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Grand Rapids Insider

Grand Rapids Insider

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Caponata - Thanksgiving in Grand Rapids, MI

Thanksgiving Inspiration from a Caterer, a Culinary Educator & a Baker!

Bright Autumn leaves, jack-o-lanterns, and mums are giving way to one of the best days of the year: Thanksgiving. Last year, I wrote about a locally-sourced from scratch Thanksgiving. Your cornucopia ...more

Posted November 20, 2014
 Cooking Classes icon

Long before "farm to fork" became a national catchphrase, Grand Rapids restaurants were sourcing fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products from area farmers. The ready availability of quality food is one reason we've always had a much larger community of locally owned restaurants than other cities our size. Today, our local dining scene is more vibrant than ever, making Grand Rapids a true foodie destination.

High Growth Area

Lake Michigan creates a unique micro-climate throughout West Michigan. This huge body of water moderates temperatures throughout the year to provide ideal growing conditions for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. (Michigan produces a broader variety of produce than any state except California.) Hundreds of family farmers work the land and provide restaurants (and residents) with an abundant supply of just-picked awesomeness.

Culinary Instruction

 The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College is one of the nation's most respected culinary schools. Students come to Secchia from around the country and around the world, and many choose to ply their trade in local restaurants after graduation. You can get a taste of the school's curriculum at
The Heritage Restaurant, an affordable fine dining establishment staffed by culinary students.

Home cooks and culinary enthusiasts can take advantage of Secchia's GRCC Cooks program, which offers a wide variety of classes. Culinary classes are also available at Downtown Market Grand Rapids, Bekins Cooking School, Thought Design and D&W Fresh Market.

Downtown Market

Fresh food meets culinary innovation at Downtown Market Grand Rapids. This state-of-the-art facility, built in 2013, offers a year-round indoor market hall of artisan food vendors, a massive summer outdoor market, cooking classes, culinary events and more.

Farm Markets

Dozens of additional farm markets throughout the area help keep restaurant and resident pantries well stocked - starting with the Fulton Street Farmers Market, just a mile from downtown Grand Rapids. Others include the 30+ farms constituting Fruit Ridge Country Markets. Many sites offer you-pick opportunities as well as just-picked selections.

Foodie Events

Grand Rapids hosts a number of delectable food festivals each year, including:

Drink Up

Grand Rapids is a beer fan's dream come true - we've been named Beer City USA, a Top 10 Vacation City for Beer Lovers and one of the World's Top 25 Beer Cities. Download a map of our 30+ craft breweries and plot your own tour of Michigan's Beer Coast. (The map includes cideries, too.) If you're more of a vino person, check our tour map of 20+ wineries.

In the mood for a great cup of coffee? Our Madcap Coffee was recently named America's #3 Coffee Roaster. Other roasters include the Bitter End Coffeehouse, Ferris Coffee & Nut Co., Grand Rapids Coffee Roasters and Rowster New American Coffee. EB Coffee & Pub offers both locally roasted coffees and its own craft-brewed beer.

The Main Course

Here are some of our favorite local places to eat, drink and be merry:

 

Hotel Package

Culinary Experience Package

Always Available
JW Marriott Grand Rapids

Includes a $100 credit to six.one.six, self or valet parking at the hotel and a 20% discount to The Spa and The Marketplace

Booking Method
Visit Their Website
Booking Code
D60