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Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2012

June 14, 2012 update:

Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2012 returns within a brand new timeframe – August 15 through 25 – to capture the essence of the local West Michigan harvest. Participating restaurants are excited to be able to showcase their 3-course dinners at $25 per person – or at several of the participating establishments, 2 dinners (3-courses each) for $25, all with an emphasis on farm-to-table food preparation.

According to Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small, "We love this new timeframe for Restaurant Week and have had enthusiastic support, as well, from participating restaurants. August is the season for the freshest farm produce, fruits and meats raised and grown locally. Restaurateurs are excited about the opportunity to offer these fresh products from area farms on their Restaurant Week menus."

Over sixty restaurants have signed on for Restaurant Week Grand Rapids with eight 1st time restaurants also jumping aboard to take part in the event this year.

"We love this annual event as it brings new people into One Trick Pony to experience all of the things that we have to offer. We'll be serving many great summer selections using locally grown produce from Ingraberg Farms and meats from Byron Center Meats on our Restaurant Week menu. This more 'seasonal approach' makes this year's event even more special than in previous years," says Dan Verhill, Owner of One Trick Pony in Downtown Grand Rapids.

"The Gilmore Collection of Restaurants such as Rose's, The BOB, Blue Water Grill, Mangiamo, Ottawa Tavern, and Red Jet Café will be offering unique features. We have recently gone through a change to our menus at all of our restaurants. Restaurant Week will give us one more opportunity to highlight our brand new offerings and to also feature fresh-from-the-farm specials during the peak of harvest season," says Greg Gilmore, Owner of the Gilmore Collection of Restaurants in Grand Rapids.

"August is perfect for Restaurant Week with the wide variety of earth-to-table offerings at the peak of harvest. We are glad that Restaurant Week is focusing on 'farm fresh' this year. This philosophy has been at our core from day one with Bistro Bella Vita and has continued with The Green Well and Grove. Fresh, natural, food straight from the local farm tastes best and is better for our local economy. Restaurant Week menu items will include cheeses from local farms such as Lakeview Cheddar Farm and Grassfield Farms Cheeses, fresh lettuces and produce from Mud Lake Farms, Hamm's Farm and Ingraberg Farms, and local meats from S&S Farms," says James Berg, Essence Restaurant Group Managing Partner.

Other new happenings during Restaurant Week include more restaurants offering wine and beer pairings from Trinchero Family Estate wines, Black Star Farms and L.Mawby, as well as, Founders Brewing Company all who are sponsors of Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2012.

There will also be a new mini-event for Restaurant Week called the "Grand Cocktail 2012" contest in partnership with Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, one the Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2012 partners. All participating restaurants in Restaurant Week Grand Rapids will be eligible to enter up to two cocktail entries into the contest using Barcardi Oakheart Spiced Rum (released in 2011) – and – Grey Goose Cherry Noir (a brand new release) spirits products being offered on the market this summer. The cocktail contest will kick off early at participating restaurants in order to allow the public to taste the cocktails eligible for a "People's Choice Award" within each spirits category and to vote for their favorite on the website.

"All of this makes for a lively fun event where we have the chance to profile Grand Rapids' wonderful culinary talent and the vitality of summer in our cool local neighborhoods, suburbs and in Downtown. Celebrating in Grand Rapids through the "Art of Dining Out" is the best way to cap off a great summer." added Doug Small, President of Experience Grand Rapids.


Here are some reasons to enjoy Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2012:

The Art of Dining out is "all about discovery". "Getting out into the restaurant community to discover new places to dine is fun whether you do it with friends, family or co-workers. This is a great time to discover new settings and ambiance, new food; new wine, beer and spirits pairings within a known price point – 3 courses for $25 – and at some restaurants – 3-courses at 2-for-$25. (Beverage selections are an additional cost, but still affordable.)

The Fresh farm focus will be more evident during Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2012 due to the new timeframe which is the peak of the summer harvest season.

$1 from every Restaurant Week meal sold gets donated to the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at GRCC – teaching culinary excellence to new chefs who will grow culinary excellence within our community. The first two years of Restaurant Week Grand Rapids resulted in nearly $40,000 of scholarship funds being distributed to this program.

