for us all. Mark our words: This will be the next hot restaurant in Grand Rapids.

 Social Misfits is located at 43 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

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