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Goodwill partners with Downtown Market to bring comfort food to community

Blue Spoon Soup & Spuds, operated by Goodwill Industries, will open on April 16 and serve as a restaurant and catering training operation.

/Courtesy of Goodwill Industries

Underwriting support from:

Grand Rapids Downtown Market

435 Ionia Ave. 

Grand Rapids, MI 

(616) 805-5308 

Goodwill of Greater Grand Rapids has long operated a catering company called Blue Spoon, but are now making the move to Grand Rapids Downtown Market to expand the operation, currently located in Grandville, into a restaurant as well. 

The Blue Spoon catering operation has served as a training ground for the organization's Hospitality Work Experience program, which trains individuals in food service and preparation, and a source of revenue for the nonprofit. The company works to provide opportunities for long-term quality employment in the food industry, and Goodwill says they want to help that aspect of the program thrive in the Downtown Market.

The new restaurant, Blue Spoon Soup & Spuds, will still host the catering operation and training space, which will share the kitchen area with the restaurant. The restaurant will serve daily soups and made-to-order potatoes with self-serve toppings. 

Jill Wallace, Chief Marketing Officer of Goodwill Industries of Grand Rapids, says the company just thought that it was time for change for the catering operation and that moving to Downtown Market seemed like a natural move. 

“We felt that it fit within the demographics of the Market,” Wallace says. “Clearly the Downtown Market is a fantastic location.” 

Goodwill wanted to bring in a type of food that the Market didn’t already feature, so they decided on soup and potatoes as a way to bring a comfort food feel to the venue, according to Wallace. Soup & Spuds will offer daily soups that change seasonally and potatoes from producers in the community.

All of the proceeds from Soup & Spuds will go directly towards Goodwill Industries as a way to further the multiple job training and placement programs they operate.

For Goodwill, opening Blue Spoon Soup & Spuds is more than just serving food. Wallace says that the company wants people to really realize that Goodwill is a truly multifaceted organization.

“For us, we thought [the Downtown Market is] a great venue for us to try to educate the public,” Wallace says. “There are probably a lot of people that may be interested in [learning more] about Goodwill and we’ll hopefully turn them into advocates.”

Blue Spoon Soup & Spuds is opening April 16 and will host a grand opening April 23. For more information, visit the Downtown Market website.

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