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WEST MICHIGAN’S ENTERTAINMENT GUIDE FOR 31 YEARS » APRIL 2019

FREE!

WEST MICHIGAN

DINING GUIDE ALSO INSIDE: VOTING BEGINS APRIL 1

COULD REDISTRICTING FAVOR WEST MICHIGAN DEMS? LA DISPUTE WAYPOST BREWING


AUGUST 16-18, 2019 • WELLSTON, MI

CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD

RAILROAD EARTH BILLY STRINGS

DAVE BRUZZA UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED KELLER & THE KEELS FRUITION

LINDSAY LOU

MAY ERLEWINE & THE MOTIVATIONS LARRY KEEL EXPERIENCE AIRBORNE OR AQUATIC THE CRANE WIVES FRONT COUNTRY

TROUT STEAK REVIVAL LUKE WINSLOW KING THE INSIDERS

THE RAGBIRDS

CHICAGO FARMER PUBLIC ACCESS

GREGORY STOVETOP MAX LOCKWOOD FULL CORD

NICKOLAS JAMES & THE BANDWAGON BIOMASSIVE SILENT DISCO

DEEP FRIED PICKLE PROJECT JUG BAND JONATHAN TIMM

POLITICAL LIZARD

hoxeyville.com

2 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019


MAY

4

GEORGE LOPEZ Entertainment Hall | 8PM Tickets start at $49

MAY

CHECK OUT OUR NEW WEEKLY SPECIALS

11

MARGARITA MONDAYS

RBRM

MARGARITA & TEQUILA SPECIALS MINI TACO & NACHO BAR

Entertainment Hall | 8PM Tickets start at $49

11AM-CLOSE

SINGLES MINGLE & DATE NIGHT TUESDAYS

MAY

FOOD & DRINK SPECIALS

18

TACOS & TEQUILA EVENT Tickets start at $40 Joe Nichols | 2PM Night Session: Tickets start at $50 The Romantics | 7:30PM Day Session:

11AM-CLOSE

INDUSTRY WEDNESDAYS

BEER SPECIALS, BURGER BAR & LIVE MUSIC

5PM-CLOSE

TAP HEAD THURSDAYS

DRAFT BEER, WING SPECIALS & LIVE MUSIC

MAY

25

11AM-CLOSE

SUNDAY BRUNCH & BLOODY MARY BAR

CHICAGO

11AM-5PM

Entertainment Hall | 8PM Tickets start at $59

Get your tickets at Soaring Eagle Casino or Saganing Eagles Landing Casino Box Offices, ETIX.COM or call 1.800.513.ETIX. soaringeaglecasino.com

Mt. Pleasant, MI | 1.888.7.EAGLE.7

Performances held at Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Entertainment subject to cancellation. Management reserves all rights.

REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

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4 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019


NO RULES vietnamese porter 2019

april 27th NO LIMIT NO DISTRO NO PLACE BUT THE PUB bottle release starts at 11am party 11am - 4pm

REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

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TAPROOM

DELI

STORE

MON-SAT: 11AM-2AM SUN: 11AM-12PM

SUN-WED: 11AM-11PM THU-SAT: 11AM-12AM

MON-SAT: 11AM-11PM SUN: 11AM-9PM

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APRIL THURSDAY

04

Evanoff

SATURDAY

06

Public Access wsg Wing Vilma FREE

SUNDAY

Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra

$5 COVER

SATURDAY

20

The Black Beer Party

THURSDAY

24

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers

11

Head For The Hills

FREE | 5:30PM | ALL AGES

WEDNESDAY

$10 COVER

07

25

Mammoths wsg Valentiger

WEDNESDAY

THURSDAY

Cheap Pitcher Night with $10 class 1 pitchers & Trivia Night (7pm-close)

Cheap Pint Night with $3 class one and $4 class two pints & Open Mic Night (8pm-close)

Mug Club Day

Taproom Exclusive Beer Special with $1 off of featured TRX beer & Free Live Music

18

Cosmic Knot

FREE

SUNDAY

28

Feedback Benefit for Access of WM

$5 COVER

TUESDAY

6 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

27

Terrapin Flyer

FREE

THURSDAY

$5 COVER

SATURDAY

MONDAY

ALL SHOWS ARE AGES 21+ AND BEGIN AT 9:30 UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED

13

The Nth Power

FREE

THURSDAY

FREE FOR MC | $5 COVER GA

SATURDAY

SATURDAY

$5 DONATION

SUNDAY

Service Industry Day with $1.25 off pints starting at 9:30pm (11am-close) Live Music

@FOUNDERSGRANDRAPIDS

@FOUNDERSGRANDRAPIDS


TIME TO TURN

UP THE VOLUME

CLIEN

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Apr. R JOB

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SATURDAY, APRIL 6

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CHIP TOOTH TOUR

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FRIDAY, APRIL 19

DENNIS MILLER FRIDAY, MAY 17

T H U R S DA Y, M A Y 3 0

Tickets available now at the FireKeepers Box Office or FireKeepersCasino.com.

Must be 21 or older. Tickets based on availability. Schedule subject to change.

FKCH-33266_Apr_Revue_9.25x10.indd 1

3/14/192019 9:44 AM REVUEWM.COM | APRIL | 7


APRIL 5 THE WALL LIVE EXTRAVAGANZA

APRIL 2 LIL BABY

w/ City Girls, Jordan Hollywood, Rylo Rodriguez, Blueface

The Greatest Floyd Show on Earth

APRIL 18 RICK SPRINGFIELD: Stripped Down

may 10 TECH N9NE

w/ Krizz Kaliko, Dax, ¡Mayday!, Ubi of Ces Cru

APRIL 6 SUPERVANA & RAGE ON A Night of Nirvana & Rage

APRIL 10 TESLA

18+

APRIL 13 ROBIN TROWER

w/ Tom Fuller

MAY 2 DMX

APRIL 20 ILIZA

APRIL 28 PREACHER LAWSON

20 Year Anniversary Tour

MAY 3 MIDLAND

may 15 MGMT

may 17 THE CULT

MAY18 BRING ME THE HORIZON

MAY 29 HOZIER

* july 30 PRETTYMUCH

august 9 I PREVAIL

w/ ISSUES, Justin Stone

AUGUST 20 PAPA ROACH

w/ Asking Alexandria, Bad Wolves

september 27 JUDAH & THE LION

OCT 3 STEVE HACKETT Genesis Revisited

Get more info and see the full schedule at 20MonroeLive.com 20 Monroe Live Box Office Hours: Mon-Thurs: 12pm-6pm / Fri: 10am-6pm Weekends: event days only / Box office opens 2 hours prior to doors. (closed on non-show days)

* SEATED SHOW

11 OTTAWA AVE NW • DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS • 20MONROELIVE.COM 8 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

APRIL 17

SiriusXM Yacht Rock Radio Presents

YACHT ROCK REVUE

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

MAY 5 CLASSIC DEEP PURPLE LIVE w/ Glenn Hughes

july 20 THE STRUTS

w/ The Glorious Sons


WHAT’S INSIDE

April 2019 | Volume 31, Issue 4

SCENE: 12 17 18 20 27

What’s Going On Potshots Best of the West Gerrymandering Style Notes: Mixed Bags

SOUNDS: 28 Local: La Dispute 30 On Tour: OK Go

31

REVUE ARTS: 1A Visual arts, classical and jazz music, theater, arts event previews and more. (See the center of this issue)

WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE 31 33 34 39 46 51 54 57

Introduction April News & Restaurant Report Michigan Cannabis Chefs Quick Bites New in Town Vegan Dining Healthy Eats with the Lemon Bowl Hidden Taco Gems

DRINKING: 58 Waypost Brewing Co.

28

58 REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

9


LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

O

f everything Revue covers, food is the only beat that also happens to be essential to human survival.

Hypothetically, we can live without seeing the ballet, going to concerts and drinking beer. It would be miserable, but it’s possible! Food, however, is a necessity that we’ve managed to turn into entertainment. That’s what makes it special. I’m only surprised we haven’t done the same thing with other essentials. Where’s my flavored water bar? What about my air lounge? These are my dreams of the future. For now, I’ll gladly settle for food. It helps that West Michigan continues to raise its dining game year after year. Even as some beloved eateries have closed, new ones open seemingly every week, and they’re only getting more interesting. We now have multiple amazing poke spots, a ’70s themed retro lounge, and restaurants solely dedicated to one country’s cuisine, like Cuba and France. Even then, it’s easy to visit the same tried-and-true favorites every weekend. I’m guilty of it too — who doesn’t love a sure thing? But there’s perhaps no dining experience more divine than trying out a new place and discovering a newfound love. Plus, you get to brag to your friends about going there! That’s what our Dining Guide is all about. We help guide you to the hidden gems of tacos, ramen, burgers, vegan food and much, much more. Our goal was to fit in as much amazing food as we possibly can so you have no choice but to get out there and visit somewhere new. We also cover three newer restaurants already making a splash on the scene. It’s always impressive when a newcomer finds a way to stand out, and their stories are fascinating. Keep this Dining Guide by your side, and when you’re feeling bored of the same old go-to’s, let it light the way. We won’t lead you astray.

W E S T M I C H I G A N ’ S E N T E RTA I N M E N T G U I D E

EDITORIAL Publisher Brian Edwards Associate Publisher Rich Tupica / rich@revueholding.com Editor Joe Boomgaard / joe@revuewm.com Managing Editor Josh Veal / josh@revuewm.com Copy Editor Claire Boomgaard DESIGN Kristi Kortman / kristi@revuewm.com Kaylee Van Tuinen / kaylee@revuewm.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Andy Balaskovitz Eric Mitts Jack Raymond Jane Simons Kayla Sosa

Kelly Brown Marla R. Miller Michaela Stock Missy Black

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Seth Thompson ADVERTISING / 616.608.6170 Rich Tupica / sales@revuewm.com Kelli Belanger / kelli@revuewm.com Dwayne Hoover / dwayne@revuewm.com DIGITAL EDITOR Josh Veal

’Til next time,

MINION Danata Paulino

FIND US ONLINE! Josh Veal, Managing Editor Website: revuewm.com Twitter: twitter.com/revuewm Facebook: facebook.com/revuewm Instagram: instagram.com/revuewm REVUE is published monthly by Revue Holding Company. P.O. Box 1629, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1629 Office: 616.608.6170 / Fax: 616.608.6182

UPCOMING ISSUES MAY

JUNE

Revue celebrates wine, spirits, cider and cocktails, exploring the best places to drink and what’s new on the scene.

Our annual roundup of the best local music, from the brand new bands to West Michigan mainstays. Also: A guide to festivals in West Michigan and beyond.

The Drinking Issue

©2019, Revue Holding Company. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part granted only by written permission of the publisher in accordance with our legal statement, fools.

The Music Issue

ON THE COVER: The Commons Photographed by Seth Thompson

TO ADVERTISE: Call (616) 608-6170 or email sales@revuewm.com. Space reservation is the 17th of the month before publication.

10 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

See more on page 47


TO FIND THIS BEER NEAR YOU, GO TO: HTTP://NEWHOLLANDBREW.COM/ REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 | 11 BEER-FINDER/


WHAT’S GOING ON THIS MONTH |  Compiled by Revue Staff

4/6 Indie Flea Grand Rapids 1110 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids April 6, 10 a.m., Free thevendorexchange.org

The Indie Flea has sprung back to Grand Rapids for spring. Once again, shoppers and wanderers can see the very best that Michigan’s local vendors have to offer at the Wealthy Theatre Community Media Center. A beautiful mural leads the way for everyone to come and see the Mitten Makers who are using their businesses to have a positive effect on the community. Shop until you drop or take the opportunity to learn more about community collaborations.

