An upscale steakhouse in a historic building downtown Grand Rapids is on the market.

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Merten's Prime (then called New Hotel Merten's) first opened at 35 Oakes St. SW in 2017. The restaurant was named for the hotel that opened in the same location in 1914.

The aim of owners Anthony and Sara Tangorra was to celebrate the history of the Grand Rapids building.

Merten's Prime, Facebook
Merten's Prime, Facebook

In 2018 Merten's Prime added a rooftop bar. In 2019, the bakery and coffeehouse Cafe Merten's opened.

Merten's Prime, Facebook
Merten's Prime, Facebook

In 2020, the restaurant was renamed and the menu revamped. The current menu is French-inspired with items like Escargot, Poutine, Whole Roasted Chicken, Duck Confit, Lamb Tagine, New York Strip, and Filet Mignon.

Merten's Prime, Facebook
Merten's Prime, Facebook

According to Crain's Grand Rapids, Tangorra is now looking to sell Merten's Prime because his vision for the restaurant "failed to resonate locally."

Tangorra tells Crain's,

I don’t think we got quite the response from the community leaders that we’d expect over the years. A lot of people … just didn’t get it or didn’t want to get it because they have other things to do. In sort of crude and very lazy terms, Mertens should be the Planet Hollywood of Grand Rapids history. And we openly pursued that goal.

He also has changed his focus to his consulting business and believes that has been detrimental to the restaurant. Tangora tells Crain's he hopes a new owner will carry on his vision for the historic restaurant.

Meten's Prime, Merten's Rooftop, and the now-closed Merten's Cafe are up for sale for for $450,000 plus the transfer of debt liabilities, which total more than $450,000.

Of the debt liabilities, Scott Nicholson at Small Business Deal Advisors, who has the listing, tell's Crain's:

They are very low interest and any buyer would rather assume them than pay cash or can actually get another loan to cover them.

The equipment, furnishings, and liquor license are all included in the sale.

Merten's Prime will remain open while it's for sale.

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Gallery Credit: Janna

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