Posted by Andrea | Posted in American, BBQ, Restaurant | Posted on 16-06-2010
Many people may think of Sandmann’s as a Wealthy street staple. A BBQ joint on the corner, tables for outdoor seating, and one of the first restaurants to embrace what has now become a rejuvenated “Uptown” area.
Most people come for takeout, or eat outside, as the inside is pretty small. You order at one window and pick up your food at the next.
The menu is quite large, but almost everyone in our group ordered chicken, ribs, rib tips, or a combination of two. Dinners come with 2 sides and bread, although we realized later that we didn’t get any bread (which is too bad because I’ve heard the corn bread is excellent!) Sides consisted of baked beans, potato salad, fries, etc. It ends up being a good deal of food for around $10-$12.
Meals were generously slathered with BBQ sauce, which is a big plus to a BBQ junkie like myself. Some were surprised there was only one flavor of sauce to choose from, but all agreed that one sauce was very tasty.
I should warn future diners that while we were there they ran out of ribs and chicken, leaving some patrons with a 40 minute wait for fresh dinners to be prepared. Everyone in our party had already been served at that point, so it didn’t affect us. Just be warned that on busy nights you might want to come early to get a taste of the BBQ goodness. I should mention that for a Tuesday night they had a steady stream of traffic with the line out the door at times. Some members of our party thought the staff inside could have smiled a bit more, but perhaps they were all business because they had droves of people waiting in line to order.
We were lucky last night as the weather permitted us to dine outdoors at the picnic tables. Everyone found the atmosphere to be pleasant as the building is unique and there is a little garden area right near the tables.
We were pleased to meet the owner just as we were leaving, which delighted me because I was curious as to the history of the building and the restaurant. Ursula Mann-Sandifer has owned Sandmann’s for 10 years. The first 4 years they operated the business across the street in the parking lot of a building which they had limited access to. You may remember driving down Wealthy, seeing people smoke BBQ right out in the open – that was Sandmann’s. 6 years ago Ursula decided to purchase the building across the street, which was a car repair shop dating back to 1929. As her friends shared with us, this was an old, run down building in pretty bad shape. They added that no one could see what Ursula saw in the dilapidated, boarded up building. As you can see from the photos, she utilized the character of the building and created an amazing transformation.
I have to admit, talking to Ursula really made the experience for me. She was an exceptionally pleasant woman with a big smile, she thanked us for our business, and was more than happy to chat with us for quite a while about Sandmann’s.
I understand that Sandmann’s does a lot of catering and I can imagine this would be the perfect meal solution to any summer, outdoor-style event. They even do weddings. Had I known this when I got married, you can bet there would have been some BBQ catering going on…rib tips for all! Oh, and check them out on any given Sunday, for Soul Food Sunday. It runs 12-6 and you can bet it’ll be hopping!
In closing, I personally liked Sandmann’s a lot. I thought the atmosphere was unique, the food was good, and Ursula had an interesting story to go along with it. Sandmann’s was definitely a great addition to our search for Grand Rapids’ best locally owned restaurant.
PS. You can even see Ursula in the background of this photo!