Restaurants participating in Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2012 include:

Amore Trattoria Italiana, Bar Divani, Blue Water Grill, Bistro Bella Vita, Bobby J's*, Bonefish Grill*, Brann's on Leonard, Brewery Vivant, Charley's Crab, CitySen Lounge at CityFlats Hotel, Cygnus 27, Fire Rock Grille, Grand Woods Lounge, Grove, HopCat, Honey Creek Inn, Houlihan's*, Louis Benton Steakhouse, Noto's Old World Italian Dining, Mangiamo!, Marco New American Bistro, Marn E. Walkers*, McFadden's Restaurant & Saloon, Olive's Restaurant & Bar, One Trick Pony Grill & Taproom, Ottawa Tavern, Pearl Street Grill, Peppino's Downtown, Pietro's Italian Restaurant, Radix Tavern*, Red Jet Café, Reserve GR, Rockwell Republic, Rose's, Rush Creek Bistro, San Chez Bistro & Café, Shiraz Grille Persian & Mediterranean Cuisine,, Schnitz Ada Grill, SpeakEZ*, Spinnaker Restaurant, Stella's Lounge, Sundance Grill & Bar, The BOB: Monkey Bar, JBar, Gilly's, Bobarino's, Tavern on the Square, Timbers Inn, The Acorn Grille, The Bistro at Courtyard by Marriott Downtown, The Bulls Head Tavern, The Green Well, The Walker Roadhouse*, Trillium Haven*, Watermark Grille, The Landing Restaurant at the Riverfront Hotel Grand Rapids, The Melting Pot, The Viceroy, Tre Cugini, Z's Bar & Restaurant.

*1st time restaurants to Restaurant Week Grand Rapids



Experience Grand Rapids announced the official results of Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2011 that took place in November 2011. The announcement was made during Experience Grand Rapids' Annual Celebration where four leading Grand Rapids chefs prepared a four-course lunch for guests in attendance. Experience Grand Rapids President Doug Small was pleased to announce that Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2011 met their goal of raising over $20,000 to add to the Student Scholarship Fund at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education established in 2010 by participating restaurants in the event. Seventy-one participating restaurants donated one dollar from each restaurant week meal sold in 2011 which added up to $20,393 in total raised and a "big" check for the Secchia Institute.

Small also gave considerable credit to the sponsors of Restaurant Week Grand Rapids and singled out the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority who were major underwriters in 2011 giving $25,000 to support the event.  Small said, "We love that we are able to help a worthy Grand Rapids institution that focuses on food with Restaurant Week funding. The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education is one of the top twenty most acclaimed culinary schools in the country and the students who attend the school receive a wonderful education with many of them deciding to stay in the community to work in the restaurant industry. This helps us all in growing Grand Rapids' reputation as a wonderful culinary city. The DDA and all of the Sponsors can be proud that their support flows back into helping the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education."  The Secchia Institute Student Scholarship fund from Restaurant Week now stands at almost $40,000. In addition to $20,393 dollars raised in 2011, $19,128 was raised and donated to the school in 2010 from the participating restaurants of Restaurant Week Grand Rapids. The fund has raised $39,521 over the two-year timeframe. Most of the money is used for building an endowment fund with some of the money each year used to help worthy students with their culinary class expenses.

Small also announced future plans for Restaurant Week by saying, "We are excited to announce new news about Restaurant Week Grand Rapids for 2012. We will hold the event in August this year – from Wednesday, August 15 through Saturday, August 25 in order to reach a new and growing foodie audience. August's Restaurant Week Grand Rapids 2012 will be a 1-for-$25 event. It is being designed to provide a late summer upscale experience featuring restaurants that want to showcase their creativity in producing a 3-course menu utilizing fresh produce and foods from Michigan as well as other unique foods that can be acquired from suppliers. Experience Grand Rapids feels that the August timeframe will bring more people into downtown Grand Rapids and the outlying communities to take advantage of the nice weather and also give restaurants more opportunity to create menus using "fresh from the farm" foods that many Grand Rapids fine dining restaurants love to source.

Small also hinted at a second Restaurant Week event to be held in Winter 2013 that would be "unique and different" and give food lovers another reason to dine out during the winter months at places that they have yet to try. More news about the winter event will be released by early Summer 2012.

Additional Information
Area restaurants will be contacted to participate in the 2012 event in March 2012. Restaurants will be required to pay a small registration fee to participate as well as donate $1 from each $25 3-course Restaurant Week Grand Rapids meal purchased to add to the student scholarship fund at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education of Grand Rapids Community College.

2011 RWGR Highlights

  • 71 restaurants participated – 37 within the downtown DDA District and 34 from throughout Kent County – this number is up from 57 restaurants that participated in 2010;
  • There were 25,860 diners who ordered off the Restaurant Week menus in 2011 vs. 19,128 in 2010 accounting for 35% growth in the event;
  • $20,393 was raised for the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education student fund. One dollar from each Restaurant Week meal sold was donated by all 71 of the participating restaurants to the Secchia Institute Fund;
  • The audience for Restaurant Week in year two grew to approximately 40,000 diners versus 30,000 in year one;
  • There was a 32% increase in online use of the website in year two than in year one;
  • A new mobile site was built to accommodate the increased use of cell phones, iPads, and other mobile devices – at least 10% of online viewers used mobile devices;
  • $1.25 million dollars in estimated restaurant sales were a direct result of the Restaurant Week Grand Rapids promotion;


Monday, August 20, 2012
 Start Time TBA


Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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