Which sounds better: Freshly made truffle fries from local potatoes or slightly-soggy fries that have been sitting out too long after being pulled out of the freezer at the local fast food joint?
Maybe that’s an extreme comparison, but it showcases the heart of the farm-to-table movement, which is well respected at dining locations throughout West Michigan.
Farm-to-Table means your food has traveled from a local source, maybe even as nearby as the garden out back (instead of being frozen or canned and transported hundreds of miles), and was freshly prepared, which means no thawing in the microwave or sitting under heat lamps for days. Farm-to-Table dining promises you a delicious and healthy meal that is truly of West Michigan.
Read on for some of our favorite Farm-to-Table dining options in West Michigan, and our apologies in advance if this causes your stomach to start rumbling.
Grove restaurant, located in Grand Rapids, is a tribute to the bounty of the earth’s harvest and how Grove brings that to the table with impeccable service, natural ingredients and innovative cuisine. Their seasonal, frequently changing selections hint at the classics with natural sauces and a slant toward sustainable seafood. They responsibly source as many ingredients as possible from local, family and sustainable farms and prepare each dish to demonstrate their respect for how these farmers raise or grow their products.
Grove carefully pairs their daily, innovative menus with the best modern wines. Their beverage menu also includes eclectic and top-shelf liquors, their own housemade infused spirits, craft beers, pour-over coffee and espresso. They’re located in the heart of East Hills at 919 Cherry Street.
Inspired, handcrafted foods that nurture both body and community. At Terra in Grand Rapids, they follow their passions – and the seasons – for only the freshest, health-filled ingredients from the region’s most dedicated growers. They pride themselves on distinctive fare, expertly crafted with passion, intellect and culinary skill. You’ll enjoy handcrafted meals that honor the purest ingredients from the finest regional farms and fields. Terra’s focus on seasonal offerings means they only use fresh, honest ingredients bursting with the flavors of each season. Not only will you find delicious dining at Terra, but also a community dedicated to the promotion and rewards of a health-conscious lifestyle.
Satisfyingly savory and always fresh, using Michigan made products with a twist—that’s what you can expect when dining at the Twisted Rooster in Grand Rapids. Twisted Rooster’s Executive Chef and his culinary team work with local vendors and suppliers to provide guests with a decidedly tasty twist on classic American fare. Twisted Rooster’s mantra is to provide each guest with “Simply Impeccable Food & Drinks with Uncommon Hospitality.” Their locally sourced, scratch made menu is full of local flavor and includes vendors such as Byron Center Meats, R.W. Bakers, Faygo and Founders Brewing Company. Ogren said their menu is meant to emphasize their twisted “Commit to the Mitt” motto.
At The Green Well they serve honest fayre with local flair in a neighborhood setting that keeps customers coming back. Their innovative gastro pub is green beyond its name: Their LEED® certified building is environmentally safe, ultra efficient and leaves behind the smallest possible carbon footprint. “Gastro pub” is British for a public house that specializes in high-quality food served in a relaxed atmosphere. The Green Well’s creative menu features a global range of eclectic flavors prepared with ingredients from local farmers. Over 20 rotating taps focus on Michigan brews, as well as a vast selection of bottles, ranging from local and American craft to traditional European styles. The wine list features creative flights that encourage multiple wine flavors paired with food. Classic cocktails are also available. Their greenness also spills over to their guests who benefit from affordable prices and outstanding service by a fun, welcoming staff. Located at 924 Cherry Street in East Hills, Grand Rapids.
At Bistro Bella Vita, they go above and beyond to deliver the ultimate dining experience with top-notch, personable service, whether it’s a simple pizza and beer with friends, or an elegant chef’s table meal perfectly paired with appropriate wines. Their vision is to be West Michigan’s most respected restaurant destination. Guests enjoy Bistro Bella Vita’s unique downtown atmosphere and their creative cuisine made exclusively from fresh, natural, ingredients purchased daily from local farmers in season. The culinary team creates authentic, scratch-made recipes that blend the delicious flavors of the Mediterranean countryside with a perfectly paired beverage offering served by a devoted staff whose passion is to ensure your complete satisfaction. They’re located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, just west of the Van Andel Arena on Grandville and Weston.
Stop by San Chez Bistro for the most unique dining and entertainment venue in Grand Rapids. San Chez Bistro offers a blend of authentic European and Mediterranean cuisine in a fun, laid-back, and artful atmosphere. Take a break from fast food with breakfast and lunch by San Chez Café, made with the finest local ingredients, and prepared to order fresh seven days a week. Enjoy omelets, scrambles, pastries, bagels, yogurt, fresh fruit, or the best sandwiches and soups in town. Appreciate gourmet fair-trade coffee and whole leaf organic tea while you linger with free Wi-Fi, or hold a breakfast meeting in our comfy café.
The JW Marriott Grand Rapids‘ signature restaurant, six.one.six, offers the breathtaking blend of sophisticated urban ambience, palate-pleasing cuisine, and the finest wines and perfectly poured cocktails. But more than just a “pretty face,” six.one.six. takes its cuisine seriously. Dedicated to the concept of buying local, 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. The six.one.six. kitchen also participates in Sort, a recycling and composting program coordinated with Zeeland-headquartered Spurt Industries, which helps turn food scraps into top-quality soil for area parks. You’ll find dishes sourced from New Holland Brewery, Black Star Farms, Founders Brewery, and many more when you dine at six.one.six.
Downtown Market Grand Rapids offers farm to table dining, and everything in between. Visit in the spring and summer for their outdoor farmers market, where the best of everything fresh and local will be on display for purchase. The indoor Market Hall is open year-round, and offers everything from local produce, fish, meats, and cheese to restaurants serving tacos & thai food sourced from local ingredients. Downtown Market offers regular cooking classes & demonstrations to help you bring that fresh and local taste right into your own kitchen.
Reserve Wine & Food
Michigan’s award-winning Reserve Wine & Food in downtown Grand Rapids is the epitome of a farm-to-table experience, in a classy, urban setting just a short drive from the rural countryside which provides the bounty for the menu. Reserve fills its kitchen with foods raised by their friends—local farmers, growers and harvesters with a passion for fresh flavors. Chef Josh Adams cooked throughout his childhood with his mom and grandmother, who encouraged his creativity and curiosity. Applying progressive techniques to pristine ingredients, Adams seeks to preserve and accentuate the natural properties of the ingredients through precision cooking. “With the development of each dish, I take into consideration the aroma, taste, texture, temperature, color, shape and arrangement to bring about the best possible result for the customer,” he says. Opened since September, 2010 and celebrating its 5th year, Reserve Wine & Food has been recognized by Grand Rapids Magazine, OpenTable, Food & Wine Magazine, the James Beard Foundation and Wine Spectator. Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids at 201 Monroe Avenue NW, Reserve Wine & Food offers a world-class menu fully embracing the West Michigan farm-to-table philosophy in an elegant yet casual fine dining setting.