Ricotta Toast at Terra in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Terra in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Terra, meaning Earth, features seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients. The staff takes pride in their genuine hospitality, and it shows. Even in the hustle and bustle of a busy Saturday morning, the staff greeted us warmly.

Location: Terra, located at 1429 Lake Drive Southeast in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Find the restaurant’s website here.

Menu: Hand-crafted, seasonal, locally sourced, and healthy are the adjectives that describe Terra’s cuisine. For weekend brunch, you’ll find updated American breakfast dishes, in addition to salads and wood-fired pizzas.

Their dinner menu keeps the wood-fired pizza, adding sandwiches, entrees, and pasta. While the menu changes seasonally, during my visit, the choices had a bit of a United States southern region vibe with cornbread and buttermilk whey grits.

At Terra, they list a dozen farms and suppliers that provide their ingredients so that you know where your meal is coming from. Most farms are within a 50-mile radius of the restaurant, so that means your food is fresh, and often just-picked.

They mark gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and vegan items clearly on the menu. Ask your server to ensure they make the modifications you require. Pizzas made on gluten-free crusts and vegan ricotta substitutes are available.

The menu also includes some typical brunch cocktails, like a Bloody Mary and mimosas, and then the bartender amps them up to make them unique. For example, they can make your mimosa “grand,” with some Grand Marnier or the addition of some house limoncello.

Terra also offers a children’s menu.

Thoughts: Terra, located in an almost century-old building, offers a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. A framed chalkboard traces the building’s transformation from Grand Rapids Storage and Van, Company to today’s Terra restaurant.

Exposed brick and the exhibition-style kitchen lend to the casual feel, while the charcoal gray walls display modern artwork that adds a pop of color to the décor. The open kitchen sports a wood-fired pizza oven, and wood slices trim the end of the counter.

Summer dining includes street-facing patio seating with large umbrellas to shade you from the sun, while indoor seating offers a variety of table heights for the guest’s comfort. The repurposed church pews extend accommodations for those who need to wait for their meal.

Some of my favorite dishes include:

  • The hair of the dog bowl which has a base of buttermilk biscuits sauced with sausage gravy. The garlic-flavored biscuits come studded with bits of cheddar cheese. Then it’s topped with kale, charred onions, and the house-made jalapeno hot sauce. They grind green jalapenos in-house, then counterbalance the spicy heat with some honey. The crowning glory is the light and fluffy scrambled eggs. Order the buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy as a stand-alone dish if you prefer a less complicated meal.
  • The ricotta toast starts with milk bread toasted, and then they spread it with slightly sweetened ricotta. That is topped with sliced fresh strawberries and torn fresh basil. A sprinkle of sunflower seeds adds a light crunch.
  • French toast comes spread with Nutella for a chocolaty addition. Then, topped with fresh sliced strawberries, whipped cream with lemon zest for added flavor, pecans, and maple syrup. For something extra delicious, add either vanilla gelato or peanut butter gelato.

Terra staff validates parking tickets in the adjoining parking lot.

Price Range: On the brunch menu, egg dishes range from $13 for the breakfast sandwich to $15 for the smoked salmon Benedict. Griddle items like French toast are $12. Different wood-fired pizzas run from $17 to $18.50. Sides range between $3 and $8. Brunch cocktails start at $6.50 for the mimosa and go to $12.50 for a top-shelf Bloody Mary. Brunch for two is about $40, including taxes and gratuity.

Amy Piper
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