Summer has officially arrived, and it's obvious that it's here as the farmer's markets swell with more stalls and colorful produce. There's something to be said about eating during this time of year: drinks taste more refreshing, desserts taste more indulgent, and every course in between leaves you feeling content. August 12th-23rd, locals and visitors can capitalize on this summer foodie phenomenon as Grand Rapids celebrates the 6th annual Restaurant Week GR.

With sixty participating chefs and restaurants participating, there's no finer place to be than in eating in Grand Rapids...for twelve days straight.

Photo Courtesy of Essence Restaurant Group
Photo Courtesy of Essence Restaurant Group

This year, Experience Grand Rapids has challenged chefs to help customers "Taste the City". Since mid-August coincides with a lot of West Michigan harvest seasons, this could mean that the menus include tomatoes, Lake Michigan perch, beets, peaches, local beef, or artisan green beans, just to name a few. Gordon Food Service, founded in Michigan, will be this year's Food Service Major Partner.

With high quality products sourced locally and chef and service creativity, the dishes are promising to be some of the best yet. Participating venues have been asked to design a 3-course menu (appetizer, entree, dessert) that introduces completely new dishes to the location.

All menus are a flat rate of either $28 per guest or $28 for two, so you can budget your week of eating out accordingly! Many restaurants also work to provide expert pairing recommendations; Founders Brewing Company and Great Lakes Wine and Spirits have collaborated with dozens of chefs to present guests with balanced and complimentary flavors as they eat and drink.

 

Photo Courtesy of SallyZara Public Relations
Photo Courtesy of SallyZara Public Relations

As diners celebrate the culture of eating Grand Rapids is proud of, they are also helping to mold the next wave of talented chefs in GR. $1 from each meal eaten during Restaurant Week will go to the Grand Rapids Student Scholarship Fund at Grand Rapids Community College, which has already benefited from over $100,000 over the past five years of Restaurant Weeks.

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Even if you have been to a restaurant before, it will have a brand new offering for RW 2015. That being said, this event is a great time to try unfamiliar places, including a few opening just in time for the festivities! New to the roster this year are The Black Heron (coming soon on Bridge), Flanagans, Fricanos of Caledonia, Ganders at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Gravity, the Bandit Queen, and Luna , an eagerly anticipated addition to Ionia St.

 

Photo Courtesy of SallyZara Public Relations

Photo Courtesy of SallyZara Public Relations

With sixty unique menus to choose from, there will be something delicious for everyone during this year's Restaurant Week GR, so let's all be thankful that bathing suit season starts winding down around then!

Where are you eating during Restaurant Week GR?