Nestled in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, San Chez Bistro is a restaurant of ethnic flare and beloved by Grand Rapids. Opening their doors in 1992, they took Grand Rapids by storm, taking their love of tapas from Madrid, Spain to Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2018 owners Dan and Cindy Schneider saw another vision for the city and ROAM By San Chez was born.
We have had the honor of working with San Chez Bistro and Dan and Cindy for many years. From custom chef coats to t-shirts, numerous chefs and amazing servers and staff have served delicious food and drinks that we embroidered or screen printed right here in Grand Rapids. We wanted to dive deeper though to find out and share more of how San Chez and now ROAM came to be from Dan himself.
When did San Chez Bistro get started? What was the inspiration?
We opened in 1992. Our inspiration was traveling to Madrid Spain and falling in love with Tapas.
Why did you choose Grand Rapids to lay your roots?
Was born and raised here and started working in the restaurant business in 1980 when the Amway Grand Plaza was being built. Love the energy this city created around it.
What makes San Chez different than other ethnic restaurants in the area?
We really started the sharing plates here in GR but what sets us apart in my opinion is the quality of the foods-many local fare-and the training we give our staff. Not to mention our Sangria!
What’s something many people don’t know about San Chez?
The name San Chez means without home or house, which at the time it opened all owners had to mortgage homes!
What exactly are “Tapas”?
The word Tapas in Spanish is “top” or “on top” the story goes that when in Madrid and having a beer or wine in the local tavern they would but a piece of bread on top of your drink to keep the flies out. Then owners of the taverns would add a one bite of their special cheese, fish, chorizo sausage or potato salad that would be made in house.
So in Madrid you go from tavern to tavern have a drink and a Tapa…So much fun!
ROAM By San Chez opened their doors in 2018 and has given Grand Rapids the opportunity to explore the food of countries around the world without leaving the city. Serving up food from countires such as China, Morocco, Spain, France, Poland, the U.K., Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Mexico and more there is truly something for everyone.
How was ROAM by San Chez born?
Through our travels we fell in love with street foods (sounds like we love to eat doesn’t it?) and thought this would be a great fit for Grand Rapids and all who travel here.
What do you see in the future for San Chez and ROAM?
We hope to provide great service and food for years to come!
Written by Ashley Wright.