Bistro Bella Vita’s Atlantic Salmon, which can be prepared gluten-free
Does it seem like the world has suddenly gone gluten-free? You’re not imagining things. The NPD Group, an organization that analyzes and tracks consumer trends, recently reported that nearly 30% of Americans are interested in eliminating or cutting down on gluten – a protein most commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley – in their diets, and brands have responded by offering more and more gluten-free options.
Grand Rapids restaurateurs have also heeded the demand, creating menu items – and sometimes, entire menus – that cater to gluten-free diners.
Consumers avoid gluten for a variety of reasons, says Luke Theaker, chef at Bistro Bella Vita in Grand Rapids. “Some people are sensitive to gluten, some are allergic to it and others have severe gluten allergies. And then there are the customers who are living a gluten-free lifestyle for the health benefits,” which are reported to include better digestion, more energy and even weight loss. [read more…]
Crisp Country Acres stand at the Grand Rapids Outdoor Market on opening day
The farm to table movement in Grand Rapids continues to grow, as restaurants like Grove and Trillium Haven wow restaurant-goers with dishes like the Gazelle Perfect Protein Salad (Trillium Haven) and Jambalaya (Grove)— two of my go-to favorites.
As more restaurants embrace sustainable cooking, more residents find themselves in search of fresh, local ingredients to prepare in their own kitchens. Last Saturday, Grand Rapidians had of plenty produce (and meat, cheese, baked goods, and kettle corn…) to choose from, with the 91st opening of the Fulton Street Farmers Market and the grand opening of the new Outdoor Market downtown. [read more…]
A few of Founders Brewing Co.’s many offerings
Grand Rapids has Beer Week, a Winter Beer Festival (outside!), a burgeoning home brewing community and chefs who use beer in brownie sundaes.
It’s also home to 15 fantastically different breweries, so residents weren’t one bit surprised when their craft beer-loving city was awarded the moniker Beer City USA in 2012 or when it was named one of the Top 10 Best Vacation Cities for Beer Lovers.
Locals know what fans far and wide are discovering: Grand Rapids brews great beer. In fact, our breweries are collecting awards worldwide. A sampling of their honors: [read more…]
One Trick Pony, Grand Rapids
You can’t visit Grand Rapids without feeling the impact of its philanthropic denizens. From beautiful Meijer Gardens (Frederik Meijer) to DeVos Performance Hall (Richard M. DeVos), evidence abounds. But philanthropy in Grand Rapids isn’t limited to corporate business owners. Restaurateurs and entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids have found creative ways to give back to the community, including one innovative program that aims to end hunger for children.
One restaurant owner who’s serious about giving back is Dan Verhil, owner of The Cottage Bar and One Trick Pony. “Philanthropy is contagious,” he says, “and this is a very philanthropic community we live in. There are a lot of good models of people who have given back. If I can do that in even a small way I’d like to emulate that.”
That’s exactly what he’s done—but in a rather big way. [read more…]
The Brewhouse at Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids
Whether you’re looking for a stout, a pale, or an IPA, Grand Rapids breweries (15 and counting) have plenty to quaff. Read full article on Grand Rapids Breweries
When Rob Qualls created his first batch of beer last July, he says it was “love at first brew.” The 29-year-old Grand Rapids resident and co-founder of the fledgling Grand Rapids Homebrewers Club has since brewed about 25 five-gallon batches and has no plans to quit. “I’m completely enthralled by every facet of brewing,” he says.
Qualls is far from alone. While Grand Rapids may have received its “Beer City USA” designation in 2012 due to the number of high-quality craft breweries dotting the city, a steadily-growing legion of home brewers are taking their passion for beer out of the brewpub and into their homes.
“The GR homebrewing scene is booming,” says Qualls. “It seems that everyday I have a new friend that is starting to homebrew, and the local brew store is becoming more and more packed every time I go there.”
Rob Qualls’ selection of beers on tap
It’s important to note that home brewers and local breweries aren’t in competition with each other, but rather, complement one another. “Most of the folks who open breweries were at one time home brewers,” points out Steve Siciliano, owner of Siciliano’s Market. [read more…]