The Rapidian

Restaurant Week GR 2011: Farm to fork

This year's Restaurant Week Grand Rapids features a few new additions to keep things fresh.
Underwriting support from:

Restaurant Week 2011

Some of the local farmers/producers in Restaurant Week to keep an eye out for are:

Mud Lake Farm

Founder's Brewing

Harrieta Hills Trout

Dancing Goat Creamery

Creswick Farms

Grassfields Cheese

Palazzolo Artistan Gelato

Fresh tomatoes

Fresh tomatoes /Steven Depolo

Greenwell Ribs

Greenwell Ribs /Steven Depolo

Food from Brewery Vivant

Food from Brewery Vivant /Steven Depolo

Foodies  and people who love to eat out--rejoice! Restaurant Week Grand Rapids is back for a second year with new places to eat, a focus on the farm to fork connection and some new ways to test out the event.

Starting Thursday, November 3 until Sunday, November 13 more than 70 Grand Rapids area restaurants will feature special menus, special prices and other treats to entice people to eat out often during the eleven day event. Like last year, most of the restaurants will feature a three course meal for $25. Some have opted to add a 2-for-$25 menu that gives the budget conscious the opportunity to join in the food fun. It also gives less formal restaurants the opportunity to participate. Most of the restaurants in this year's run will be offering dishes which feature foods grown or raised in West Michigan.

According to Doug Small, Experience Grand Rapids president, the community has long embraced the farm to fork movement. "What sells an overall community is the the overall appeal and the culinary scene is part of that appeal. Grand Rapids has been a leader in, a vocal leader in the pride we have in regional food sources that our restaurants use. We wanted to elevate the promotion of that concept to help differentiate ourselves," said Small. "When we bring in convention and meeting planners to Grand Rapids (Experience Grand Rapids' primary business) they want an authentic experience. They want something that is unique or one of a kind to find the real flavor of the city. Fortunately for them and us, when they planner come to Grand Rapids they are able to find that--pretty obviously--on the menus in our restaurants," he said. Even the chain restaurants that are independently owned often try to source food locally. "So through Restaurant Week not only we are celebrating that, but we are encouraging restaurants that don't do [local food] to try to go that route."

This year 13 new restaurants have joined in the event. Keeping with Grand Rapids' charitable culture, participating restaurants will donate $1 from each three course Restaurant Week meal or the 2 for $25 special to support a scholarship fund at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College. Last year's event raised $19,000 to start the fund.

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