Fool House: The Ultimate ’90s Dance Party Unruly Brewing 360 W. Western Ave., Muskegon April 6, 8:30 p.m., $10 unrulybrewing.com

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

Back in the ’90s, life was always hectic in that full house on a San Francisco

street, and at Fool House, they’re getting even more unruly. This ultimate dance party will force the scrunchies and boy bands to return for a flashback night. Unruly Brewing has a fully scheduled throwback complete with sing-alongs and choreographed dance moves prepared to entertain all ’90s natives.

4/7 Family Day: Whitecaps vs. South Bend Fifth Third Ballpark 4500 W. River Dr. NE, Comstock Park April 7, 2 p.m., $1+ milb.com/west-michigan

It’s that time of year again, sports fans. On this day, the Whitecaps offers more than just a ballgame. Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Family Day features a fun-packed baseball experience for all ages. Not only can families enjoy a lawn seat ticket for only $1 each, but also fans will be able to get autographs signed by their favorite players and even throw a ball around on the field before the game begins. Kids should also stick around for the post-game play and run the bases just like the pros.

Beatles vs. Stones - A Musical Showdown at Kalamazoo State Theater. COURTESY PHOTO

4/13 Vaporpalooza

4 Mile Showplace 1025 4 Mile Road, Grand Rapids April 13-14, $10 vaporpalooza.com It’s time to make some clouds. Vaporpalooza is back again, bringing in thousands of vape enthusiasts with the most vape and CBD vendors you’ll ever see in one place. It’s the only event of its kind in Michigan, so don’t miss your chance to pick up your e-liquids, vaporizers, tanks, mods and everything else you need to blow some chunky clouds. Of course, you can vape all throughout the event, thanks to a massive ventilation system. Also check out the bands, seminars and more.

The Standup Comedy of Kevin James

Yoga at GRAM. COURTESY PHOTO

12 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

Kalamazoo State Theatre 404 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo April 13, 8 p.m., $45+ kazoostate.com

Emmy-nominated Kevin James is in Kalamazoo for one night only to give fans the knee-slapping comedy they’ve been looking for. Known for his roles in King of Queens, Hitch, Grown-Ups and Paul Blart: Mall Cop, the television and film actor for years has been gracing the screen with his humorous antics. Just last year, Kevin James released his comedy special, Never Don’t Give Up on Netflix. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to have some great, heavy laughs with this entertainer.

4/14 Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown Kalamazoo State Theatre 404 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo April 14, 7 p.m., $35+ kazoostate.com

It seems unlikely that the Beatles and the Rolling Stones would have ever gone head-to-head in their heyday, but that’s the beauty of tribute bands. Two of the best tribute bands around, Abbey Road and

Satisfaction, are coming to Kalamazoo State Theatre to see who rocks harder. Whatever the result, it’s really the audience who wins with this huge, extremely unique tribute show. Plus, some talented students from Loy Norrix High School are joining the band to take the sound to another level.

Gazelle Girl Women’s 5K/10K/Half Marathon Calder Plaza 250 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids April 14, 6-11:30 a.m., $95+ gazellegirlhalfmarathon.com

Women who run together, support one another. For the seventh year, Calder Plaza will be filled with walkers, joggers and sprinters alike. Sponsored by Gazelle Sports and New Balance, the event features options of a 5K,10K and Half Marathon for women to get up, get out and support local organizations. Funds raised from the race go to charity partners such as Girls on the Run of Kent and Muskegon Counties, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women (GROW), the YMCA and the Gazelle Sports Foundation. CONTINUED ON PAGE 14


LUNCH BUFFET

$10

99

*

*WITH ACTIVE PLAY

EVERY MONDAY - THURSDAY | 11AM - 3PM

GUNLAKECASINO.COM Prices listed with passport discounts and are valid with active play. Active play is defined as having earned at least one point within the last 90 days. Passport discount applies for the Cardholder and one Guest. All discounts are off the normal listed price. Discounts cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Add $2 to lunch and $3 to dinner for prices without active play. Black cardholders will receive 50% off non-active play price. Children receive $5 off non-active play price. Kids under 3 years old eat free. Management reserves all rights. © 2019 Gun Lake Tribal Gaming Authority

REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

SCENE SOUNDS | SIGHTS | DINING

WE SAVED YOU A SEAT! TRY HARVEST BUFFET TODAY. Our 300-seat, multi-station buffet, offers a variety of delectable delights! Whether you’re craving chicken fajitas and pizza or prime rib, the Harvest Buffet is sure to please. And with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, it’s guaranteed to be an upscale buffet experience unlike any other!

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12

4/18 Yoga at GRAM

Grand Rapids Art Museum 101 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids April 18, 5:45 p.m. artmuseumgr.org It’s time to strike a pose with grace and poise at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Although you’ll be raised to a new level of self-awareness and understanding, your level of experience doesn’t matter for this Vinyasa-style yoga class. All you need is a towel or mat and an openness to connect with yourself through breathing and meditation. It’s by no means a stretch to say that yoga is a pathway to achieving a new sense of exercise and mindfulness.

4/19 Godsmack

Van Andel Arena 130 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids April 19, 7 p.m., $22.50+ vanandelarena.com Fresh off their European tour, Godsmack is back and ready to rock Grand Rapids. The multi-platinum, four-time Grammy Award-nominated band also was named Rock Artist of the Year at the Billboard Music Awards. Godsmack’s explosive act

and sound has earned it a reputation as a highly energized heavy and alternative group to be reckoned with. The band’s latest debut for BMG, When Legends Rise, is all about burning down the bad and the challenges, then rising above better than before. Just be sure to bring your best flameproof jacket.

4/20 Iliza: Elder Millennial

20 Monroe Live 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids April 20, 6 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., $37.0+ 20monroelive.com Winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Iliza Shlesinger was the first and youngest woman comedian to win the title. Although winning is great and all, her tour, Illiza: Elder Millennial, digs deep into the depths of the sometimes sad, albeit amusing, life of a 35-year-old woman. Because of the success of her Netflix comedy specials, her relatable humor has graced screens across the country. Shlesinger tells it like it is, showing the younger generations the entertaining truth of what lies ahead while giving older audiences a reflective laugh.

The Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show DeVos Performance Hall

303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids April 20, 8 p.m., $30+ devosperformancehall.com Live from DeVos Performance Hall, the guys of The Free Beer and Hot Wings Morning Show will take on a very different time of day. The nationally aired show is hosted by Gregg "Free Beer" Daniels, Chris "Hot Wings" Michels, Joe "Van Life" Gassmann and Producer Steve. Geared toward a “mature audience,” fans will experience much more than a radio show. This is an interactive experience that brings together all the original and humorous aspects of the show, with a focus on the local Grand Rapids scene.

IPA Daze Festival

Pike 51 Brewing & Hudsonville Winery 3768 Chicago Dr., Hudsonville April 20, 12-11 p.m. hudsonvillewinery.com What better way to celebrate the dank, juicy goodness of hops than with an IPA festival on 4/20? Pike 51 is releasing the special KUSH IPA alongside six more hop-forward IPAs, plus plenty of other beer. The party includes live music and at 3 p.m., you can experience the art of cigar rolling with Stogies and Stouts, watching a master at work. Of course, the IPAs haven’t taken over entirely — Hudsonville Winery will be offering 25 wines, five wine slushies, cider and more.

Iliza: Elder Millennial at 20 Monroe Live. COURTESY PHOTO

4/25 Hunter Hayes – Closer to You Tour

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

The Intersection 133 Grandville Ave. SE, Grand Rapids April 25, 7:30 p.m., $32.50+ sectionlive.com

Hunter Hayes - Closer to You Tour at The Intersection. COURTESY PHOTO

14 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

Now is the chance to see American Country Music Award-winning and Grammynominated Hunter Hayes. He is most widely known for his major success as a young musician and his popular country songs Invisible, Somebody’s Heartbreak, Storm Warning and Wanted. An accomplished songwriter and instrumentalist, Hayes has toured internationally and is now headed to The Intersection, presented by local country station 93.7 B-93 and SectionLive.

4/27 No Rules Day Party & Beer Release

Perrin Brewing Company 5910 Comstock Park Dr. NW, Comstock Park April 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., $7 perrinbrewing.com There’s no time to pregame before this day party begins. Being in the beer business, Perrin Brewing Co. has a reputation for letting the good times roll and keeping the drinks coming. Yet again, Perrin is releasing No Rules, a big, powerful 15-percent ABV imperial porter. It’s a taproom-only release, and to celebrate, Perrin is hosting a full-on backyard party. Buy No Rules by the bottle or close out with a case. There truly are no limits to the celebration, and more importantly, no rules. n


FAM

FRIE

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BBQ

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STJO

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6555 28th St SE, Grand Rapids • 616.575.6520 • familyfriendsvet.com

EVENT PRODUCED AND MANAGED BY ST. JOSEPH TODAY

Home of the original Bell’s Brewery

weekly live music, with a lineup as diverse as our tap list Full concert schedule and tickets available at bellsbeer.com • Located in downtown Kalamazoo, MI

REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

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/// NEWS At The B.O.B. Grand Rapids, MI 616.356.2000 thebob.com

APRIL 2019 A monthly roundup of marijuana news and notes.

KELSEY C4O-O6K April

NICK GRIFF

April 11- IN 13

DEREK RICHARDS

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

April 18-20

SAMUEL COMROE April 25-27 #drgrins

16 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

L

et the (lottery) games begin: After months of careful deliberation from Grand Rapids officials, the state’s second largest city is about to wade into the marijuana licensing process. After finalizing local regulations, the city has received 90 applications from prospective businesses — 83 of which were for dispensaries, Revue’s sister publication MiBiz reported in March. The high volume triggers an April 12 lottery to see which applicants can receive licenses. A city official guessed Grand Rapids could approve as many as 40 dispensaries and eight growers. It’s a long time coming for West Michigan pot advocates who had to practically beg city officials to even consider allowing businesses, as MiBiz first reported in January 2018 (more than five years after Grand Rapids residents voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana). Among the applicants is Tami VandenBerg, local activist and co-owner of The Meanwhile and Pyramid Scheme. She applied with her brother, Jeff VandenBerg, and outspoken cannabis attorney Jeffrey Hank to open a dispensary on South Division Avenue. VandenBerg is also a leader of the newly formed West Michigan Cannabis Guild, which has been organizing like-minded entrepreneurs around small-business ownership in a field of increasingly large, out-of-state investors. The group holds monthly meetings in Grand Rapids.

ILLUSTRATION BY KAYLEE VAN TUINEN

Meanwhile, Michigan Advance reported in March that Whitmer has started examining the potential for expunging criminal convictions for certain past pot-related offenses. Expungement is a key issue not just for pot reformers but most criminal justice advocates, who say minority communities have disproportionately suffered from the nation’s harsh marijuana laws. With weed being legal, they shouldn’t continue suffering, supporters say. Nessel as well as some legislators have also begun looking at the expungement process.

Speaking of the Legislature, another attempt is afoot to amend portions of Prop 1, which voters approved in November 56-44 percent. Former Senate Majority In her first few months in office, Leader Arlan Meekhof of West Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has been Michigan tried and failed late last making good on promises made year to gut key provisions of the to marijuana advocates during her initiative. The latest attempt is campaign. On March 1, Whitmer more nuanced, drawing some early announced she was abolishing support from minority groups and the Medical Marijuana Licensing Gretchen Whitmer at least one House Democrat, the Board, a panel appointed by Detroit Free Press reports. The plan former Gov. Rick Snyder that was often criticized for acting slowly and arbitrarily would make gifting recreational marijuana illeon approving licenses. Whitmer’s move — gal, eliminate the medical marijuana caregiver which was praised by leading advocacy groups system, allow medical provisioning centers and Attorney General Dana Nessel — would to immediately begin selling to recreational house administrative duties within a newly customers, and allow unlicensed dispensaries to operate through the end of the year, among created Marijuana Regulatory Agency. other provisions.

