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Online Visitor's Guide

2014 Visitor Guide Cover

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Farm to Fork Dining

West Michigan is one of the world's finest growing regions - and hundreds of family farmers work the land with loving care. These farmers sold their harvests directly to area restaurateurs long before the farm-to-fork movement gained traction across the country.

This tradition continues today, as most independent Grand Rapids restaurants rely on local farms for at least some of their food ingredients - produce, dairy, meat and more. Here are just a few places where you'll taste the freshness in every bite.

GreenwellAmore Trattoria Italiana. Chef Jenna Arcidiacono prepares authentic Italian foods using locally sourced meats, eggs, cheeses, produce and more. Take one of her free Italian cooking classes, held every second Saturday of the month.

Bartertown Diner. Almost everything is local - but if it's not, it's fair trade and organic. That's that standard at this vegetarian/vegan/raw restaurant located downtown. Worker owned and operated.

Bistro Bella Vita. Every dish is prepared from scratch to your order, with the freshest, highest quality ingredients available. In-season, you can find chemical-free produce purchased daily from local farmers.

Brewery Vivant. This gorgeous brewery and 120-seat taproom blurs the line between tavern and tabernacle. Wonderful pairings of craft brews and French countryside-inspired foods made with simple, local ingredients.

Electric Cheetah. Imaginative, affordable, fresh-from-the-farm cuisine served in a comfortable atmosphere befitting one of the city's hippest neighborhoods.

The Green Well. This gastro pub features a creative, ever-changing menu using a global range of eclectic flavors prepared with ingredients from local farmers. Lots of local craft beers and wines, too.

Grove. Offers "creative conscientious cuisine" that changes with the harvest and the offerings of local, sustainable farmers. New York Magazine hailed its Cornmeal Financier Cake as "one of America's 101 most crazy-awesome new desserts" in 2012.

Lubbers Family Farm. In collaboration with local restaurants, Lubbers Farm hosts Farm-to-Table dinners on the family homestead. Guests are served a five to seven-course meal accompanied by the stories behind the food. Lubbers also offers Breakfast on the Farm, a Garden Lunch, cooking classes and more.

Marie Catrib's. Lebanese-born Marie whips up Mediterranean-inspired cuisine using as much locally grown and raised food as possible. Authentic, economical, friendly and fun!

One Trick Pony. Downtown grill and taproom with a "chef-driven kitchen" that serves up homemade soups, pastas, pizzas, sandwiches, salads, entrées and daily specials. Housed in the oldest continuously occupied building in GR.

Reserve Wine & Food. A world-class menu, embracing the farm-to-table philosophy. Boasting one of Michigan's most extensive charcuterie bars, with regional and international meats and cheeses.

Rockwell/Republic. Fresh, locally farmed ingredients and from-scratch cooking, plus incredible sushi and martinis galore in a convenient downtown location.

San Chez. Named one of America's Top 50 Hispanic restaurants, this "tapas bistro" features the food and fun of Spain by way of the finest local ingredients. In the heart of downtown.

six.one.six. Eat local and feel global in the signature restaurant and destination lounge of downtown's JW Marriott Hotel. The chef's pantry is bursting with locally grown ingredients, some of which are picked just a few feet away at the JW Chef's Garden.

Terra GR. Terra GR is an Eastown neighborhood farm-to-table restaurant connecting the urban neighbors to their local agricultural heritage. Enjoy fresh, seasonal produce from Trillium Haven Farm and other local farms.

The Winchester. An everybody-knows-your-name neighborhood hangout offering a nicely eclectic menu emphasizing local ingredients. The rehabbed building is easy on the eyes, the food prices are easy on your wallet.

Arts & Eats. A backroads tour of art, food, and farms. Drive the countryside and see artists creating in their studios. Visit working farms that grow the food we eat and the fiber we wear. Stop along the way to dine at restaurants that serve locally grown food. Hop on this tour October 19-20, 2013.