On a gorgeous sunny Friday last month, this writer and the Revue team — aka The Merry Band of Millennials including Kelli Belanger, Rachel Harper, Nick Manes, Josh Veal and John Wiegand — decided to break out of the office to see what the breweries of Muskegon and Grand Haven had to offer. Here’s what we uncovered.
By the time you read this list, it will probably be inaccurate. Ten years ago, the arrival of a new restaurant concept in little ol’ Grand Rapids was an extraordinary, blessed occurrence. Now, it seems not a day goes by without the announcement of a trendy new brewpub, small-plate restaurant, beer garden, artisan cocktail bar, tasting room or gourmet coffee purveyor, often attached to a mixed-use development and usually accompanied by a sleek Squarespace website.
If you want to see Shelby Kibler’s eyes light up, ask him about the miracle of fermentation.
His Field & Fire artisan bakery, one of the Grand Rapids Downtown Market’s original tenants, specializes in a style of baking consistent with the ethics of the “farm to table” movement, employing a two-to-three-day fermentation period for all dough awaiting its turn in one of the bakery’s two enormous wood-fired ovens.
Jenna Arcidiacono, a self-proclaimed foodie, is the owner and founder of Amore Trattoria Italiana. Arcidiacono brings authenticity and passion in every dish at Amore, having learned from her own observations in Italy, working alongside her husband and mother-in-law while studying other ristoranti e trattories.
Amore’s specialty is simple but striking dishes. While seemingly simple in nature, her menu is packed with high quality, local ingredients.
The proud “farm-to-fork, fork-to-mouth” advocate chatted with Revue about her humble beginnings and what’s most exciting about West Michigan dining these days. Here’s what she had to say.
We do, in fact, want fries with that.
Once upon a time, you would never be able to consume a plate of fries in public without leaving a bit of your dignity at the door. But we now live in the age of Fancy Versions of Ordinarily Inexpensive Things, so fries have gotten serious, becoming a canvas that allows chefs to play around with interesting flavor combinations and seasonings. Check out this list of must-try fries, with something in Grand Rapids for every fry craving.
Jules Winnfield, Samuel Jackson’s gun-toting character in Pulp Fiction, once famously said, “Hamburgers! The cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast.” And while that was a scripted, flippant remark, a true burger addict would never turn down a mouthwatering patty at any time of day.
Luckily for you, Revue’s staff is stocked with extreme Hamburglars. Here’s some staff picks, detailing not only their favorite burger joints, but particular must-haves on their menus.
Maybe soon, West Michigan will finally get a Big Kahuna Burger… I hear they've got some tasty burgers. In the meantime, here are a few existing spots on Revue’s radar. —Rich Tupica
Of the pleasures that are acceptably indulged in public, few are more guilt-inducing than digging into a decadent dessert. Gluttony, after all, is the most measurably deadly of the seven so-called deadly sins.
But don’t you deserve to treat yourself? Who knows, maybe you don’t. Luckily, you don’t need our permission. What we can offer is guidance. Below is a list of top-shelf West Michigan spots that will fill the dessert-shaped hole in your life.
A handful of West Michigan craft breweries have started producing sour beers. Here is a (by no means exhaustive) list of some of the locally made sours and wild ales.
In America, the IPA reigns supreme among craft beer drinkers. But many beer lovers have discovered a new-found love for some of the oldest of beer styles that date back centuries to the earliest of brewing traditions in Europe.
Back in the day, brewers made sour beers and wild ales because that’s all they could make. They didn’t have the cultured brewers yeast that’s available today. Rather, they relied on the natural “bugs” and open fermentation to do its work.
The styles have undergone a renaissance in recent years and are growing in popularity among local breweries.
West Michigan native Mitch Ermatinger brewed award-winning sour beers at Denver-based Former Future Brewing Co. He and his wife, Whitney, have returned to the region with plans to launch Speciation Artisan Ales, an all-wild brewery. The pair are still working to identify a location in Grand Rapids but the plan is to open a taproom for a bottle release one day per month and later expand to weekly hours. In the meantime, Ermatinger is helping Harmony Brewing Co. to launch its own sour program.
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