Supporters — which include various companies with ties to the industry — say the effort is an attempt to “accelerate the market” and satisfy concerned municipalities. Prop 1 organizers aren’t buying it. That includes state Sen. Jeff Irwin of Ann Arbor, who worked on the legalization campaign. Irwin told the Free Press the plan is a backdoor attempt to create more space for large, out-of-state investors, and that Prop 1 should be given time to work. As with Meekhof’s plan, this latest one may also be moot: Several key provisions would require a three-quarters supermajority vote of the Legislature. Amid the flurry of business activity around marijuana (see the Michigan Cannabis Chefs story in this issue), let’s not forget the burgeoning market for CBD, cannabidiol, which contains trace levels of THC in cannabis plants. Some advocates tout the health benefits of CBD without the “high.” A certain West Michigan brewery appears to be getting in on the action, WOOD-TV reports. An official with Founders Brewing Co. says he’s “really excited” about piloting a CBD beer program that would infuse the product in suds. But of course, we’re already aware of the health benefits of beer. — Compiled by Andy Balaskovitz


SCENE SOUNDS | SIGHTS | DINING

TO FIND THIS BEER NEAR YOU, GO TO: HTTP://NEWHOLLANDBREW.COM/ REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 | 17 BEER-FINDER/


VOTING BEGINS APRIL 1 Vote for your favorite local people, places, businesses and more

18 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

revuewm.com/bestofthewest


THE CATEGORIES MUSIC

THE SHOWDOWN BEGINS 2019 ‘Best of the West’ Has Arrived BY REVUE STAFF

T

hree times now, Revue readers all around West Michigan have taken to the (online) polls to vote for their favorite locally owned businesses, people and things in the region.

Over the years, we’ve collected hundreds of thousands of votes from tens of thousands of voters. Why stop now? It’s time to do it all over again, starting April 1. If you want to participate, all you have to do is log in and start voting. Every single nominee in the survey is submitted by you, the voters, which means there are no special standards or fancy rules for who can win. It just has to be somewhere or someone based in West Michigan that you think deserves to have the spotlight shone on them. We want to be as inclusive as we can, so there are more than 100 categories to vote in! That being said, you only have to vote for 15, so don’t be intimidated. If you’re feeling really passionate about something winning (including yourself), the best way to win is to spread the word! Tell your friends, email your coworkers, call your family and post about it on social media. After all, above all else, Best of the West is all about getting the word out about amazing people, places and things in West Michigan.

Cover Band DJ Music Festival

Music Venue Original Band

Radio Station Solo Musical Artist

Symphony Vinyl Record Store

Diner Farm to Table Food Truck Fried Chicken Fries Hot Dogs Ice Cream/Frozen Treats Indian Italian Lunch

Mediterranean Cuisine Mexican Middle Eastern Cuisine Most Innovative Cuisine New Restaurant

opened in past 12 months

Service Soup Steak Sushi Thai Vegan Menu Vegetarian Menu Wine List Wings

Fruit Beer German Beer Gin IPA

Craft Lager Margarita Mead Sour

Stout Vodka

Karaoke Meadery Movie Theater New Brewery

Night Club Open-Mic Night Sports Bar Winery

Bicycle Shop Car Wash/Detailing Chef Dog Groomer Filmmaker Fitness Club/Gym Hair Stylist Interior Designer

Massage Nail Salon Optical Personal Trainer Photographer Piercing Artist Realtor Salon

Stand-Up Comedian Tattoo Artist Tattoo/Piercing Shop Vet/Animal Clinic Wedding Planner Yoga Studio

Comic Book Store Downtown Shopping District Farmers’ Market Florist Footwear Store

Gift Shop Grocery Store Health Food Store Hiking/Outdoor Gear Jewelry Store Men’s Clothing

Musical Instrument Store Pet Store Thrift/Consignment Shop Tobacco/Cigar Shop Vintage Clothing Store Women’s Clothing

DINING Ambience Bakery BBQ Breakfast Brunch Burgers Chili Chinese Coffee Desserts

Patio Pizzas Sandwich/Deli Seafood

DRINKS Bloody Marys Bourbon Cider Craft Cocktails

NIGHTLIFE & ACTIVITIES Annual Festival Bar/Pub/Tavern Beer Bar Brewery Bowling

Casino Cidery Cocktail Lounge Distillery Happy Hour

opened in past 12 months

SERVICES & PEOPLE Advocate/Activist Attorney Auto Repair Bank/Credit Union Barber Shop Barista Bartender Bed & Breakfast

SHOPPING

VOTING STARTS MONDAY, APRIL 1 VOTING ENDS FRIDAY, JUNE 14 WINNERS ANNOUNCED THURSDAY, AUGUST 1

Antique Shop Athletic Goods Store Beer/Wine/Liquor Store Book Store Bridal Boutique Butcher

CULTURAL ARTS Visual Artist Alternative Art Gallery

Art Gallery Art Museum

Theater Group Symphony

Vote at revuewm.com/bestofthewest REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

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/// NEWS

‘ALL HANDS ON DECK’ West Michigan Democrats look to build off 2018 wins, but they may also have demographic and political redistricting in their favor. | By Andy Balaskovitz

B

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

eneath the stained drop ceiling of the American Postal Workers Union West Michigan Local on a recent March evening, Kent County Democrats were strategizing on how to build off a solid performance in November 2018. President Donald Trump would rally in Grand Rapids in 15 days, while several Democratic hopefuls would swing through Southeast Michigan within the week. It was a few days before St. Patrick’s Day, and the 2020 election was gaining steam. But in traditionally and oft-perceived conservative West Michigan, it’s tough not to sense additional momentum favoring Democrats. They’re coming off a 2018 election in which: • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took 17 of 83 counties in the state, including winning by more than 11,000 votes in Kent County, which hadn’t voted for a Democratic governor for at least two decades. • Democrats picked up two seats on the Kent County Board of Commissioners, f lipping one to Democrats in northeastern Grand Rapids and picking up a vacant seat in Kentwood/Wyoming by 1,200 votes. • State Sen. Winnie Brinks f lipped the 29th Senate district for Democrats over former state Rep. Chris Afendoulis, a district considered gerrymandered to favor Republicans. Apart from recent success, though, is what lies ahead. The population of Grand Rapids is growing and trending younger, with presumably more progressive voters. Outside the city, pundits point to metro areas like Rockford, Walker, Wyoming and Kentwood for turning out Democrats in 2018.

20 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

It builds off Democratic bases in Muskegon and Kalamazoo. Demographic shifts could have major implications as new state legislative and congressional districts are drawn based on 2020 Census data. At the same time, Michigan will have a new process for drawing these districts after the broad support for Proposal 2 in 2018, which created an independent commission to draw districts instead of the politically motivated process open to gerrymandering by both Republicans and Democrats. “You definitely see it’s becoming more fertile ground for Democratic candidates,” Dennis Darnoi, a GOP strategist, said of West Michigan.

WEST MICHIGAN HOUSE DISTRICT MAP 92 MUSKEGON 91 74 88 89 OTTAWA 90

73

76 75

KENT

86 IONIA

77 72

REACTION TO 2016

The Kent County Dems’ March meeting was an early glimpse of the party’s strategy for 2020. It was led by two volunteers spurred to action, like many in the area, after President Trump’s election in 2016. That included Kim Gates, the precinct organizing chairperson, and Kent County Democrats chairperson Gary Stark, both relative newcomers on the scene. Gates said the plan is to target and build support in all 252 precincts in Kent County with district organizers, which are not the same as precinct delegates. Organizer training is scheduled to start in June. The plan is known as the “First Steps to 2020.” “We have a lot of delegates,” Gates said. “We don’t have a lot of organizers.” The statewide Michigan Democratic Party also has taken notice of West Michigan. Chairperson Lavora Barnes says a threeperson field staff was added to West Michigan in 2017, and will remain through 2020. “We’re going to grow that team of field organizers. We’re not conceding any part of the state,” Barnes said.

ALLEGAN 80

The Democratic National Committee also is providing f unding for a 2020 Organizing Corps, which includes a $4,000 stipend geared toward college juniors. Barnes, who was elected to lead Michigan Democrats earlier this year, said she “spent a lot of time” in West Michigan while running for chair. “After what happened in 2016, folks woke up the day after the election ready to fight back and win,” she said. “There’s serious evidence of excitement.” Stark, who was elected Kent County chair in December, said that was basically his path to leadership within the party. He’s a retired university professor and dean, spending more than 40 years in higher education. “I retired in 2015. Then 2016 happened,” Stark said. “As with many people, I got ener-

BARRY 87

gized and activated and became much more involved in local and national politics.”

CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS

While Democrats may be publicly optimistic and self-promoting, a key question remains: Will that optimism actually lead to a gain in seats in 2020 and beyond? Several factors are at play. While anti-Trump sentiment appears to remain strong among Democrats and moderates, it’s unclear who will be the party’s presidential nominee to face off against a presumptive Trump re-election campaign. It’s also unclear who will be recruited to run in the 2nd, 3rd and 6th congressional districts,

CONTINUED ON PAGE 22


REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

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DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE

/// NEWS

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 20

seats now held by Republicans Bill Huizenga, Justin Amash and Fred Upton, respectively. Huizenga and Amash easily fended off their challengers in 2018, each garnering about 55 percent of the vote. Upton’s race was the closest after beating Matt Longjohn 50-46 percent, or by about 13,000 votes. The 2nd and 3rd congressional districts are often cited as prime examples of Republican gerrymandering. The 2nd spans from Ludington to Holland along Lake Michigan and inland to Wyoming. Amash has reportedly raised concerns about the way his district was drawn in 2010 in a way that also helped U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton, in the 7th congressional district. The Detroit News repor ted emails that surfaced in February during a lawsuit against gerrymandering suggested Amash’s district was drawn in a way that benefits the Republican Walberg while not diluting Amash’s GOP voters too much. Aside from the candidates, though, Da r noi sees moment um shif t ing for Democrats based on demographics. The population is growing around the state’s two biggest cities, Grand Rapids and Detroit, while it’s shrinking or remaining stagnant in Republican-held areas to the north. When redistricting happens, “You’re going to have to be drawing some of those northern districts a little farther south to gain population to meet requirements,” Darnoi said. “That’s going to create more diverse districts in the southern portion of the state. … That should give Democratic candidates an advantage.” For West Michigan, Darnoi says it will still depend on which candidates are running. He pointed to Kent County in 2018, where Whitmer beat GOP challenger Bill Schuette by 11,600 votes and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson beat Mary Treder Lang by 7,500 votes. Attorney General Dana Nessel, meanwhile, lost Kent County to Tom Leonard by 10,000 votes. “(Nessel) wasn’t the type of candidate that could be fully embraced by Kent County,” Darnoi said, referring to Nessel’s outspoken “further left” politics. Trump won Kent County in 2016 by 9,500 votes. “Depending on who the candidate is in 2020, it could again be a battleground area in the presidential election,” Darnoi said. “(Kent County) hasn’t completely flipped to being a Democratic area yet.” A representative for the Kent County GOP was unavailable for comment. Ironically, some obser vers believe Republican mega-donors like the DeVos family are helping drive the demographic changes that are bringing younger, more progressive voters to West Michigan.

