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New Eastown eatery will serve up all local, all the time

Trillium Haven, a "farm-to-table" restaurant, opens July 7.
Owner Anja Mast giving a tour of Trillium Haven, a restaurant slated to open July 6.

Owner Anja Mast giving a tour of Trillium Haven, a restaurant slated to open July 6. /Alissa Krumlauf

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Wood work inside of Trillium Haven.

Wood work inside of Trillium Haven. /Alissa Krumlauf

The restaurant's bar.

The restaurant's bar. /Alissa Krumlauf

Straight-from-the-farm organic fare will dominate the menu at Trillium Haven, a new restaurant that opens next week in Grand Rapids' Eastown neighborhood.

“We know that there are many people in Grand Rapids interested in organics, sustainable agriculture and building a green future,” said co-owner Anja Mast. “Many of these people wish to support those values when they eat out and we think the market is ready for a more sustainable plate.”

Farmers, owners and wife-husband team Mast and Michael VanderBrug will stock the restaurant almost entirely from their Jenison farm when it opens July 7.

The restaurant, located at 1429 Lake Drive in the 85-year-old Kingsley Building, will highlight local seasonal produce available throughout the year, even in the winter. Besides the local and sustainable aspects, the owners aim to please the palate.

Chef Joel Wabeke, just back to West Michigan from  four-star Chicago restaurant Balena, hopes to create dishes that inspire while also offering vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices. Prior to his time at Balena, Wabeke spent five years in the JW Marriott, downtown Grand Rapids.

Trillium Haven's bar will have champagne and red wine on tap, along with other Michigan wine and beer options.

The restaurant will collaborate with budding farmers to supply additional produce and meat as needed. Mast and VanderBrug consider this an opportunity to have a positive economic impact on young farmers who share the passion for sustainable agriculture and, in particular, other community-supported agriculture farming models. A possible “Young Farmers Chicken Co-Op” is in the works with former Trillium Haven farm interns to raise chickens for the restaurant while testing out grass-based farming.

Mast and VanderBrug hope that their collaborative efforts with other sustainable farming initiatives will help the restaurant provide delicious food and open the eyes of anyone not yet convinced of the joy of eating local, organic and seasonal foods.

“Change is hard but change can be delicious as well,” said Mast.

Trillium Haven's facebook page has some additional photos and updates about the progress of the restaurant.

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