Arts & Entertainment and Food Service & Agriculture

Restaurant Week gets ready to serve local goodies

Downtown Market is offering a Saturday cooking series with local chefs.

July 5, 2013
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Restaurant Week gets ready to serve local goodies
Bistro Bella Vita is one the restaurants that participates in Restaurant Week GR.

(As seen on WZZM TV 13) Local chefs, locally grown foods and the local food-service industry are in the spotlight this summer thanks to Downtown Market and Experience Grand Rapids.

Experience GR will present its fourth annual Restaurant Week Aug. 14-24. The 11-day event is off to a good start, as 65 restaurants have already signed up to participate. Fifty-one are returning while 14 are new to the event.

“This number is expected to grow as we near the start of another successful Restaurant Week Grand Rapids event. We’re now in our fourth year, and this year feels like the biggest year ever,” said Janet Korn, vice-president of marketing for Experience GR, in a statement.

Korn said the event’s focus is on “savoring the summer harvest farm-to-fork style,” meaning each restaurant will create menu items that feature products grown in the region to showcase. Locally grown tomatoes, beets, onions, carrots, watermelons, berries and peaches will be used in menu items.

In addition, local chefs will create meals with perch and whitefish taken from the Great Lakes, along with grass-fed and organic beef, lamb, pork and chicken. Local breads, honeys and ice cream will also be part of the Restaurant Week menus, as will products made by local brewers and distillers.

“August is a great time to dine out in the Greater Grand Rapids area. Not only will over 65 participating restaurants have the freshest local vegetables, fruits and meats on their menus, but many of them will be pairing great wines, brews and spirits with their menus to enhance the dining experience,” said Doug Small, Experience GR president, who brought the event here when he arrived from Denver.

The event will again offer three-course meals for $25, and some restaurants will offer two three-course meals for $25. The restaurants will reveal their menus July 15 at restaurantweekgr.com.

Participating restaurants will donate $1 from every meal sold to the scholarship fund at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College, which has produced many of the local chefs that are designing and preparing the event’s meals. Over the past four years, the event has donated nearly $60,000 to the fund.

Bistro Chloe Élan, Bombay Cuisine, Crooked Goose, El Barrio, El Granjero, Grand Rapids Brewing Co., Green Restaurant, G’s Grill, Ju Sushi Lounge, Kitchen 67, Licari’s Sicilian Pizza Kitchen, Lindo Mexico Restaurant, Rezervoir Lounge and Trattoria Di Stagione are participating for the first time.

The Downtown Market, located at the corner of Logan and Ionia SW, is featuring free weekly cooking demonstrations from local chefs every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. on the market’s Terrace through Aug. 31.

Chef Chet from San Chez Bistro, which is participating in Restaurant Week, will show how parents can get their kids involved in the kitchen this Saturday. The following Saturday Chef Char Morse will explain how local fresh ingredients can be used to improve comfort food. Downtown Market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

This is the second consecutive year Restaurant Week has been held in August. The event took place in November the first two years. Last year, 61 restaurants participated and more than 18,000 meals were served during the event.

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority co-sponsors Restaurant Week with Experience GR. Local businesses also provide financial support.

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