22 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

Ed Kettle, a longtime Democratic consultant in Grand Rapids, has watched cities in West Michigan grow increasingly progressive in recent years. “Oddly enough, it was the wealthy people, mostly conservative money pouring in for development projects,” he said. “Those bring in people, and those people are either apolitical or tend to be a little more progressive. I’ve seen these demographics shift before, but this is the largest based on pure population growth.” “Absolutely,” Darnoi agreed. “The investment in Grand Rapids as well as Detroit make it a desirable place for younger individuals to want to work. The more attractive a city is, the more likely you are to bring in younger voters, who tend to be more aligned with Democratic orthodoxies.” However, Kettle says the rural and agricultural areas of West Michigan will continue to be a challenge for Democrats. He thinks candidates should be targeting these voters, the way U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow has over the years as a champion for the Farm Bill. “It’s really Democrats who have been taking care of farmers,” Kettle said. “I get it — guns and babies — but your economy is collapsing because this guy (Trump) wants his tariffs.” D av id D oyle , a not he r long t i me Democratic consultant in Grand Rapids with a deep knowledge of political history, noted former Congressman Richard Vander Veen was the last Democrat Grand Rapids sent to Washington. The vote in 1974 was a referendum on President Richard Nixon; Vander Veen lost his seat to Republican Harold Sawyer in 1976. “There hasn’t been a Democrat elected (to Congress) since in this part of the state,” Doyle said. “That’s truly because Republicans and Democrats cut districts at the state level and congressional (races). Democrats always sided with Detroit — ‘We’ll give Detroit their Democrats, but we’re going to have Republicans on the west side of the state.’”

GERRYMANDERING NO MORE?

The anticipation of new 2020 Census data will give way to Michigan’s new redistricting process after the approval of Proposal 2, a constitutional amendment Michigan voters passed to create an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission to draw new districts. The 13-member commission is made up of randomly selected voters through an application process (four Democrats, four Republicans and five unaffiliated with those parties) and will draw new maps for the 2022 election. Previously, the Legislature and the

CONTINUED ON PAGE 24

WEST MICHIGAN CONGRESSIONAL MAP

DISTRICT 2

DISTRICT 3

DISTRICT 6

REPRESENTATIVE: BILL HUIZENGA

REPRESENTATIVE: JUSTIN AMASH

REPRESENTATIVE: FRED UPTON

REPUBLICAN

REPUBLICAN

REPUBLICAN

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/// NEWS

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“IN ORDER FOR THE GOP IN GRAND RAPIDS, KENT COUNTY AND ACROSS MICHIGAN TO BE SUCCESSFUL, I THINK IT NEEDS TO FOCUS MORE ON THE ECONOMIC QUALITY OF LIFE AND LESS ON SOCIAL ISSUES. … UNFORTUNATELY NOW WHERE THE GOP BASE IS, IF YOU WANT TO BE A SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE, THOSE ARE THE ISSUES THE BASE IS LOOKING TO HEAR ABOUT.” DENNIS DARNOI, GOP STRATEGIST governor decided new districts based on new Census data every 10 years. Some districts could also be redrawn for the 2020 election based on the outcome of a lawsuit brought by the League of Women Voters. As of mid-March, a three-judge panel was still weighing a decision on the case claiming Michigan Republicans unfairly drew districts to hurt Democrats. The outcome could cause some new districts to be drawn for 2020. “We’re excited to fight on a fair playing field,” said Barnes, the chair of the Michigan Democrats, adding that — at this point — it’s hard to even guess what the new 2022 districts will look like. “I do know that it will be more fair than now.” Indeed, the point of independent, nonpartisan redistricting is not to favor one party over another, but to make races more competitive. “By all accounts, it should be fairer, more even-handed and less partisan than it has in the past,” said Stark, the chair of the Kent County Democrats. “I think we’ll see much closer elections and perhaps an upsurge in Democratic seats.” Kettle agrees the new redistricting process “will hold well for us. This is becoming a more progressive side of the state. The grand mystique of the Republican Party in Michigan might be dinged a little bit.” Even without new Census data, GOP strategist Darnoi imagines new district lines in West Michigan congressional districts based on population shifts could benefit Democrats. He said the 2nd district could include parts of Kalamazoo, Portage and Grand Rapids. “Between the 3rd and 6th, they could come up with what would be a really good Democratic-leaning district,” he added. “When you’re talking about demographic changes heading into redistricting, there is potential to see a district with a Democratic congressman from the west side.” The same goes for state House seats drawn based on new populations, he said.

“I think starting in the 2022 cycle, you’re going to have very competitive seats on the west side. They’ll be considered toss-ups, battlegrounds,” Darnoi said. “It’s just how our population is going and where we’re growing.” So what does this mean for Michigan Republicans, who handed Trump 16 Electoral College votes in 2016? “In order for the GOP in Grand Rapids, Kent County and across Michigan to be successful, I think it needs to focus more on the economic quality of life and less on social issues,” Darnoi said. Problem is, that focus on social issues — or appealing to the base — may get Republican candidates through a primary, but not a general election. “Unfortunately now where the GOP base is, if you want to be a successful candidate, those are the issues the base is looking to hear about,” Darnoi said. “We do have this quandary: You can win a primary by appealing to base issues, but then you’ll really struggle to connect with independents, conservatives, as well as Democrats. “You have to be striking that balance with more pragmatic governing. It’s going to be very difficult to do in 2020 as long as Trump is the nominee. The party is going to serve as an echo chamber for whatever Trump is talking about in this election. I don’t know how anyone could legitimately say that what we saw in 2018 wasn’t part of a repudiation of the Trump message.” While Democrats are stepping up their organizing, state chair Barnes said “there’s always been interest” from the party in West Michigan. For example, former state Rep. Brandon Dillon wasn’t expected to win the 75th district in 2010. After the election, his district was drawn to favor Democrats even more to help Republicans elsewhere in a process known as “packing and cracking.” (Dillon, of Grand Rapids, went on to chair the Michigan Democratic Party from 2015 through 2018.) “The difference now is we are truly organizing on a grassroots level all over the state,” Barnes said. “It’s just all hands on deck.” n


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STYLE NOTES

by Missy Black

MIXED BAGS T

HE BEST BAGS ARE ONES THAT CAN GO ANYWHERE AND DO ANYTHING, and a new line at jb and me is gearing up to be this season’s trademark sidekick. While the Haute Shore brand of bags is a departure from what the store

usually carries, Store Manager Laura Flom is already seeing them sell fast. “Everyone loves athleisure styles and the bags coincide with those looks,” said Flom, adding that the neoprene fabric (think scuba gear) is easy to clean and is great for travel, heading to the gym or everyday use. Not only do the bags catch your eye in camouflage and star motifs, but they hold up to the demands of busy life. The large, rectangle weekender bags offer snaps that take in

4

and slim the container down for a more trim version. Also, each bag comes with a smaller clutch inside for makeup, cell phones, cash and other compact items. Another smart addition is the clip feature that allows for a quick grab for keys that always sink to the bottom. Both the clutch and clip give easy access to the essentials. Bags are available for $84 each. “It’s important to have a fun and trendy handbag to carry essentials around that expresses your style too,” Flom said. n

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SCENE SOUNDS | SIGHTS | DINING

WHAT’S IN THE BAG?

27


/// LOCAL

LA DISPUTE. PHOTO BY POONEH GHANA.

N

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE

INDISPUTABLE INTENSITY

Local post-hardcore pioneers La Dispute explore wide emotional spectrum on new LP Panorama | by Eric Mitts

28 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

othing has shaped the story and success of La Dispute quite like its hometown of Grand Rapids. From forming in the city as a band of high school teenagers back in 2004, to laying down sweat-covered sets at beloved former all-ages venues like Skelletones and The DAAC, the acclaimed five-piece owes its start to GR and local fans. But since the 2008 release of its breakthrough full-length LP, Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair, and the band’s subsequent triumphs touring all over the world during the past decade, the city has served as more than just a hometown. A creative wellspring, an emotional center, and a continual catalyst, Grand Rapids has provided vocalist Jordan Dreyer with so many of the moving, emotional stories he’s rendered into gut-wrenching poetry as La Dispute has developed its signature sound. Perhaps best-known for Dreyer’s amalgamation of spoken word and primal screams, the band’s music has evolved, touching on everything from jazz to blues, prog rock and screamo, with the band coming almost full circle on its latest LP, Panorama, released late in March. “Everything that happened in those first four or five years, operating principally in and around West Michigan, is what propelled us forward,” Dreyer told Revue. “So it’s crazy to think back. I never thought in 2004 when I was a sophomore in high school that I would still be making music with my friends all these years later with a degree of success that made it semi-sustainable career-wise. It’s pretty f*cking wild.” He credits the strong independent music scene in Grand Rapids for making his band what it is today, especially thanks to venues like The Pyramid Scheme, where La Dispute will play an almost immediately sold-out show as part of the venue’s eight-year anniversary celebration this month. In fact, Pyramid Scheme co-owner Jeff VandenBerg was the first to release any of La Dispute’s music when he issued the band’s debut EP on his label Friction Records back in 2006. “I think that Grand Rapids is such a peculiar city in a way,” Dreyer said. “It’s not Chicago or Detroit, but it has such a distinct sense of community. We were so young, and there were so many people who had been making art and making music and building the community already, and they welcomed

us in. That was a big part of the growth that occurred in those years. There was a real sense of wanting to build up everybody, and we were just these little shits who knew very little of what we were doing.” Growing up a lot on the road over the past decade and a half, Dreyer, now 31, has come to give a critical eye to his hometown as he’s continued to draw from its tragedies and history. “All of our music, or the vast majority of our music, occurs in Grand Rapids,” Dreyer said. “That’s the environment in which it happens, the stories that we’ve told. So there is no external source that has had more influence on the way we operate or the music we make.”

