Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

LaRoe's History

Menu stand picture*1970-1974 - I worked at a friends parent's restaurant, "Parmelees Par 4", while attending UT for business and food service.   Professor Franco Pajela was my mentor.

*1974-1977 - Don and Audrey Entenman [friends of our family from our church] ask me if I would like to lease a building they are restoring in Grand Rapids.  This was to be the beginning of The Village Ice Cream Shoppe.

*1977 - I walked across the street and asked if Rapids Tavern was for sale.  That was the beginning of LaRoe's Restaurant.

*1981 - The restoration begins on Rapids Tavern even though it was during the Carter years and interest rates were 21%.

*1982 - Flood waters invade Grand Rapids and LaRoe's with 2 feet of water in the restaurant.

*1982-2012 - The restoration projects continue with the gem being the addition of the Riverside Patio in 2009.

*2010 - In November an Astro van takes out the front of the restaurant.  No one was hurt and DeWalt Builders did a great job on preserving the look of LaRoe's.  Renovation was completed in April of 2011.


Telling the Tale

Dave's beautiful LaRoe's Restaurant truly has come from humble beginnings with some interesting circumstances.  From 1970 to 1974 owner Dave LaRoe was attending the University of Toledo studying business and food service.  Professor Franco Pajela was his mentor.  While a student at UT he worked at a friend's parent's restaurant, "Parmelees Par 4".  There he saw first-hand the intricacies of running a successful Flood Waters picturerestaurant.

In 1974 Don and Audrey Entenman entered the picture.  Don and Audry were friends of Dave's family through their church.  They lived in and were actively involved with the restoration of an old canal town along the Maumee River.  They approached Dave and asked if he would be interested in leasing a building they were restoring in Grand Rapids.  Dave soon opened The Village Ice Cream Shoppe and ran this store through 1977.

On a sunny afternoon in 1977 Dave walked across the street from his ice cream shop and entered the old Rapids Tavern.  "Was it for sale?" he asked.  The answer was "Yes."  That was the word that opened the gate for the creation of LaRoe's Restaurant.

Downtown ice pictureRestoration began on the old Rapids Tavern in 1981.  Jimmy Carter was president of the United States and interest rates were at 21%.  Even so, Dave had a vision for a multi-faceted destination where people could dine in both a casual and a more formal atmosphere.  Today's Tavern is for the casual, and the Dining Room accomodates those who desire a bit more formality.

Even when flood waters invaded Grand Rapids in 1982 and LaRoe's was home to 2 feet of Maumee River water and ice blocks sat on the downtown sidewalks as they had during previous floods, the spirit of LaRoe's Restaurant was not dampened.  And could the addition of a Chevrolet Astro van to the inside of the Tavern in 2010 stop the Van in Tavern picturerestorations?  No!  Repairs were made and restoration to this proud, historic building continued and still continues today.  LaRoe's has undergone a recent remodelling, and the addition of the Riverside Patio in 2009 almost completes Dave's vision.

Come to Grand Rapids and enjoy the village and the vision.  Whether its an early spring day, a cool fall night, or below freezing in the throws of winter, the warmth of LaRoe's restaurant will make you want to come back again and again. Why not start today?