Osteria Rossa (16 Monroe Center NE) is downtown Grand Rapids' newest dining option. Translated as "the red tavern," the name reflects the fact that Chef Chris Perkey and co-managing partner Brittanie Bonham have created a casual, informal eatery that welcomes all. “We wanted to make it feel like we transplanted a traditional Italian family restaurant into the heart of our city,” Perkey said. With the motto, “Warmth of the Mitten, Soul of the Boot,” the restaurant offers small plates, wood-fired pizza and seasonal dishes. “Every dish has four or five ingredients, made simply, with nearly everything sourced locally or handmade in the kitchen,” Perkey said. Even the pasta is made in-house with little extra grooves to catch the sauce so it doesn’t end up on your pantaloons, my pets. One of the biggest sellers, the hand-tossed pizza, was the biggest challenge. The chefs worked hard to perfect the recipe and get the timing just right for the 800-degree ovens so that the crust is crisp with just the right amount of char. Diners will find a cozy bar for canoodling on one side of the restaurant and family style seating that encourages sharing on the other. Business has been so good, the owners have already had to expand the kitchen.
Lakeshore hopheads are lining up to bend an elbow at Pigeon Hill Brewing Company (500 W. Western Ave.), which opened in downtown Muskegon. Named after a massive sand dune, the popular tourist attraction fell victim to industrial manufacturing. Just like Muskegon. Owners Joel Kamp (who handles accounting), Chad Doane (head brewer) and Michael Brower (lawyer and marketing) recreated the golden age of Muskegon in their charmingly designed taproom, which includes sunny windows, wood accents and varnished knick-knacks. They even display objects from the historic Muskegon Brewing Company, donated by Cole’s Quality Foods. You won’t find any novelty flavors at Pigeon Hill. The owners simply craft beers that honor the style, but stand out from the crowd. Crowd favorites include Walter Blonde Ale, Shifting Sands IPA, Renegade White Double IPA, Motorboatin' Wheat and LMFAO (Let Me Fetch An Oatmeal) Stout. The one exception is the Oatmeal Cream Pie that you can have for only three Skee Bucks.
If nicotine floats your boat, Uptown Vape Shoppe (950 Wealthy St. SE) will satisfy your vaping needs. Housed in a chic space off Diamond Street in Grand Rapids, the shop doesn’t manufacture so it can focus on selling e-cigarettes, cutting-edge mods and exclusive boutique e-liquids. Uptown Vape currently carries a majority of the finest West Coast liquids by Five Pawns, Space Jam Juice, Drake's and Taste. You can also buy local by sampling luscious liquids by GR Vapes that offer a clean complexity. With a laid-back vibe, it’s a place to come in, hang out and vape with friends. Customers range from those coming in hoping to quit smoking to advanced users who build their own electrical coils and vape massive clouds. The shop’s friendly staff can help customers to craft their own liquid recipe based on flavor and nicotine level. They also educate about the vaping industry and teach how to safely use the products.“East Hills is a perfect fit for a shop like ours. The people are amazing and very welcoming,” said Scott Jewell, who works at Uptown Vape.
Colliers International | West Michigan (333 Bridge St. NW) recently moved onto the 12th floor of Bridgewater Place in downtown Grand Rapids. To celebrate, the real estate company threw an open house attended by local luminaries like MiBiz scribe Nick Manes, seen buttonholing the female staffers. “Moving into a building that we helped transform and reinvent is very exciting” said Director of Operations Jamie Stiles. Free Market got an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the ultra-modern space designed and constructed by Concept Design, Custer, Pioneer Construction and Via Design Inc. While stylish, the work environment also boasts a full suite of technological services like mobile printing and presentation display technologies intended to increase collaboration between colleagues and clients. Looking out the windows, clients and visitors can appreciate the budding revitalization of the Northwest side that Colliers helped make possible, including Habitat for Humanity of Kent County that is one of Colliers’ community partners.
Congrats to New Holland Brewing Co.’s Fred Bueltmann (aka The Beervangelist), who is now the brewery’s vice president of brand and lifestyle. Not sure what that is, but look for him to share New Holland’s brand and culture here and abroad.
We heard 138 acres of vacant land recently came to market that will transform the Hudsonville/Jamestown area. With six of the 11 parcels zoned commercial, dreams of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market dance in Free Market’s head.
The 2014 Downtown Holland Ambassadors have been announced, so if you are troubled in Tuliptown, look for Allison DeYoung, Barb Reidberger, Donald Martin, Justen Bowden, Kelsey Wylie, Paul Van Kolken or Rachel Syens for kind assistance.