"THE VAST MAJORITY OF OUR MUSIC OCCURS IN GRAND RAPIDS. ... THERE IS NO EXTERNAL SOURCE THAT HAS HAD MORE INFLUENCE ON THE WAY WE OPERATE OR THE MUSIC WE MAKE.” On Panorama, Dreyer simultaneously deals with returning to Grand Rapids to write and record the album with his bandmates who have spread out all across the globe as they’ve grown into their own lives, while confronting his own departure from the city. “When we wrote the record, I was living in Grand Rapids, but I was on a timeline because my partner had been accepted into a graduate program on the West Coast,” he said. “I knew that after I finished


Friday,DaleApril 19, 7:30 p.m. B. Lake Auditorium at the Texas Township Campus

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that coming to terms with different aspects of that and what it means. “This might be super arrogant of me to say about the city and about West Michigan, but having been so many different places in my life, Grand Rapids is a really unique place,” he added. “And while I love it deeply, there are parts of it that I loathe. There’s a lot of wealth and there’s disparity in that it’s very directly divided along particular demographic lines. There’s a brief mention of that on this record. “Everything is sort of reckoning with the connections that you make, and the bulk of the connections that I’ve made in my life, I’ve made in West Michigan.” n

or by contacting Dave Posther

dposther@kvcc.edu

or 269.488.4476

or at www.kvcc.edu/artistsforum

SCENE | SOUNDS | SIGHTS | DINING

writing this record, I would be moving to the Northwest. So, I think that made me lean into the idea of making a record that related to home. … I ended up narrowing my focus back onto Grand Rapids, and the neighborhoods where I’d spent the three years living, preceding the record. “I think a big part for me, on a lyrical level, was leaving home.” The band actually scrapped its first two months of work on the new record after realizing that the framework they had forced upon themselves wasn’t ringing true in their hearts. They were initially trying to follow-up their more structured previous album, 2015’s critically acclaimed Rooms of the House, but then the band freed itself up to work more like it had in the very beginning. “I think on every release in some way from a lyrical standpoint, I’m confronting an aspect of my upbringing or my environment and what’s occurred to me or around me or to the people in close proximity to me,” Dreyer said. “I think your environment plays a pretty important role in how you view things, and I think there’s always going to be

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29


/// ON TOUR

FROM SCREEN TO STAGE Viral video icons OK Go return to Kalamazoo with new interactive live show | by Eric Mitts

DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE

T

READMILLS. STUNT TRACKS. ZERO GRAVITY acrobatics. Indie-pop band OK Go has done it all on its way to internet celebrity and musical acclaim. The band first broke through in the summer of 2006 with the release of its now legendary DIY video for the song Here It Goes Again. The clip quickly became one of the most popular videos on YouTube at the time — racking up more than 50 million views and earning the band a Grammy — while reshaping the way music videos are made and viewed in the decade to come. “I have seen people refer to us as the godfathers of viral videos,” OK Go vocalist/guitarist Damian Kulash told Revue. “(It’s) super flattering to hear, but … the nature of the digital world is so fast-paced and so inherently fragmented that we’ll never be a household name. (But) that’s the nature of finding your own way in the digital world. “You’re not part of this huge monolith of culture which is handed down by the four big TV networks or through the record labels or something. You’re a little river through the world that clips the people that speak your language.” Embracing their own quirky, free-thinking form of creativity, the band has made a career out of crafting clever new videos. Often done in one continuous take and incorporating elaborate elements, like an improvised Rube Goldberg Machine in the video for 2013’s This Too Shall Pass, the band has continued to spark the imaginations of music lovers and tech fanatics alike with its innovative approach to the art form. To celebrate their 20th anniversary as a band, OK Go decided to reinvent the live rock show, and late last year devised a way to merge the analog with the digital by bringing many of its most beloved videos to the stage. “This show is so different from a rock show,” Kulash said of the band’s Live Video Tour. “I think once upon a time we’d probably be a rock band in a traditional sense, but as it’s gone along and we’ve chased bigger and bigger ideas, we’ve realized that the rock show format doesn’t really match what we do, nor does it match the types of fans that we have. Don’t get me wrong, we love playing sweaty cathartic rock shows, but there’s whole sections of what we do that appeals to people who are under 10 and who are senior citizens.” For years, the band has tried to make its rock shows appeal to its increasingly diverse audience. Without making people sit and watch videos in a venue, the group realized it could bend its videos to work more in a live setting by including more interactive moments with the audience. “Rather than make the rock show get weirder, we made the weird stuff more rock show,” Kulash said. “There’s a lot of question and answer with the audience, and a lot of surprise elements, and an interactive app that our guitarist programmed, and there’s some dancing and we play some hand bells, and we

30 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

OK GO. PHOTO BY NIKOLAY IVANOV.

music there. He was there for theater and I was there for visual bring audience members up onstage. It’s a very live experience, arts and in some ways that all makes sense now. Even as kids, but it’s also in a weird way a movie screening, because you’ve we were more excited about chasing creativity than chasing a got the 15 to 20 videos that we do up there, and we show you particular form or a particular outlet.” how we did it.” “We are sort of living proof how imporThe band’s unorthodox path to success tant creative education is,” he added. “You’re actually started right here in Michigan, when OK GO: THE LIVE VIDEO TOUR not just learning a set of skills, you’re learnKulash met OK Go bassist Tim Nordwind KALAMAZOO STATE THEATRE ing a way of parsing out the world around — who’s a Kalamazoo native and 1994 Loy 404 S. BURDICK ST., KALAMAZOO you, a way of expressing yourself and comNorrix grad — while both were attending APRIL 28, 6 P.M., $39.50-$49.50 municating with others. So I reflect on that Interlochen Center for the Arts as 11-yearKAZOOSTATE.COM, (269) 345-6500 time there in same way that you reflect on olds. The two formed a fast friendship that being born.” has stood the test of time and distance, and Now a new father to twins, Kulash is curwhat they learned there laid the foundation rently working on a feature film with his wife, while the band for everything that was to come for the band. gears up to release some new music later this year. “We met at Interlochen and not only would we not be a “Hopefully, for the first time ever, we will actually release a band if it weren’t for that, I’m not sure I could have been so song with its video at the same time,” he said. “But it remains clear about what I wanted in life in general,” Kulash said. “We to be seen if we can figure out how to do that.” n both went to this arts camp and neither of us primarily studied


APRIL 2019 REVUEWM.COM/ARTS

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Arts groups find new ways to engage audiences — both online and off

SEE PAGE 3A. STORY BY MICHAELA STOCK.

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[feature]

Selling Reality

Publisher Brian Edwards

Arts groups find new ways to engage audiences — both online and off

Associate Publisher Rich Tupica Editor Joe Boomgaard / joe@revuewm.com Managing Editor Josh Veal / josh@revuewm.com Copy Editor Claire Boomgaard

BY MICHAELA STOCK

Design Kristi Kortman / kristi@revuewm.com Kaylee Van Tuinen / kaylee@revuewm.com Contributing Writers Jane Simons Kayla Sosa Dana Casadei Marla Miller Michaela Stock

Gone are the days of scanning TV Guide for something worth watching, or standing in silence in a line at the grocery store.

Minion Danata Paulino

Streaming services and smartphones have radically altered the way people access entertainment with constant contact to social media apps and on-demand streaming services like Spotify and Netflix. People can choose what they want to see, when they want to see it. It’s no question the rise of digital entertainment influences the attendance of theater performances, gallery openings and other live events. However, its effect is not all negative, but results vary depending on how organizations choose to use new technology to their advantage. Digital media marketing provides art galleries, theaters, museums and symphonies with 24/7 access to their audience, and this access allows for historically unparalleled advertising and outreach opportunities for their organizations. Social media’s advertising algorithms come with a learning curve, however. Businesses such as theaters and museums have had to revolutionize the way they reach their target audiences and tend to each media platform’s rules, language and purpose. Several organizations in West Michigan, including The Barn Theater, Farmers Alley Theater, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) and the Grand Rapids Symphony have wrestled with how best to use social media and digital streaming services for gathering an audience for their live events in the age of instant entertainment. “It used to be you’d have a flyer, you’d send out press releases and hard copy through the mail, and you’d put an ad in papers. We had, at one time, put an ad in nine different newspapers,” said Penelope

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Beyond the Rainbow: The Judy Garland Musical at Farmers Alley Theatre, Sept-Oct 2018.

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Alex Ragotzy, owner of Kalamazoo’s The Barn Theater. Ragotzy has worked with The Barn Theater for nearly 33 years, and she’s been at the forefront of the changes and challenges presented by technological advancements within her business. “Social media has been a godsend for us,” she said. Ragotzy has taken advantage of social media platforms by creating digital content to advertise upcoming shows at The Barn by promoting performances with preview videos. She says she has found a surprising amount of success through sharing these videos on Facebook. “You have 10,000 people — or 10,000 views — on a video, and then all their friends start viewing it,” Ragotzy said. “We’re reaching 30,000 people at a crack. That just speaks volumes to how things have

changed and how many people we can reach for free.” Farmers Alley Theater’s executive director, Adam Weiner, agrees with Ragotzy on the benefits of sharing videos on social media. “A lot of theaters across the country know that, with the rise of social media, pictures don’t necessarily do their events justice,” Weiner said. “Whether it’s a 10-second video or a 30-second video, behind the scenes or any type of hook you can get with the public and why they should come see the show … those videos should try to accomplish that.” Chris Koens, the UICA’s marketing and communications coordinator, also deals with social media daily. His mission is to publicize the UICA’s weekly events. “We do six days of films every week, for the most part,” Koens said. “We have

REVUE is published monthly by Revue Holding Company. P.O. Box 1629, Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1629 Office: 616.608.6170 / Fax: 616.608.6182 ©2019 Revue Holding Company. All rights reserved.

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Or Does it Explode at the UICA. Continued on Page 4

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[feature]

Left: The Barn Theater. Right: Or Does it Explode at the UICA. COURTESY PHOTOS

two films playing in our theater that alternate, and then you have special events like gallery openings as well as fundraising events and things like that, since we are a nonprofit organization. “Our exhibitions open every couple of months, and we have a rotating schedule because we have basically four floors of galleries. And beyond that, we have community events, because we do rent out spaces within our facilities.” With all the buzz and happenings at the UICA, Koens has a lot to keep up on when it comes to marketing. He sees online platforms as more than just a means to get people through the UICA’s doors, however. Koens says social media services are helpful for continuing conversations on real-world topics that were sparked by attendees inside the gallery spaces. “Contemporary art is being made now, and that means it’s being made by people who are in the world, so it means the artists are dealing with the things that we’re all dealing with,” Koens said. “It makes it a little easier for the audience to connect with that, because a lot of the things that artists are dealing with, struggling with and wanting to talk about are the same things that the people — the general public that maybe aren’t the creators of the world — are talking about too.”

But what about Netflix? Despite the multiple benefits social media platforms have for businesses, these new online resources can sometimes cause headaches for organizations trying to draw people in for live events. Entertainment services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube provide a wide array of entertainment options for people to enjoy at home, maybe even in their sweatpants. Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, the Grand Rapids Symphony’s senior manager of communications and media relations, has dealt with

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the onset of social media marketing and its pros and cons. “The challenge, of course, is people do have more choices, and there’s greater competition for time in entertainment,” Kaczmarczyk said. “And yes, people are spending a lot more time online doing things, and then there are still only so many hours in the day and so many dollars in your wallet.” Koens agreed, saying, “Everybody is vying for the same audience. Everybody’s working with the same amount of audience time and resources.” Whether it’s targeting music lovers at the symphony, art enthusiasts at the museum or playbill collectors at the theater, arts organizations have a constant battle in figuring out where and how to get the word out. “We still struggle to get people in the door. We still have to worry about whether to use Facebook or Instagram or writers or print media in general, and how to research to target the audience we need to get to,” Koens said. Weiner from Farmers Alley sees the challenges as well. “It’s so hard to compete with home entertainment,” he said.

