MDRD Restaurant at Amway Grand, the Spanish-inspired crown jewel atop Grand Rapids’ premier historic hotel, providing a dramatic and energetic experience in an exclusive atmosphere with sophisticated global flair.

Located in the heart of Grand Rapids, MDRD is a three-story restaurant that offers guests Spanish-influenced cuisine and sweeping views. At the pinnacle of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, the 27th floor encompasses the main dining and bar area while the 28th and 29th floors are dedicated to private dining rooms. The restaurant design concept for MDRD at the Amway Grand is derived from the avant-garde mood of Spanish carnivals, which celebrates the culture of Spain with festivities before Lent. The theatrical ambiance and ornate details of the restaurant’s interiors encourage diners to experience heightened social unity and shared moments, creating an exclusive atmosphere with sophisticated global flair.

It all began with a love for Madrid. This passion for a city brimming with culture and cuisine inspired the Spanish-centric menu and provided a vibrant, celebratory starting point for the design of the newly renovated MDRD Restaurant at Amway Grand. Gensler set out to create an energetic, artful experience that offers design and dishes one would expect in a major city while also providing an accessible, decidedly unstuffy environment where locals can relax and enjoy good food and good company.

The fresh design approach allows visitors to select from a variety of experiences depending on the group or occasion. The social lounge near the entry invites diners to pop in for small bites and cocktails, enjoying a cozy atmosphere and a stunning vantage point to enjoy the sunset. Beyond the lounge is the bar, which connects the lounge to the dining area. Plush niches and elongated barstools for two complete the space, offering the ideal setting for date night, while a long banquette allows for casual dining.

Every seat is the “best seat in the house” in the dining area. Situated along the new glass facade, the space is designed with a unique terraced seating element, offering city and river views for all who visit Grand Rapids’ restaurant in the sky. A custom tile installation spills through the dining and bar areas, reminiscent of falling confetti and the classic costumes associated with Spain’s famous Carnival celebration. Custom lighting hangs above, a modern take on the hoops and batons of street performers.

The renewed space expands private dining options at MDRD, increasing private rooms from three to five. Each is themed based on one of the many cultural experiences and historic moments Spain is known for, including the Chueca High Heel Race, the matadors of Salamanca, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, renowned heroine Agustina de Aragon, and the El Rastro flea market. Large-scale, textural artwork adorns the walls to bring the concepts to life.

“MDRD was a natural progression from the Spanish menu Cygnus offered,” says George Aquino, vice president and managing director of AHC Hospitality, the management company behind Amway Grand Plaza and MDRD. “We wanted to capture the essence of Madrid with this new design, so we hired the best in the business, Gensler Chicago, to interpret the ‘Rhythm of Madrid’ into the concept. What we accomplished is the restaurant’s ability to transport our guests into a refined interior space that reflects a modern Madrid restaurant.”

Project: MDRD Restaurant at Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
Location: Michigan, USA
Design Studio: Gensler
Photo Credits: Dan Ham Photography

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