Remember Sam’s Joint? Some of the Best Ribs in Grand Rapids!
Restaurants come and go around here. It's a tough business and only the tough survive. One of my favorites over the years, and one that was a survivor, was Sam's Joint. An eclectic collection of memorabilia and good food, especially those ribs!
Sam's began very simply in 1977 in Caledonia. Sam Bravata was a jazz saxophonist and would invite friends and neighbors over for music. Since he was a gourmet cook, he would serve up plates full of his wonderful ribs and soon his restaurant was born.
Sam had a big farm house full of antiques and junk, so he hang stuff all over his first place to cover up the holes in the walls and ceiling. It became too much fun for the customers and he added more antiques and crazy things to other Sam's Joint locations even though there weren't any holes to cover up in the new places.
The last place I remember in his small chain of restaurants was what was the Victoria Station in Kentwood. He figured he should rename it and called it the Kentwood Station.
Eventually, as the story goes, management issues got the best of his restaurants and with the family not wanting to run them, they closed one by one to be no more.
But the memories still exist for many today. First dates, the shrimp dinners along with fish, burgers and the killer ribs kept bringing folks in for many years.
Sadly, the Sam's BBQ sauce was available in stores for awhile, but that seems to be gone too.
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Gallery Credit: Kiersten Hickman