Nothing beats a shared experience Although it might seem old fashioned to attend a play at a theater for entertainment when anyone can turn on a movie with the tap of your fingers anytime, anywhere, Ragotzy at The Barn believes live theater is still incredibly relevant to the younger generation and presents an experience to an audience that can’t be found off the stage, even if they’re unfamiliar with the title of the play being performed. “This isn’t your grandmother’s theater anymore,” Ragotzy said. “What I’m trying to get people to understand is the whole

“This isn’t your grandmother’s theater anymore. What I’m trying to get people to understand is the whole experience. Yes, you might not know that show, but it doesn’t matter because you’re going to have so much fun doing all these other things. Have some dinner and drinks and see the aftershow, and you’ll have a blast.” — Penelope Alex Ragotzy, owner of The Barn Theater

experience. Yes, you might not know that show, but it doesn’t matter because you’re going to have so much fun doing all these other things. Have some dinner and drinks and see the aftershow, and you’ll have a blast.” The same goes for the symphony. “That’s the difference between watching a sporting event on TV and going to the stadium and experiencing it live. It’s a different experience,” Kaczmarczyk said. “Certainly, people enjoy watching sports on TV, but most would tell you that it’s just more fun to be there. The same is true of any live entertainment, including classical music.” Having fun is not the only benefit audiences experience, though. “You’re turning the audience on to look outside of themselves, and to just be a better person on every level,” Ragotzy said. “That’s what theater does. You’re always looking into someone else’s life and learning from what they’re going through right there in front of you.” Koens shares a similar sentiment with the niche independent and international films the UICA presents in its state-of-theart theater, as well as the artists it showcases in its galleries. “I almost feel like there’s a big sense in society right now of wanting to become a part of something, whether that be politics

or just a groupthink,” Koens said. “I think that there is something in that that makes people want to seek out a shared experience.” The younger generations get the most backlash for using streaming services as home entertainment rather than attending performances or gallery openings. However, that perception is not entirely fair. The UICA sees many young people walk through its doors on a regular basis, seeking conversation on real-world contemporary events. And Farmers Alley Theater offers subsidized shows for college students with a valid ID to make the theater more accessible for student budgets. “I think sometimes there's a disrespect toward the Millennial generation,” Koens said. “The younger generation is pigeonholed into this group of people who maybe doesn’t care or who maybe isn’t connected.” In the end, whether you’re 20 years old or 80, and whether you attend an event because of a print ad or an Instagram post, what Koens, Weiner, Kaczmarczyk and Ragotzy want West Michiganders to know is that live performances and gallery openings aren’t going away anytime soon. “There’s a shared excitement that only happens when you’re surrounded by other people who are enjoying the same music at the same time, in the same place. And that’s powerful,” Kaczmarczyk said. ■


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[VISUAL ARTS]

PREVIEW

There aren’t too many new exhibitions debuting this month, giving you loads of time to check out the ones just opening and some that you may have missed in March. The handful of newbies do include a few really interesting concepts though, including an annual high school area show, and another where a museum partnered with a local nonprofit so residents can create work and have it put up in said museum. How cool is that? BY DANA CASADEI

CALVIN COLLEGE CENTER ART GALLERY 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids calvin.edu/centerartgallery/studio, (616) 526-6271

HAGUE SCHOOL PAINTINGS, Through July 31

CRAIG GOODWORTH AND DAVID HOOKER, Through April 27

FREDERIK MEIJER GARDENS & SCULPTURE PARK

and undergraduate studies — were awarded to young artists from places like Western Michigan University, Kendall College of Art and Design, the University of Michigan, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. Those who qualify may also have their work considered for the 6th District Congressional Art Competition. If you win that, you’ll have your piece up for one year in the U.S. Capitol, in the office of Representative Fred Upton. There’s also a trip to Washington, D.C. included!

GRAND RAPIDS ART MUSEUM

101 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids artmuseumgr.org, (616) 831-1000

1000 East Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids meijergardens.org, (888) 957-1580

A DECADE AT THE CENTER: RECENT GIFTS AND ACQUISITIONS, Through April 28

A NATIONAL TREASURE: FRED MEIJER, HIS COLLECTION AND LEGACY, Through Aug. 25

A LEGACY OF LOVE: SELECTIONS FROM THE MABEL PERKINS COLLECTION,

FRED & DOROTHY FICHTER BUTTERFLIES ARE BLOOMING, Through April 30

KALAMAZOO INSTITUTE OF ARTS 314 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kiarts.org, (269) 349-7775

YOUNG ARTISTS OF KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Through April 14 THE EXPRESSIONIST FIGURE, Through May 5

THE FEELING IS MUTUAL: NEW WORK BY MAYA FREELON, Through May 31 REWARDS OF WISDOM: CONTEMPORARY CHINESE INK PAINTING, Through June 16 HIGH SCHOOL AREA SHOW, April 26-May 26 It’s back! Now in its 37th year, the annual exhibit showcases works by students in grades 9-12. For those who reside in Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, or Van Buren counties, this is a super awesome opportunity to have their work in the museum and possibly receive a scholarship. Last year, 45 scholarships — for both summer programs

IN PIECES: THE ART OF VINTAGE PUZZLES, Through April 21

A + FOR EDUCATORS: ILLUSTRATIONS BY PATRICIA POLACCO, Through May 12 EXPRESSIONS 2019: 37TH ANNUAL MUSKEGON COUNTY STUDENT ART EXHIBITION, Through April 7 In collaboration between the museum and the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District is Expressions, the annual Muskegon County student art exhibition. Now celebrating its 37th year, the exhibition displays the art of Muskegon County K-12 students. Pieces were selected by art specialists from each of the public, charter and private schools in the county.

URBAN INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS 2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids uica.org, (616) 454-7000

WARM WATER: NEW WORKS BY CHARLES EDWARD WILLIAMS, Through April 28 OR DOES IT EXPLODE?, Through June 16 DWELLING PLACE RESIDENT EXHIBITION, April 5-21 This neighborhood-wide Community Arts Series is brought together by the UICA and Dwelling Place. The latter is a nonprofit housing and community development corporation located

Butterflies at Fred Meijer Gardens. COURTESY PHOTO

in Heartside. Connecting residents to cultural experiences, the exhibition is hosting a series of workshops, arts activities and behind-thescenes tours. Another part of the exhibition will be led by local teaching artist Zachary Trebellas, who will do hands-on workshops with the residents. Those pieces will then be on display in a group exhibition at UICA.

SAUGATUCK CENTER FOR THE ARTS 400 Culver St., Saugatuck sc4a.org, (269) 857-2399

SONNEZIMMER, Through May 24 WILD SOCIETY, Through May 24

VOTING BEGINS APRIL 1

Through April 28

SELF, SYMBOL, SURROGATE: ARTIST PORTRAITS FROM GRAM’S COLLECTION, Through Aug. 11

LAFONTSEE GALLERIES 833 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids 410 W. Center St., Douglas lafontsee.us

REVIVE & SOLO INSTALLATION, Friday, April 26-May 24 This is basically a two-for-one special. First, there’s Revive, a group show from LaFontsee artists focusing on renewal, new perspectives and fresh new work. (A pretty perfect theme for spring, which is hopefully on its way ASAP.) Second, there’s a solo installation by Myles Bennett, who works in painting, drawing, apparel and sculpture.

MUSKEGON MUSEUM OF ART 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon muskegonartmuseum.org, (231) 720-2570

AMERICAN SPECTACLE: PAINTINGS FROM THE MANOOGIAN COLLECTION OF AMERICAN ART, Through April 28

MUSIC | DINING | DRINKS | NIGHTLIFE & ACTIVITIES SERVICES & PEOPLE | SHOPPING | CULTURAL ARTS revuewm.com/bestofthewest REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019 |

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[Music]

Triple Threat Holland Symphony features three masterworks and three accomplished West Michigan musicians BY MARLA R. MILLER

Closing out the season, Holland Symphony Orchestra and three local musicians are taking on works by three of classical music’s most well-known composers: Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. This Triple Threat includes Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C major, Op.56, featuring Andrew Le on piano, Jennifer Walvoord on violin and Alicia Eppinga on cello. The program also includes Mozart’s Overture from Abduction from Seraglio, K.384, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 in B minor. Triple Concerto, which premiered in 1808, was the first piece of its kind to be written for this combination of instruments. Known as a piano trio, it’s a work not usually programmed due to the fact there are three soloists at once, Walvoord said. Le and Walvoord are husband and wife and perform as a duo, mostly playing sonatas, and with Eppinga fairly often as a trio. “To get to perform with an orchestra — together! — is really a unique experience and one that we haven’t had before,” Walvoord said of performing with Le. Beethoven kept his thematic material simple and treats the trio as a combined soloist. He gives the piano the lightest part, awarding the cello the starring role and utilizing its powerful top register. The violin adds support to the cello part and embellishes many of the themes. “It is really a concerto like no other,” said Walvoord, an accomplished violinist who also serves as HSO’s director of marketing. “Beethoven does a masterful job in this piece of treating it as a ‘piano trio’ solo, not just three separate people.” They are “thrilled” to perform Beethoven’s Triple Concerto with HSO, because the three musicians have never played it together. Walvoord, also concertmaster of West Michigan Symphony, did play the concerto with WMS a few

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Top Left: Alicia Eppinga. Bottom Left: Jennifer Walvoord. Right: Andrew Le. COURTESY PHOTOS

years ago. Le is an associate professor of piano and head of the keyboard area at Hope College. He and Walvoord serve as the artistic directors of the Chamber Music Festival of Saugatuck. Eppinga has been a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony since 1989, appointed principal cello in 2011. “It’s definitely a treat for us,” Walvoord said. “Alicia and I have both played this piece before, but Drew hasn’t and he is particularly relishing the experience. There is something magical about the soaring expansiveness of this piece, and we hope to thoroughly convey this feeling when we perform it.” One of Mozart’s most joyful compositions, The Abduction from the Seraglio, premiered in 1782. He set his first Viennese opera to a libretto about captives who try to escape from a Turkish harem. At the time, composers captured exotic sounds of “Turkish music” with piccolo and various percussion instruments, including snare drum, bass drum, cymbals and triangle. Mozart’s Overture from Abduction from Seraglio, K.384 alternates loud and soft, with lively Turkish sounds in the loud passages, of which he wrote to his father, “I don’t believe anyone could fall asleep, even if he hadn’t slept at all the whole night before.” Another concert highlight is Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6 in B minor. Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere performance of his sixth symphony nine days before his death, which scholars often attribute to suicide. Tchaikovsky wrote to his nephew that he frequently shed tears while mentally composing the work, and after finishing it: “I consider this symphony the best thing I have ever done. In any case, it is the most deeply felt. And I love it as I have never loved any of my compositions.”

He had the symphony’s format, described as unusual, planned from the start: first movement, all impulse, confidence; second movement, love; third movement, disappointment; and the fourth movement ends with a dying away. Tchaikovsky later changed the name to Pathétique, connoting deep and passionate emotions. It’s a performance Walvoord said people will not want to miss. “Tchaikovsky’s last symphony is truly a masterpiece with all of the emotion, passion and excitement that one could want in a piece,” she said. “It will be a truly wonderful way to finish off the concert and the season.” ■

CLASSICS III: TRIPLE THREAT Holland Symphony Orchestra Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts Concert Hall at Hope College 221 Columbia Ave., Holland April 27, 7:30 p.m., $5-$22 Pre-concert talk with Music Director Johannes Müller-Stosch at 6:30-7 p.m. in the concert hall. hollandsymphony.org, (616) 796-6780


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Circle Pines Center Michigan Delton, Photograph Courtesy of Jeff Baurs REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019 |

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Dog Story Theater, 7 Jefferson SE April 5, 6, 12, and 13 at 8:00 p.m. April 7 and 14 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets at www.dogstorytheater.com $15 for adults $10 for students and seniors

VERDI | LA TRAVIATA From the true story that inspired the films Camille, Pretty Woman and Moulin Rouge.

th 44 Stulberg International String Competition Saturday, May 18, 2019 Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University Judges Paul Coletti, viola Emilio Colรณn, cello Jennifer Frautschi, violin Semifinalist Performances Free and open to the public 9 am to 4 pm Finals Concert 7:30 pm Tickets: $25 for adults, $5 for students Ticket information at stulberg.org

June 14 & 15, 2019 | 7:30 PM

ST. CECILIA MUSIC CENTER

Master Classes with Competition Judges Free and open to the public Sunday, May 19, 12:30 pm Dalton Center Recital Hall, Western Michigan University

Presented in Italian with English subtitles TICKETS Starting at $55 | Students $5 616.451.2741 | ticketmaster.com

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A STEP TO GREATNESS stulberg.org | 269.343.2776


[Music]

