GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – We gave WOTV 4 Women viewers a daunting task, choose the best pizza place in West Michigan. After tons of nominations and votes, Spanky’s Pizza won! I took the 40 mile drive from my urban apartment in downtown Grand Rapids to peaceful Fremont to see what all the buzz was about.
“Everyone is your friend when you live in Fremont.”- Michelle Burt
According to owner, Michelle Burt, if you look up ‘hometown’ in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Fremont. Super supportive customers, friendly faces, and lots of pride! Pulling up to Spanky’s, you can tell it’s something special. The building is clean and sharp looking, with an amazing outdoor patio attached. Even before you walk in, you can smell the mouth watering aromas of fresh pizza. You enter into a family friendly atmosphere with a funky, retro vibe to the decor.
Meet the owner
Michelle Burt is the ultimate girl power success story. At 22 years old, she was working at a restaurant in Rockford and attending Grand Valley State University for teaching. Then, she received an interesting offer. The owner of the restaurant she worked at asked her to be part owner of Spanky’s Pizza. Michelle loves the restaurant business and making pizza, so at 22 she packed up and moved to Fremont to keep the business going. After one year, she took out a loan, became sole owner, and the rest is history (delicious, cheesy history!). Michelle said one of the hardest things about being a young business owner was the “Where’s your dad?” mentality. However, with all the supportive customers, Spanky’s continued to grow. As Michelle says, “Everyone is your friend when you live in Fremont.” This has helped keep the momentum of Spanky’s growing for the past 26 years of business.
Talking more about the business, Michelle explains that her favorite part of Spanky’s is giving back to the community. Whether it’s a school auction or a bowling competition, free breadstix or the chance to be a Spanky’s “star for a day” it’s all about getting involved and giving back. It’s easy to give when you own a pizza place, because everyone loves pizza (duh!).
“Quality ingredients, great service, specialty and traditional pizzas, no skimping” – Michelle
If you can’t tell from the aromas outside the restaurant, this is good stuff! Let’s start with the breadstix. This is something Spanky’s is known all over for, I mean they are “world famous”. Fun fact: Michelle is the only person who knows the secret recipe, which makes the breadstix that much better!
The dough is super fresh, light, and has a fantastic, tender chew to it. It’s topped with “crunchies” which is some sort of toasty, addictive goodness. They are served with a fresh, almost sweet marinara sauce that could make an old flip flop taste good. Overall, the breadstix start with awesome, homemade dough and are finished with all the right fixings. These are an absolute must during a visit to Spanky’s. You can also have the smells of Spanky’s in your own home! You can buy a package of frozen breadstix for $6.99 (crunchies included!). Full disclosure, I took a pack home and it was gone the next day.
What makes the pizza great is the same concept as the breadstix: Fresh dough, tasty toppings, and thoughtfulness put into each recipe. Even if you’re a “cheese only” fan, all the cheese used at Spanky’s comes a farm in Allendale. A difference you can definitely taste.
Fresh dough is made six days a week at the Spanky’s in Fremont. Watching Michelle knead a few rounds, you can really see the joy she has in what she’s doing. If you can’t decide on one slice, come try the pizza buffet every day for lunch. There’s a selection of all the best pies, plus endless buckets of breadstix!
A really neat thing that I appreciate about Spanky’s is that they are always trying new things on the menu. They now feature gluten free options and (top secret info) they have been experimenting with bread bowls. You read that right, tasty food from Spanky’s served in a bowl…made of bread…their breadstix bread! Keep an eye out for it on the menu in the fall.
I have to give the staff at Spanky’s a quick shoutout, they are rockstars! From the moment I walked in they were attentive, professional, and super friendly! Michelle gushed about how much she appreciates her staff and how she couldn’t do it without them. Taking care of your staff means they will take care of you and every customer that walks through the door. Michelle loves that, “everyone talks about Spanky’s like it’s their second family” which makes their team even stronger. People have met their spouses through Spanky’s (including Michelle!) and the loyalty is awesome to see. The longest employee, Jenny, has worked at the restaurant 24 out of the 26 years it’s been opened!
As you can see, with 26 years of pizza making experience, Spanky’s has earned their place as “Best Pizza in West Michigan”. This food is worth a visit, and don’t forget about their Ludington location when you go visit the lakeshore this summer. If you’re looking for phenomenal pizza, a family fun atmosphere, great staff, and passionate owner, look no further than Spanky’s!