I love that the city of Grand Rapids keeps growing and new business are popping up all the time.

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But if I'm being honest, I miss how things were when I first moved to Grand Rapids in 2007.

I had just turned 21 and was working my first full-time radio job at Thunder 94.5

I didn't know anyone and was trying my best to make friends and hopefully find a West Michigan girl who wasn't already married to her high school sweetheart.

Ionia Ave. helped me fall in love with this amazing city and make lifelong friends.

I Wish We Could Have The Old Ionia Ave Back

I was talking to my friends recently about all the fun we used to have in our 20s on Ionia Ave.

There were several places where I spent my Friday and Saturday nights with those friends making memories I'll never forget.

My Bar on Ionia Ave
Credit: Google Maps
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My Bar was located at 1 Ionia Ave SW and after it closed down Grand Rapids Brewing Company set up shop, They too are now unfortunately closed after a fire.

The one night I'll never forget is when a girl walked up to me and gave me her phone number. I thought she was really hot and liked Michigan State so I was all in.

We only dated for a few months but it would have never happened if it wasn't for My Bar.

The Tap House on Ionia Ave
Credit: Google Maps
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I was never a huge fan of The Tap House, but I do remember some crazy nights with my friends. I also believe there were half naked woman dancing in the window.

J. Gardella Tavern
Credit: Google Maps
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Gardella's was one of my favorite places to grab a drink with my radio friends after we finished our morning shows.

I brought my Grandma here on a crazy Friday night and she helped close down the bar with us.

Georgio's Pizza on Ionia Ave
Credit: Google Maps
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I'm not sure if you're starting to notice a pattern here but some of my favorite places involved booze and food.

Georgia's Pizza was always packed at the end of the night as bars closed down and people made their way home.

I had many late nights and early mornings with friends at Giorgio's eating Mac & Cheese Pizza and breadsticks.

McFadden's Irish Pub on Ionia Ave
Credit: Google Maps
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I'm glad there's no video evidence of how bad of a dancer I was as I attempted to flirt with GVSU girls on the dance floor at McFadden's

Ritz Coney on Ionia Ave
Credit: Google Maps
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If I could only bring back one place that is no longer open on Ionia Ave it would be Ritz Koney.

I'd meet up with my friends and teammates after kickball, dodgeball, and softball games.

Ritz Koney became our hang-out spot and we would always go there for some coney dogs, cold beer and to watch a Spartans game.

Credit: Ritz Koney via Facebook
Credit: Ritz Koney via Facebook
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Credit: Ritz Koney via Facebook
Credit: Ritz Koney via Facebook
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Today I find myself spending most of my time at bars on Michigan Street or Bridge Street.

Ionia Ave will never be the same but I'll always have those memories.

New West Michigan Restaurants

Nearly 40 new restaurants, including authentic Mexican eateries, breakfast joints, pizza places, and Boba shops have opened in West Michigan in the past year.

How many have you been to?

Gallery Credit: Janna

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