A Grand Rapids Classic Restaurant Memory of The Place to Dine, Hattem’s
It was a mainstay in the Grand Rapids restaurant scene for decades. Hattem's Cafe, originally a convenience store that opened its doors in 1910, grew to become one of THE places to dine in Grand Rapids after prohibition ended in 1933.
Hattem's was on the corner of Division and Wealthy, a thriving business district in its day, and when Prohibition ended, they got one of the first liquor licenses in the area and blossomed to become a complete restaurant and cocktail lounge.
In an article from Grand Rapids Magazine, GRMAG.COM, it's noted that Hattem's was the first Grand Rapids Restaurant to install something amazing to most people back in the '30s - AIR CONDITIONING! What an amazing difference it made, and people flocked to Hattem's because not only was the food good, and the drinks delicious, but it was COOL!
It's Way Too Hot!
So, food, cocktails, and Air Conditioning, were all good. But how could they spice up the place even more? Install an organ, of course!
Back in the 1930s, having some dinner music was a real treat. Okay, an organ is not what I would have thought of, but it became a real treat for diners, and again, people flocked to Hattem's.
Do you remember Maxine Hattem? What a lovely and dear person she was. She played piano and organ at so many functions and places around Grand Rapids, I think for nearly five decades. But she married Mose Hattem way back when, and began playing at the restaurant. Another major hit.
Sadly, Hattem's closed its doors in 1968. Times had changed dramatically with the 1967 Grand Rapids riots and racial unrest. The area had fallen on hard times, and changed immensely, so it was time to lock the doors and say goodbye to a Grand Rapids restaurant institution.
Flash forward. The Wealthy/Division intersection has changed a lot.
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