CLOSED: Bartertown Diner

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 28 reviews )



6 Jefferson Ave SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, 49503

American diner fare. Changed ownership in early-2016 and is no longer a worker's collective. Menu also became fully vegan and changes based on seasonal ingredients. Has raw food, daily specials. Eco-friendly interior. SEP 2016 REPORTED SHUT. Open Tue-Fri 8:00am-8:00pm, Sun 8:00am-4:00pm.

Category: Vegan, American, Delivery, Take-out, Catering

Reviews (28)

First Review by erbavore9

Tofu chorizo! - Edit

Now named The Garden, still all vegan. We had the dlx chickpea melt sandwich w/ maple smoked tempeh bacon, tofu chorizo tacos (excellent) & very good & original smoothies. (Almond milk is the default, non-nut available). The breakfast menu looks good, must go back! Great service, tips included w/ cool option to pay it forward.

Pros: Tofu Chorizo! Smoothies

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Excellent - Edit

While visiting Squaresville USA, it was a tremendous relief to get a big plate of breakfast from a bunch of super posi punk kids. In lieu of tips they take donations to feed the homeless (of which there are many within a five block radius). Right on.

Pros: Friendly staff, Delicious all vegan menu, Beautiful space

Cons: No coffee machine (drip filter only)

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Good food - Edit

Best thing, the have breakfast all day long! So go for that oat meal at 6 PM! Awesome!

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Delicious! - Edit

Love this great vegan restaurant. Delicious food, great atmosphere and great location. I love the idea of donating food to the homeless instead of tipping because they pay their employees a living wage! Very friendly.

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Great first experience - Edit

I'm not from the area and I don't have a lot of vegan places where I live so going to a place that had all vegan options was great. I really enjoyed the chickpea melt! Service wasn't excellent but she also did look really busy.

Pros: Variety of options

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Delicious Food and Ethical Practices - Edit

This fully vegan restaurant is delicious! They have smoothies, teas, coffee, burrito toes, sandwiches, salads, raw options, soups, beans, tacos, and they serve breakfast all day. I had the large breakfast plate with French toast. The potatoes and tofu scramble were scrumptiously spiced and the French toast was the best vegan French toast I've ever had. My husband had the Reuben with tofu and said he bread was superb and he felt like he could stop eating Reubens if all vegan Reubens were like that. You need to bring coins for meter parking and it can take a minute to find out. Sometimes the line to pay at the counter gets a little long but it was worth it. You don't tip because the believe in paying fair wages and ask that you spend 2-3 bucks to buy a menu for a family in need. There menu is seasonal and local.

Pros: all vegan, taste, comfort food on menu

Cons: parking , busy at times

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Nice Atmosphere & Decent Food - Edit

The best things about Bartertown are that they are worker-owned, have knowledgeable/friendly staff, and source local ingredients. I sincerely applaud these aspects of the business. These are the reasons that I continue to eat there, especially later in the evening when other restaurants with vegan options are closed. Their food is good, but not spectacular. Much of it it typical vegan fare that can easily be made at home. I appreciate that they have gluten-free/vegan desserts with little added sugar, but am always disappointed by the overall taste and texture of the raw cheesecakes that I have had on a number of occasions. I keep wanting to like the desserts. When I go out for vegan food, I am looking for things that are different. Their main menu gluten-free options are quite limited, though the staff is good at pointing out substitutions and modifications. The latest remodel really cleaned up and improved the vibe of the place. If you are looking for reasonably priced food in generous portions, then Bartertown Diner is a great place.

Pros: Nice vibe, Friendly & Helpful Staff

Cons: Average food, Limited gluten-free offerings

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Don't bother. - Edit

Bartertown is very overpriced, especially since the food is something everyone could easily make at home. The quality of the food has been lacking the last few times I have gone (over cooked, included char from the flat top, a rock solid waffle...) and each trip seems to get a little worse. The staff has always been incredibly rude and off-putting. For example, my mother came to visit and we went there for breakfast. I failed to tell my mom that we have to go up to the counter at the end of the meal to pay, and when she asked the waitress if we could get the check the response she received was a very cold "are you kidding me?" I want to like Bartertown so much as it's the only place in town with a big vegan breakfast menu, but if the food is poor quality and the staff doesn't have a grasp on being polite and having basic manners, I don't see it as a place I will ever recommend.

