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Local food advocacy nonprofit colleagues enjoy farm to table dishes at Trillium Haven

Neighborhood

Trillium Haven and Slow Food

Trillium Haven

Specialties
Lunch
Dinner
Drinks

Hours
Tuesday through Thursday 11am to 10pm
Saturday 10am to 11pm
Sunday 10am to 3pm

Where
1429 Lake Drive, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49506

Parking
Parking lot -- accessible from Robinson Rd SE

Price
$10 to $30 dollars per item

For more information please visit their facebook page

Slow Food

Slow Food West Michigan is a 6-year-old local volunteer based nonprofit firmly rooted in the central west Michigan community that has state, national and global reach through their national and international parent networks – Slow Food USA and Slow Food International.

The Slow Food organization desires to see food that is as good in flavor as it is for the body, the environment, and the people who grow it, pick it, and prepare it. Slow Food works to educate its members and communities and by collaborating with food growers, distributors, artisans, and other nonprofits. This nonprofit educates participants through various events such as farm to table dinners, food production tours and its book club.

This Slow Food organization will also bestow its “Snail of Approval” upon different businesses that embody the Slow Food ethos. Trillium Haven makes a good candidate for this nomination.

THE FEED

In the realm of farm to table foods, my colleagues with Slow Food West Michigan and I found the new Trillium Haven restaurant to offer exceptional dishes within its unique concept.
Trillium Haven drinks. Right to left: hard cider, Trillium Haven's old fashioned lemonade style water pitcher, raspberry mojito

/Timothy Linscott

Trillium Haven drinks. Right to left: hard cider, Trillium Haven's old fashioned lemonade style water pitcher, raspberry mojito


One of Trillium Haven's flatbread pizzas

One of Trillium Haven's flatbread pizzas /Timothy Linscott

This "Snail of Approval" recognition is awarded to various businesses which adhere to the Slow Food philosophy

This "Snail of Approval" recognition is awarded to various businesses which adhere to the Slow Food philosophy /Slow Food West Michigan

Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported

As disciples of the slow food movement, some Slow Food West Michigan (SFWM) colleagues and I visited the new farm to table Trillium Haven restaurant, which officially opened on July 7.

This visit allowed my colleagues and I to talk together about what it means to have good food.

SFWM works to promote food that is good, clean, diverse, sustainable, accessible and fair. Trillium Haven works from this same culinary ethos.

Trillium Haven is “like a marriage between a farm and a restaurant,” said Cindee Dresen, president of SFWM. 

Dresen explained that many do well to incorporate the farm to table concept, and Trillium Haven excels here because they run both the restaurant and the farm, formerly used for community supported agriculture (CSA)

Trillium Haven uses outside local businesses for some things which do not come from their farm, such as cheese and wine. For example, most of Trillium’s salads are made with cheese made by local cheesemaker Veronica Phelps of Dancing Goat Creamery, who also happens to be a member of SFWM. Dresen elaborated that doing this reduces their carbon footprint by decreasing the number of outside providers needed to acquire ingredients. 

Food and drink

Slow Food also advocates eating foods in season because not only are they more healthful but also more flavorful.

As beets were in season until October, a SFWM colleague ordered their beet margarita. It had a “fresh beet smell to it,” she said. 

During my first visit in July, raspberries and blackberries were in mid-season, so I ordered a raspberry mojito. The drink came in a canning jar, reminiscent of preservation and of eating in season. The most delicious part was the rum-bathed raspberry.

The drinks at Trillium Haven, available both at the bar and by order, were handpicked by Amy Ruis, owner of the Art of the Table on Wealthy Street. She is also a founding board member of Local First West Michigan. The wine list is unique as it represents a collection of family and artisan winemakers.

Our overall favorite dish was the Tuscan Kale Caesar Salad. A generous portion of hearty, crunchy, earthy kale combined with an equally delectable portion of Caesar dressing made this dish circle our table all evening.

Their popular flatbread pizzas come fresh from their open kitchen. These fresh flatbread pizzas do not arrive flimsy or hard. Their crust is a perfectly oiled soft bed that provides just the right amount of crunch and charring on the bottom. 

Price and service

One can expect to pay from $10 to $30 dollars per item. However, a group of four can split the cost for a couple of flatbread pizzas and a dessert for around $10 dollars each, tip included. Drinks, salads and entrees can be added onto this. When we asked to split the bill in this more complex way, not only did the server agree to do this, she followed it to a tee.

Ambience

My SFWM friends and I were able to converse openly inside Trillium Haven, our voices drowning with others' voices amidst the old tall ceilings, brick and cement walls, metal piping, and uncovered floors of the building, which do not absorb sound well. These things also gave the atmosphere a pleasantly rustic feel. Even so, the atmosphere has a very contemporary tone.

Our conclusion

My colleagues and I have also visited Trillium Haven at different times. Our collective experience has been mostly positive. I expect that no matter what season one visits Trillium Haven, their dishes should be delicious.


Laura Chittenden

Reports on: local life, news, food culture

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