Cafe Mamo, Grand Rapids, 9/28/23

exterior – 1601 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 

Cafe Mamo is a small place where the menu changes every week based on what they get from local farmers.  The couple that opened it in July 2021 are Chef Michael Goessman and Sommelier Summer Knoop.  On a corner lot, the building looks like a drive-through cleaners from the outside but inside is new and cozy.  Inside are seats for about 32 people at natural wood tables and chairs with a few seats at the kitchen counter and they added the patio that can house 16 more guests outside.  They named the cafe for Goessman’s garden-loving grandmother.   Windows look out to the street and patio while music plays indoors.  There was a full bar, nice wine selection and the Chef was in the house and managed to speak with all the guests at one time or another.  Service was helpful and enthusiastic which made for a delightful experience.  If you find yourself in this part of Michigan I would encourage you to try and have a meal here – the food is good and innovative and the menu changes regularly.


Frankie checked out the patio
wine storage / display
wine front
wine back



We ordered Rolls and butter to go with the Tomato Pumpkin Soup.  The rolls, two to an order, are a regular on the menu and served with good butter.  They are soft and doughy and presented with softened butter.  If you’re looking for crusty bread these won’t fill the bill but if you want a yeasty dough fix this is it.  The soup was thick and needed a touch of salt to clarify the flavor.  The pumpkin worked fairly well with the tomato but it needed a bit more seasoning to give it zest and depth.  It would rate okay.

Tomato pumpkin soup and rolls
inside rolls
closer soup


Spaghetti was dressed with midnight roma pomodoro and pecorino.  It was a flat cut spaghetti that was cooked nicely al dente in a good sauce.  Some browned breadcrumbs added a nice crunch and the sauce adhered well to the pasta.   A tasty pecorino cheese added flavor.  My objection to the plate was a price of $25 for what felt like a appetizer portion of food.  If I had ordered this as my entree I would have left hungry but as an appetizer it was good and tasty but seemed overpriced.



Half Chicken was served with garlic and baguette.  This plate was said to be a regular on their menu and it truly is a star.  It reminded me a lot of the Zuni Cafe’s chicken in San Francisco.    The skin was perfectly crisped and underneath the chicken was the baguette that had been soaked in the chicken juices.  It also absorbed some of the wonderful thicked jus that was plated with the chicken.  This was a plate of food to swoon over.  It had terrific flavors and textures and made you want to lick up every bit of it.

Half chicken


Porchetta Rosmarino came with a hearty salad and lemon, according to the menu.  It was thin slices of pork belly that were well seasoned with rosemary.  It was full of flavor and very tender with a tiny crispy layer on the edge.  The “hearty” salad was a mix of incredibly fresh greens that were dressed with oil.  The lemon on the side was great with them.  The plate was one with lots of flavors for the eater to savor.



Dessert was brown sugar Ice Cream with chocolate chunks topped with olive oil.  It came in 3 small scoops.  It was not a heavy creamy ice cream but still easy to eat and well flavored.  The olive oil topping was new to me and turned out to be a nice one.

brown sugar ice cream
Frankie posed with some wine

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