Pros: Good location.

Cons: Terrible service, Sub-par food, Overpriced

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Had to make an effort to dine here on a quick trip to Grand Rapids. Parking was a challenge b/c I didn't have any change on me, but it was worth it! I stopped in, and after a few minutes, someone noticed me and invited me to sit anywhere. I said that I had never been there before (hoping for a recommendation...usually waitstaff will tell you what a place is "known for" or what their favorite is), but the waitress just handed me a menu and walked off. Everything on the menu looked good, so when she came back I ordered the herbed tofu sandwich with a garlic aioli and an iced chai on the side.
OMG- it came out quick, hot, and AMAZING. True to diner-style, it was greasy and messy, but SO DELICIOUS. I want to go back and try EVERYTHING, but alas, I was only in GR for a day.

Pros: Huge Vegan Selection, AMAZING flavor, Hot and Fast food

Cons: Parking, Service is mediocre, Music was VERY loud

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Awesome All American Breakfast! - Edit

Had some amazing pancakes, tofu eggs and tempeh bacon here with my family! The menu was great, not too overwhelming, and the pancakes were fluffy and light. A great place to do Sunday brunch or grab a bite to eat with friends. It also had some pretty cool decor that was street art themed!

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Simply a great place! - Edit

Bartertown, I love everything about it. Where were you while I was residing in downtown GR! Love the fare, the art and ambience. Charming and knowledgable staff. My mouth was watering from simply reading the menu, the taste, delicious!

Pros: diverse/changing menu, buys from LOCAL food sources, such great character

Cons: parking

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Wonderful Food! - Edit

Wonderful food with lots of flavor, great friendly service. Look forward to another visit next time I am in Grand Rapids!

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Great Vegan Diner with Vegetarian options - Edit

Awesome food and smoothies on a very casual environment. Everything I have tried has been very good and portions are generous also. Well worth the visit!

Pros: great food, great portions, friendly service

Cons: parking

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a must try!! - Edit

This place is my favorite. The best harty began food in town. They are ever changing but always great food items. I love the staff as well, they are attentive and informed.

Pros: best food, great service, large portions and low cost

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Awesome! - Edit

I just went there for lunch with my sister. I had 3 of the daily tacos which were wonderful but not exciting. My sister had the tostadas which I tried and it was very complex and tasty (collard greens were earthy while the salsa on top made my mouth go wow)! We also had the raw, gluten-free cheesecake for dessert (a bit pricey but well worth it) which topped everything we had before. We were slightly worried about seeing everyone paying cash because we didn't come prepared, but no, they have an app for that and we charged lunch with the iPad. Fab! Happy to find a place that was great. Highly recommend!

Pros: Excellent food, Good value, Fun atmosphere

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Very good! - Edit

We stopped by here for a late lunch and had a very enjoyable experience. A blueberry basil smoothie--creative and flavorful. Quite tasty! My husband had the Monstruo Verde, which was good. I had the Grandwich; I LOVED the beer cheese sauce. It was absolutely phenomenal. It was a little heavy on onions for my taste, but the overall effect was still very good. We really loved the ambiance--great atmosphere, friendly staff, and fabulous ideas and mission go into running and operating the diner. It was not the best vegan food we've had, but definitely worth the trip and still creative and unique!

Pros: Good food, Friendly staff, Unique/Admirable mission

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Great food and nice people! - Edit

My wife (who's vegan) and I both enjoyed our meals very much! I had the vegetarian tostada (at least I think that's what it is called on the menu) and my wife had the vegan chickpea sandwich. Both you good choices, and plenty of food. Plus, our server was very pleasant and took time to give us her personal opinions on what to order since it was our first visit. Overall it was a very pleasant experience! We'd definitely go back!

Pros: Price, Taste, Service

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The Best - Edit

Bartertown is the best restaurant in Grand Rapids, MI. Where else are you going to find farm-to-table vegan food at this price, where the staff seems to genuinely enjoy their lives, and the food tastes this amazing? I had a raw pecan maple bar here once that was a life-affirming experience. I love the specials, the $2 tacos, the ever-evolving menus. Not to mention the selection of hot sauce--my god, I LOVE ALL THE HOT SAUCE. The waitstaff is genuinely nice, the atmosphere is fun and cozy, and every time I eat here I leave feeling like a better human being for both supporting a great establishment, and for treating my body so well.

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