St. Cecilia Music Center. COURTESY PHOTOS

Saints’ Legacy St. Cecilia Music Center has stayed the course for 135 years

BY DANA CASADEI

In 1883, a group of nine exceptional women founded the St. Cecilia Music Society — today known as the St. Cecilia Music Center — and 135 years later, the organization is ready to party. Yes, that makes it the oldest arts organization in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. Add in the fact that it was founded by nine women — Ella Matthews Peirce, Mrs. F.M. Davis, Mrs. Robert Merrill, Mrs. Lyman Patten, Mrs. D.B. Shedd, Mrs. Annie McLaren, Miss Mary Atwater, Miss Louise Nelson, and Miss Gertrude Baars — and it’s easy to see why current Executive Director Cathy Holbrook sounds so excited when talking about her job. “Sometimes, I’m just dumbfounded by it,the fact that we’ve been a continuous operation for 135 years and we’re still upholding the original mission that the ladies put together,” said Holbrook, who has held the position since 2006. This season, the SCMC has honored its roots through many special events, including two in March. First was an education outreach performance for Grand Rapids Schools from JazzReach, the other was the first Helen DeVos Legacy Award Dinner. The

latter will become annual, each year selecting a new woman to receive the award in honor of DeVos, a huge arts supporter and former SCMC board member. And while they have stayed true and honored the SCMC’s original mission, Holbrook has made sure to move the organization forward as well, letting it thrive in the 21st century and expand its audience. That starts with changing the music being performed. The SCMC is no longer just home to classical music, although it does still host plenty of that. In recent years, St. Cecilia's has added a chamber music series, as well as jazz and folk series, to its line-up. “There have been a couple of folk shows that have been pretty rocking. We just wonder sometimes, are the ladies rolling over in their graves?” Holbrook laughed. “Or are they really psyched that we’ve moved with the times and continue to be a really relevant, important, cultural entity in the city, and that we’re bringing in these different types of music?” It’s likely the latter. Holbrook has made other changes during her tenure, including more programs for kids and the name change from “society” to “center,” done in hopes of sounding less like a private club where you need a membership, which at one point was true. This, like many changes Holbrook has made, was done to help people understand that SCMC is a place for everyone. It’s a safe haven for all who love live performances. “I know there are many great organizations, but there is a sense of closeness and

kindness and a sense of real commitment with all the people that I have experienced working with at SCMC, which is very different,” said Wu Han, one of the co-directors of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, which has a partnership with SCMC involving three shows per year. “They are a group of very passionate people who care deeply about the culture in Grand Rapids.” The commitment to community has been vital to the Grand Rapids arts scene since SCMC’s inception. The Grand Rapids Symphony, Opera Grand Rapids and Civic Theater can all trace their beginnings to programs originated at SCMC, which has been in the same building since the 1890s. (Said building is also on the National Register of Historic Places.) Holbrook said the venue is something special. With seating for only 600, artists and audiences can connect and play off one another during shows. “The proportion of the hall and the sound in that hall are extraordinary, and it’s very unusual to have such a treasured hall,” Han said. “It’s high quality that all musicians dream of playing.” A high-quality venue leads to high-quality musicians, which leads to an audience eager to fill seats and furthers Holbrook's mission to make SCMC a place for everyone, including first-time guests. Holbrook said there was one concert during the folk series last season where she asked the audience how many people had never been there before. Half the audience raised their hands. For some, that would have been dis-

Cathy Holbrook. COURTESY PHOTO

heartening, but for Holbrook, it’s motivation. “I love it,” she said. “Then the challenges become, OK, I don’t want this to be a oneoff show for them. So, how do I get them to come back? What kind of experience do they have here so that they might try some of the other shows we have?” The ideas for how to grow SCMC seem to never stop for Holbrook. It looks like SCMC’s legacy of being run by exceptional women isn’t ending any time soon. “I think for Cathy, this is not just a simple job, it’s much more of a lifelong work. Her devotion is extraordinary,” Han said. “She keeps improving things. … She took initiative and made things happen, which is so fantastic. I wish I had more artistic leaders like that in the community.” ■ REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019 |

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EXTREMELY CLOSE presented by

Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close, Val Caniparoli’s Ibsen’s House, and a world premiere from Artistic Director James Sofranko

Alejandro Cerrudo’s Extremely Close, photo by Todd Rosenberg courtesy Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

April 12-14 | Peter Martin Wege Theatre | grballet.com/extremelyclose 12A

| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019


[MUSIC]

PREVIEW

There’s a whole lot happening in April for all the music lovers out there. There’s a group of young pianists who may make you feel like you haven’t accomplished enough, tributes to the Beatles and extraordinary women singers and songwriters, and one show filled with an entire night of Disney music. Check out the list below. BY DANA CASADEI

FONTANA CHAMBER ARTS 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 200, Kalamazoo fontanachamberarts.org, (269) 382-7774

CAMERATA RCO, April 18, $30+ As much as these musicians love being members of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, sometimes they feel the urge to play in a smaller ensemble, a.k.a. Camerata RCO. Playing concerts all over the world, the small ensemble has residencies in Spaarndam and Dordrecht, as well as Festival Amfitheatrof in Levanto, Italy. The group also appeared on numerous television and radio shows, and has recorded several CDs, including its most recent release in 2014. At this show, they’ll play pieces by Mozart, Brahms and Dohnányi.

GRAND RAPIDS SYMPHONY 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Ste. 100, Grand Rapids grsymphony.org, (616) 454-9451 ext. 4

MAHLER'S “SYMPHONY NO. 3,” April 12-13, $18+ Fun fact: Mahler's “Symphony No. 3” was named one of the 10 greatest symphonies of all time in a poll of professional conductors by BBC Music Magazine. The GRS will perform this beloved masterpiece — Mahler's longest, coming in at six

movements — with a special appearance from Grand Rapids native Michelle DeYoung, who just so happens to be a Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano.

Zhang Zuo at the Gilmore. COURTESY PHOTO

KATE LIU, April 28, $25 Kate Liu is performing a night of Mozart, Schubert and Prokofiev. The young pianist born in Singapore began playing piano at four before being accepted into Singapore’s Yamaha Music School. Then, when she was eight, the whole family moved to Chicago so she could further her studies under the guidance of Alan Chow, Micah Yui and Emilio del Rosario at the Music Institute of Chicago. Right now, she’s studying with Robert McDonald while pursuing her Bachelor’s of Music at Curtis Institute of Music.

cades. RAIN will pay tribute to that album with a night of its hits, alongside other Beatles classics.

JOHN MELLENCAMP, April 9, $40+

ST. CECILIA MUSIC CENTER 24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids scmc-online.org, (616) 459-2224

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL, April 11, $38+ LEO KOTTKE, April 18, $35+

GRAND RAPIDS YOUTH SYMPHONY END OF SEASON CONCERT, April 28, $6

KALAMAZOO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

THE GILMORE

359 Kalamazoo Mall, Ste. 100, Kalamazoo kalamazoosymphony.com, (269) 349-7759

WEST MICHIGAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

WOMEN ROCK, April 12, $12+

360 W. Western Ave. #200, Muskegon westmichigansymphony.org, (231) 726-3231

Wellspring Theater, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 101, Kalamazoo thegilmore.org, (269) 342-1166

ZHANG ZUO, April 14, $25 At age five, Zhang Zuo (her nickname is Zee Zee) began her musical training in Germany. Then, when she returned home to China, Zuo became one of the most sought-after artists in the country, forming close links with some of the country’s top orchestras, which she still has today. Since then, she’s finished her piano studies at the Shenzhen Arts School with Dan Zhao Yi, and also (yes, there’s more accomplishments to list) was invited to continue her studies with Nelita True at the Eastman School of Music, and Yoheved Kaplinsky and Robert McDonald at the Juilliard School. This spring, the pianist is releasing her first album. Not to mention the fact Zuo is barely 30. Her performance this evening will include Bach, Schumann and Ravel.

Featuring the vocals of Cassidy, Katrina Rose and Shayna Steele — and being conducted by Robert Thompson — Women Rock will feature a bunch of works created by male singers and songwriters. Just kidding. The night is all about women who changed the worlds of pop and rock ‘n’ roll, like Carole King, Holly Knight, Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Pat Benatar and Heart. Girl power to the max.

MILLER AUDITORIUM 2200 Auditorium Dr., Kalamazoo millerauditorium.com, (269) 387-2300

FROM MENDELSSOHN, April 25, $40+

DISNEY IN CONCERT: AROUND THE WORLD, April 26, $28+ Do you like Disney movies? More importantly, do you like the music in them? If so, this is the show for you. Conducted by Matthew Kraemer, the concert will showcase songs from films such as The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, Aladdin, Mulan, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lion King. There’s no way you don’t like at least one of those. We’ll totally understand if Let It Go isn’t on your list though.

RAIN – A TRIBUTE TO THE BEATLES: THE BEST OF ABBEY ROAD, April 5, $33+

HOLLAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

The Beatles’ 11th album, Abbey Road (the one that features songs like Come Together, Oh! Darling, and Here Comes the Sun), is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. That’s five whole de-

CLASSICS III: TRIPLE THREAT, April 27, $5+

96 W. 15th St., Suite 201, Holland hollandsymphony.org, (616) 796-6780

KCAD 2019 Capstone

FASHION SHOW April 25, 7:30pm at the Goei Center For tickets and more information, visit kcad.edu/capstone

800.676.2787

REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019 |

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EXPERIENCE IT ALL! TICKETS ON SALE

NOW! The Frauenthal Center presents

Take a handful of your favorite 80’s songs, a splash of some retro fashion, a pinch of panache and an eye-popping video spectacle in the background and what do you get? The Mega 80’s, of course!

APRIL 12 Swinging Stem Cells

2019

Saturday May 18, 2018 7:30pm Frauenthal Theater

Rock

26 Yard Sale Underwear

The Self-Proclaimed Kings of Polyester Pop & Soul

Tickets: Advanced $15 Day of Show $18 General Admission

Ballroom (Hilt Building, 3rd Floor) Show 7–10pm | Doors Open 6pm Happy Hour 6–7pm ($1 off all drinks) Valid ID Required

TICKETS $10 TABLES ALSO AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE

May 2–5 2019

Table for 8 $130 | Table for 4 $65

Frauenthal Theater Upper balcony special! Buy one ticket get one free! Show your valid student ID or Bridge Card at the Box Office.

SPONSORED BY

Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig

Book and Lyrics by

David Lindsay-Abaire

Music by

Jeanine Tesori

Originally produced on Broadway by

DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions

muskegoncivictheatre.org

Tickets: FRAUENTHAL.ORG STARTICKETS.COM Box Office: 231.727.8001 ENTERTAINMENT

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| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019

.

SPECIAL EVENTS

.

EVENT HOSTING

.

