Matthew Russell of Wednesday Evening Cookies has a new gig that does not require dodging cars on his bike. Matt just opened Bread Square (8 Jefferson Ave. SE) as part of the Bartertown Diner Collective that he is a part of. Bread Square is a vegan bakery that fills a quality food niche in downtown Grand Rapids. Matt has been baking for seven years and will bake bread, but specialize in desserts, with many gluten-free options for your tender stomachs, my pets. In addition to the bakery, you will be able to find his baked goods at Bartertown as well as many groceries, restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques in the area. "This all started as just a hobby, so it's a good feeling to know that working honestly and with passion can eventually turn into something bigger," Matt said. Looking ahead, Matt wants to use Bartertown and Bread Square as institutions of vegan learning and community interaction.
Fine furniture purveyor Windsor Cottage is adding a new location. Having thrived in its Cascade location (2899 Thornapple River Dr.) for a quarter century, Owner Rick Santamaria is looking forward to opening a second store at 923 Cherry St. in Grand Rapids. This ain't no futon shop. The new 4,300-square-foot space will specialize in the resale of pristine-condition luxury-fine furniture and home accessories featuring manufacturers such as Kindel, Baker, John Widdicomb, Stickley, LaBarge and Herman Miller. "In my 15 years with this business, I do not recall anyone walking by our Cascade store and coming in. We have always been a destination spot," Rick said. When considering a second location, foot traffic was high on Rick's wish list. With hundreds of people patronizing the Green Well, Brewery Vivant, Maru Sushi and Grove daily, it made perfect sense to locate Windsor Cottage in the half block triangle in East Hills. Just don't tell shop-a-holic Miss Carolita.
Hungry? Head to Kalamazoo. The city's omnipresent Millennium Restaurant Group has announced two new concepts: the Panini Express (125 S Kalamazoo Mall), which opened in March, and Centre Street Tap House (3251 W Centre St.) in Southeast Kalamazoo, opening in the fall. While the Panini Express will be located next to the Union Cabaret and Grille, it will have its own identity – a food truck that never moves (like my Miss Lourdie on a school day). You will find quick lunch service and a menu that changes daily with warm, grilled-to-order sandwiches and a fresh selection of soups and salads. "We love the concept of food trucks. It's not what we usually do but this is our spin on it," said Bob Lewis, who is a Millennium partner. The Centre Street Tap House, meanwhile, will be a place for the beer lovers of Portage and beyond. The new 4100-square-foot restaurant's menu and atmosphere will be similar to downtown Kalamazoo's Central City TapHouse. Think gourmet burgers, hearty appetizers and an ever-changing line up of craft brews. Head south, beer lovers.
Now Free Market's all-seeing eye casts its flinty gaze West as it considers the tiny big-small city of Holland. After two years of planning, New Holland Brewing Co. has begun a $1 million expansion of its brewery (66 E 8th St). Renovations will include an expanded kitchen, revamped bar area, more taps, additional cask taps, family bathrooms (WHO BRINGS THEIR FAMILY TO A BREWERY?) and a beer garden with seating, an outdoor bar and a music stage."We are putting the same artful consideration into the details as we do our beer and spirits,"said Director of Chaos Dave White. The renovation will take place in stages, with the interior changes finishing up in the spring and the beer garden build finalizing by May 2013.
More New Holland: The brewery welcomes Steve Berthel as head pub brewer. Berthel previously smashed mash at Kraftbrau in Kalamazoo and The Livery in Benton Harbor. Look for Bert's signature Water Sign IPA.
Free Market asks: Why does Yesterdog's Bill Lewis keep chattering about Mr. Fables? According to our sources, Bill owns the recipes for Mr. Fables, which was the diner of choice when bellbottoms reigned supreme. Anyone want to build a couple new restaurants for Bill? He's got an olive sauce for you.
Look up! The exterior of downtown Grand Rapids' McKay Tower will get an early spring cleaning. The historic high-rise is undergoing some TLC, part of the building owners' long-term renovation plans. The exterior repairs will last through late summer.