I guess the Beat Does Not Go On. With Kangaroo Kitchen & Catering (1007 East Fulton St.) set to replace the forlorn hip-hop mixtape purveyor, the Fulton Heights food scene is looking up. Chef Roman Petrack is endlessly fascinating, like if James Bond became a globetrotting restaurateur. A son of a renowned pâtissier, he was born in New Zealand and raised in the Netherlands and Australia. He studied in the Culinary Arts Institute of Tasmania and worked in award-winning kitchens in Tasmania and Queensland, both in Australia. When he moved to the US, of course he set aside his toque to work at an animal shelter in Denver. Deciding to get back into the kitchen, he became a personal chef for professional athletes in the NBA and NFL in St. Louis. His wife moved to Grand Rapids to establish her plastic surgery practice, so Chef Roman continued working as a personal chef for two more years in West Michigan. Then the ratchet record shop on Fulton Street opened up. Chef Roman closed on the building in December and is working with Roots Construction, Dixon Architecture and Merchandise Equipment to open Kangaroo Kitchen in April.
The gourmet take-out and catering kitchen will offer an eclectic-yet-approachable ever-changing menu with flavors from around the globe and an emphasis on local produce bought at the Fulton Street Farmers Market blocks away. In addition to foods prepared as you wait, Chef Roman will offer grab-and-go items in the deli case. The boutique-style catering service will focus on food quality and personalized attention. Start planning that cocktail party, my pets.
When Poppa Steve was a mere tyke in Detroit, his saintly mom would kick him outside during summer vacation, toss him a couple sharp sticks and hardtack, and tell him not to come back until the leaves start to turn grey (it was Detroit, after all). You cannot do that anymore. That is why Jester's Court Party and Play Center (3707 Northridge Dr. NW) in Grand Rapids exists. At 22,000 square feet, Jester's Court is West Michigan's largest indoor child entertainment center. Owners Monica and Aaron Wright started the business because they wanted to create a fun and safe place for their own young children. You will find eight to 10 mammoth inflatable slides, obstacle courses, jumps and a 1,500-square-foot Softplay jungle gym. They also have designed an interactive video game system that teens love. The Toddler Court has toddler-sized inflatables and a safe play area for children three years and younger. All the inflatables are made with the highest-quality materials and the Wrights are persnickety about cleanliness, so you can feel good about letting your bashful brood get its bounce on.
Teens and adults can fly at Sky Zone Grand Rapids (3640 29th St.). Imagine a seemingly endless sea of trampolines, all connected to form one massive trampoline surface. Now, imagine that surface enclosed with angled trampolines that allow you to bounce off the walls. Just like when mom accidentally gave you mocha cappuccinos in kindergarten! With the first Sky Zone built in 2004, they know how to have high-flying fun. This 3-D play experience can be enjoyed by just about any age, shape or physical ability. Start free-styling in the open jump, which is a favorite of the bouncy and jiggly Miss Carolita. Join a 3-D dodgeball game and release your inner third grader. Or, get serious with the SkyRobics fitness classes. Sky Zone is not only fun, it is healthy and great for families and group outings.
After all that exercise, you will want to join the Amway Grand Plaza Supper Club (187 Monroe Ave. NW). The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel has had a dining membership program for years, offering discounted meals at Cygnus 27, Bentham's, GP Sports and Lumber Baron Bar. Last year, the membership program was extended to include Amway properties such as the JW Marriott and Downtown Courtyard by Marriott. The club's benefits now include buy-one-get-one-free dinner entrees at six.one.six, 20 percent off breakfast and lunch and six.one.six, and 20 percent off all food and beverage at The Bistro in the Courtyard by Marriott. The program was named the Supper Club to reflect the "club" culture that had developed along with the program, as many members see each other at the participating restaurants and at the special members-only events. Join the "in" crowd and enjoy some of the best dining and exclusive events in Grand Rapids for only $129 per year.