These two must-try spots, perfect for a West Michigan summer night, are owned by a first generation Italian family and an active Walker firefighter.
WALKER, Mich. — There is no shortage of incredible restaurants in West Michigan. But with so many options, how do you choose where to indulge? I – Riley, a 13 ON YOUR SIDE digital producer – have set out to find the tastiest spots in the area and am documenting my journey in a series called 13 Eats.
13 Eats is all about highlighting the best restaurants in the West Michigan area. This week, I’m headed to Walker to try out two perfect destinations for a night out on the town – Alfano’s Italian Restaurant and Double Dip Depot.
Alfano’s Italian Restaurant is owned and operated by a first generation Italian couple. Starting out as take-out only, the restaurant is new to the dine-in game, but judging by the taste of their food, you’d think they’ve been doing it for decades. Each of their dishes are made from fresh ingredients with their tried-and-true family recipes.
Alfano’s Italian Restaurant
Double Dip Depot, an ice cream shack and putt putt hotspot on Remembrance, has the most incredible backstory that you’d never expect from looking at its neon signs and pink exterior. Owner James DeWinter, who is also an active Walker firefighter, began working at the ice cream shop as his first job when he was 14. On his first day, he told its previous owner that he would buy the shop one day. Now, nearly 15 years later, he and his wife run the shop with the same care and attention of their predecessors.
“My wife and I bought it three years ago, and we couldn’t be happier,” said DeWinter. “I hope this is my first job and my last job.”
The Double Dip Depot
I started my love affair with Alfano’s with the Grigilato Shrimp ($16.00), which has six large breaded grilled shrimp drizzled with a white lemon and caper sauce. The shrimp was cooked to perfection, with a little char on the breading that gave it a fresh, summery flavor. The sauce was creamy with a splendid little zing of lemon.
Next starter was the Pepperoni Pizza Swirls ($11.00), which includes 10 to 12 rolls served with a side of fresh marinara and creamy ranch. These are just a mashup of all my favorite things: layers of dough, parmesan cheese and garlic buttery goodness all swirled into one. I love how soft and savory the dough is with their light dipping sauce options and salty pepperonis. It’s definitely the perfect pregame to any Italian meal.
Starting out the pasta dishes strong, I tried the Linguine alla Pescatora ($18.00), which is beautifully peppered with shrimp, calamari, mussels and coated in a tomato sauce. I loved how light their tomato sauce was, letting the flavors of their incredibly fresh seafood shine in a bed of their homemade noodles. Truly, Alfano’s knows how to make a handcrafted pasta.
My second pasta dish was the Carbonara ($15.00), with pappardelle pasta tossed in a creamy egg sauce, crisp pancetta and Italian parsley. While it was a close race, this dish was my favorite meal of the day. I loved how the homemade noodles kept such a light texture, taking a backseat to the flavorful sauce. The creamy parmesan sauce paired wonderfully with the salty pancetta. Definitely a star among Alfano’s already stellar lineup.
Finally, I tried the Alfano’s claim to fame, their pizza. I tried the Deluxe Pizza ($20.25) with their homemade pizza crust loaded with ham, pepperoni, sausage, green peppers, mushrooms and onions. Let me tell you, this crust is immaculate. I loved how light and airy it was with a garlic flair. While all of the toppings had a softer texture, the crust had the most amazing crunch that makes you want to come back for bite after bite.
The Deluxe Pizza
While I was feeling quite stuffed from my personal Italian food extravaganza, everyone knows there’s always room for ice cream. Before I left Walker I had to try the famous soft serve at Double Dip Depot and try my hand at a round of $3 putt putt.
When I arrived, I tried out one of their Parfaits, which included vanilla ice cream, Oreo bits and hot fudge all piled up in a cup. I loved how the chocolate was layered into the cup so you would never hit plain vanilla ice cream. I would come back and order this everyday if I could. Classic, not overly sweet and, not to mention, absolutely delicious, this is the perfect treat for my fellow dessert lovers who are indecisive when faced with a large menu.
For my lactose-free friends, I had to try Dole Whip for the first time. I decided on a swirl of pineapple and raspberry flavor and upon first bite, immediately knew what all the hype was about. It still has such a super creamy, refreshing flavor that I never would’ve guessed it wasn’t real ice cream. Plus, with these flavors, I felt like I was eating a summer paradise right here in West Michigan. When they brought out a Dole Whip slushie with 7-Up on a sunny 80 degree day? Heaven. I highly recommend.
Both destinations I had the chance to visit in Walker are a treasure. I would highly recommend stopping by Alfano’s Italian Restaurant for a delicious carb-filled pizza and pasta dinner, Double Dip Depot for the perfect soft serve and ending the night burning it all off with a game of putt putt.
I love that these spots are so community-driven, with the people of Walker always at the heart of their craft. Both eateries are representative of the town itself – coming from humble beginnings, but through hard work and the power of community, have now established themselves as a main stake. Walker has the perfect destinations for a night out on the town all within half a mile from each other, waiting for you to visit on one of these amazing West Michigan summer nights to come.
Be sure to keep up with my 13 Eats journey to see where I’ll go next week!
► Alfano’s Italian Restaurant is located at 1389 Walker Village Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534
► The Double Dip Depot is located at 3284 Remembrance Rd NW, Grand Rapids, MI, 49534
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