Harmony Hall embodies heritage at new westside location

GRAND RAPIDS – After almost exactly two years in the works, the owners of Harmony Brewing Company opened their massive new restaurant and brewery, Harmony Hall, Oct. 6.

A steady flow of patrons filled, but did not crowd, the new space on its first day.

Harmony Hall has two floors of seating, 24 taps, and a menu full of different varieties of sausage. Its design is influenced by the building’s previous occupants, making for eclectic decor.

“We’re trying to honor not only the neighborhood, but the history of this building itself,” said Barry VanDyke, co-owner of Harmony Brewing Company.

The building’s exterior is painted to look classically Bavarian, which calls back to its origins as the Rauser Quality Sausage Factory. Brightly colored sculptures and original art from Little Mexico, the building’s last restaurant, adorn the first floor. The VanDykes have affectionately named it “The Monster Room.”

But Harmony’s style embodies its name—there’s nothing discordant about the German and Mexican influences in the decor.

Harmony Hall’s brewery, which is three times the size of the original system in Eastown, is also on the ground floor. Large windows frame the equipment for passers by on the street to admire.

The new system has twice the brewing capacity and three times the fermentation capacity. It will be used to produce Harmony’s mainstays.

“[Eastown] is where we’re going to do the smaller, more idiosyncratic batches of beer,” said Jackson VanDyke, co-owner of Harmony Brewing Company.

The new equipment enables Harmony to make Lagers, which require more temperature control than Harmony could previously accomplish. Harmony Hall will also be putting out more barrel aged brews. Right now, Jackson VanDyke says they’re preparing for a tequila barrel-aged Imperial Red IPA.

A walk upstairs leads to the main restaurant and beer hall, which feels simultaneously familiar and brand new. The open space is huge and has windows on every side; it isn’t as intimate as Harmony’s Eastown space. But it’s bedecked with potted greenery, lacquered wood, a pussy willow chandelier, and a giant Woosah mural. It’s still Harmony, but it’s Harmony on German-themed steroids.

The new space will be much more friendly for larger groups, said Harmony Employee Brian DenBoer. The view out of the front windows sweetens the deal even more.

“That’s what I’m most excited for, I think,” said DenBoer. “To have lunch with a friend and sit in front of the cityscape out there on a nice day. Get a little sun on your face.”


The sausages on the menu are diverse in inspiration. French, Korean, Creole, and German are just a few of the styles offered. DenBoer’s favorite is the Bulgogi, a Korean barbecue beef and pork sausage.

“The food here is amazing,” he said.

For now, a sit-down sausage lunch or dinner is what patrons will get at Harmony Hall, but Barry VanDyke says “phase two” of the expansion will entail sausage sold for retail out of the Monster Room.

Marie Orttenburger

Marie Orttenburger

An Upper Peninsula native, Marie’s passion for both Michigan and its beer is as bottomless as you wish your next pint to be. Relocating to Grand Rapids in 2010, her love for community, journalism and photography has played an integral role in shaping her professional and daily life. By day, Marie is currently employed as a technical writer/marketer. By night, her dreams are occupied by fields of hops filled with puppies and permeated by the melodies of local music.

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