OFFICE LEASING


[THEATER]

Pack Mentality Women come together onstage and off in The Wolves BY KAYLA SOSA

Zoom in on a suburban girls indoor soccer team, navigating difficult conversations through the lens of being a teenage girl. The Wolves is a modern take on the adolescent comingof-age experience, showing just how much young people care about world issues and the obstacles they face day to day. Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids has put together an all-woman cast and crew for The Wolves this month, and Director Shelly Urbane is excited to present this newer play to the community. “They talk about anything from genocide to tampons,” Urbane said about the soccer team. “We can talk about anything in the comfort of women, and we hold each other up. And sometimes, we knock each other

2019-2020 SEASON

down. But we figure it out and that’s what we see these girls doing.” The soccer players range from 16-17 years old, in the prime of high school. “(They’re) warming up for their game, and warming up for life,” Urbane said. The conversations the girls have show that they talk about deeper topics than just boys or drama, which media have historically presented as the teen girl stereotype. “We have seen more and more that our young people are our saving grace,” Urbane said. “Especially our young women who are willing to be the activists that we need them to be. And they’re willing to step up and celebrate feminism and let their voices be heard.” One actress, Alexus Voss, who plays #14, was reminded of her own high school experience, spending four years on a volleyball team. “The whole time (during rehearsals) I’m thinking, yup, we did this every day,” Voss said. “That’s very real, all the issues that we talk about, and how you interact with everybody. It kind of seems like a space where you can be more and do more, because everybody’s with you on that. We’re all in the same boat. It’s kind of freeing. You just get to be you, with girls who are also going to be them.” As the actresses learn how their characters connect, they in turn have formed a

Cast of The Wolves. COURTESY PHOTO

bond of their own, becoming their own kind of team. “I feel like we have that team mentality already,” Voss said. The team especially bonded when they did a physical bootcamp. Even though they’re acting, they’re still playing athletes and they have to be able to move around the stage a lot during the show. “When we were all at the boot camp, we were like, ‘come on, come on, come on!’” Voss said. “Boosting each other up. We always do high fives and we’ll do huddles at the end of rehearsal. It really does feel like (a team).” Another unique aspect of the show is that it is all female-driven, including an all-woman cast and crew, with the exception of sound by Executive Director Kyle Los. “Usually, in theater, females are fighting for the roles,” said Meaghan Gietzen, who plays player #13. And as the women connect to their characters and each other, hopefully so will every woman in the audience when they see

INSPIRE

I N S P I R E

the show. “People want to hear stories like this,” said Emily Rice Smith, who plays player #46. “Women especially want to see themselves onstage. … I think people want to see more honesty between women, and also conversations where people can feel like it’s something they can step into and say, ‘Yeah, I’ve felt that way before.’” ■

THE WOLVES Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids Spectrum Theater 160 Fountain St. NE April 18-20, 25-27 at 8 p.m. $28 general admission, $24 students/seniors actorstheatregrandrapids.org

Season Tickets on sale May 1! featuring highlights such as RACHEL

BARTON PINE on Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, ANDREW LE on Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and BEETHOVEN’S 9TH SYMPHONY!

for more information: www.hollandsymphony.org | 616-796-6780 REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019 |

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| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019

Festival of the Arts

ART FOR ALL Live Art | Live Music | Art Competition. Food Booths | Fun for All Ages!

F E S T I VA L G R . O R G

JUNE 7 - 9, 2019


[THEATER] Christine Dwyer as Jenna in Waitress. PHOTO BY TIM TRUMBLE

of time taking care of. And even though she loves him, she’s … (unhappy) in the relationship, and so a lot of her (character) comes in being at the diner and sort of being an advice giver, a truth teller to both Dawn and Jenna. At the top of the show, she and Jenna, you can tell that there’s a rapport there, but they definitely have to go through some things in order to become sister-friends. I would say she’s very important in terms of Jenna having the support that she needs in order to leave her current situation, but they definitely are the epitome of (how) conflict can lead to intimacy, because they go head to head. Becky’s really the only person who tells Jenna the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and that ultimately allows them to become really, really, really close friends at the end.

Serving Up Friendship

How has it been trying to relate to your character, Becky? We have some similarities. I guess some people would say that I’m a truth-teller as well. There’s also a sense of humor that she has that’s a little bit more biting than mine, or can be. For me, I’m a bit more nurturing from the very beginning. I don’t know if that’s who Becky necessarily is, (but) it’s who she becomes.

What are some common themes that ring throughout the story of Waitress?

A chat with Maiesha McQueen of Waitress BY KAYLA SOSA

The new hit musical Waitress is coming to West Michigan through Broadway Grand Rapids this month. The musical is based on the movie by Adrienne Shelly and has original music and lyrics by singer Sara Bareilles. On top of that, it was created by an all-female creative team.

Waitress tells the story of Jenna, a waitress, who is unhappy in her marriage and looks for an escape from her small town and unhappy life. While Jenna seeks a way out — through a baking contest and the town’s new doctor — she is surrounded by her fellow waitresses who all experience different problems that they need to solve as well. Backed by a fun, bouncy pop soundtrack, Jenna and her friends find courage and strength to move through the waves of life. Before the show comes to Broadway Grand Rapids at the end of the month, Revue talked with Maiesha McQueen, who plays Becky, Jenna’s friend and coworker.

Who is Becky? She is a truth teller and she has a husband who’s older and sick, who she spends a lot

Definitely womanhood, femininity, the bond that women can have that is very special and specific. Also, just returning to self. … Sometimes we have to go through things that may not look good on paper or may not be approved by everyone, but they lead us to the finish line. Everybody’s journey is different, but as long as it leads you closer to yourself, that’s what’s important, just being truthful and honest, and that life is complicated and layered.

Ephie Aardema, Christine Dwyer and Maiesha McQueen in the national tour of Waitress. PHOTO BY GEOFF BURKE

How does it feel to be a part of a show that was done by an all-female creative team? It feels amazing. It feels like you’re doing something special every time we do the show. It’s such an empowering story, which is so unique because you could go from gut-wrenching laughter to tears streaming down your face because, again, that’s life.

What do you hope audience members go home thinking about after seeing this musical? For some, it’s just a fun time. For others, it’s, ‘Oh my god, that’s my life.’ For some audience members, it’s kind of difficult to take that walk with her (Jenna). I don’t have any expectations necessarily of what audiences walk away with. It’s my job to try to tell the story that they will listen to, to be a reflection of truth and compassion so that they’re able to have compassion for the people onstage. ■

How is the music? It’s as brilliant as the pop songs Sara Bareilles is famous for. It is current, it is soulful. The lyrics are clever and beautiful and thoughtful. And, to me, the music is unlike any other musical that’s ever been written, because you have songs that you could hear on the radio, you have songs that are very musical theater-y, you have songs that are so soulful they almost sound like gospel songs, you have ballads, and you have up tempos. There’s just such an array of music.

WAITRESS Broadway Grand Rapids DeVos Performance Hall 303 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids April 30-May 5, $38+ broadwaygrandrapids.com

REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019 |

17A


[THEATER]

Joining the Battle What A Do Theatre heads downtown to become a larger part of the community BY JANE SIMONS

When the building housing What A Do Theatre was no longer an option for the organization, its executive director didn’t have to wonder what to do. Since 2011, What A Do, a professional, non-equity theater company, had been occupying rent-free space at a building on Dickman Road in Springfield. In September, Randy Wolfe — the theater company’s executive director at the time — announced that it would be moving to a new location in downtown Battle Creek, at 2 West Michigan Ave. The move came from a change in curbcut access to the Dickman Road location and a desire to be more centrally located. “We were not in the best location for people to find us,” said Teri Noaeill, who replaced Wolfe as executive director after health issues last fall forced him to step down. “It was time for us to move downtown and be more accessible to our community.” Even if not free, the new Battle Creek space is still affordable, coming in at $250 per month. Noaeill said What A Do has an annual budget of between $100,000 and $200,000 with funding coming from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, foundations and individual donors. “My goal is to grow the theater enough in finances and in the community to be able to create more opportunities for jobs in the arts,” Noaeill said. While the new West Michigan Avenue location has space to house the theater’s

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| REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019

business and administrative functions, it will not serve as a performance site. Productions will instead take place at a 5,800-square-foot space inside the Kool Family Community Center. Known as the Lew Boyd Room, the space is expected to be renovated this summer and open as a new community performing arts space during the holiday season, Noaeill said. “It’s an amazing thing for What A Do and the community,” she said. “It will provide a venue for other artists in the community as well.” Officials with Battle Creek Community Foundation said the budget for the renovation project is still being finalized and donor fundraising strategies are being worked out.

Teri Noaeill. COURTESY PHOTO

Maya Williams, operations manager for the Kool Center, said a community theater venue in downtown Battle Creek is very much needed and wanted. She said this project has the potential to reenergize the

Above: Cast of Millie. Below: Cast of Angels in America. COURTESY PHOTOS

whole community. “When the idea was first brought to us by Teri and they were looking for a space to move their theater into, our foundation’s leadership thought the Lew Boyd Room could be re-done and that it would be a great space to hold community theater,” Williams said. “This gives us an opportunity to bring in theater companies from all over. “BCCF is always giving opportunities and space for people help grow our community, and we’re all about growing our community and being sustainable.” While renovations are taking place, What A Do will hold its master classes, senior readers theater and summer youth theater program at the Kool Center. Its mainstage production in June of Mamma Mia will take place at the Binda Performing Arts Center on the Kellogg Community College campus. Wolfe will return as guest director for that show. As a former teacher, Noaeill said the summer youth program holds a special place in her heart, since she created it in 2014. Open to youth ages 7-18, the program provides opportunities to learn about all aspects of theater from singing and choreography to lighting and sound. Youth ages 7-11 participate in a oneweek camp that culminates with a 30-minute musical. Last summer, they performed a condensed version of Seussical Kids, a musical based on Dr. Seuss, and this year they will be staging Shrek, Jr. The older youth are in a more intensive two-week camp that ends with a one-hour production. Last summer’s offering was

Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr., which necessitated the hiring of a Mandarin-language coach who taught them about the culture, in addition to tap dancers to help with the choreography. Noaeill said she routinely brings in local artists who have traveled with touring companies to work with the summer camp youth participants on their character development and energy needed for their performances. She also had theater friends come in to talk about how to market and publicize a show and what is involved on the technical end. “This is providing students with an experience where they can develop and create their own theatrical experiences in a safe environment,” she said. Demand for youth-driven productions is high, Noaeill said, and having the use of a theater for the whole community will enable What A Do to be more responsive. “What A Do had seasoned actors and professionals do shows at a high quality and it was a professional theater all year round, and now we have to shift and alter to what the community wants and needs,” Noaeill said. “If we want to see professional theater thriving in Battle Creek, we have to do more, and right now youth theater is what’s thriving. “We need to figure out how to supplement what schools are doing because arts and theater are a competitive community. We wanted What A Do to be a one-stop place where theater and the opportunities that come with that are available for everybody.” ■


[theater]

preview

Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman in the National Tour of WAITRESS. PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS

We have the usual exciting blend of plays and musicals com-

GUYS AND DOLLS, April 5-14, $23

ing at you this month. Some highlights include the prequel to

The last show of the season will be the Tony Award-winning musical comedy. To give you some plot, there are two friends — Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit — who are big gamblers, and therefore will bet on just about anything. This includes a $1,000 bet between the two men about whether or not Sky can get a date with a Salvation Army missioner, Sarah. Classic. There’s also a subplot about a showgirl trying to get her fiancee of 14 years, Nathan, to finally marry her. Someone has a fear of commitment.

Peter Pan, a musical based on a beloved Roald Dahl book that has to do with fruit, and another musical featuring a whole lot of songs by the Man in Black. It might be nice outside by now but that doesn’t make a play any less fun. BY DANA CASADEI

ACTORS’ THEATRE, GRAND RAPIDS 160 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids actorstheatregrandrapids.org, (616) 234-3946

LUNGS, April 4-6, $20 THE WOLVES, April 18-27, $24

BROADWAY GRAND RAPIDS

122 Lyon St. NW, Grand Rapids broadwaygrandrapids.com, (616) 235-6285

WAITRESS, April 30-May 5, $38+

CALVIN THEATRE COMPANY

3201 Burton SE, Grand Rapids calvin.edu/academic/cas/ctc, (616) 526-6282

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER, April 5-13, $15 This is the story of Peter Pan before he became the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up. He’s a young, miserable orphan in this wildly theatrical adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s

best-selling novels. Peter and his friend Molly go on an adventure where they cross paths with pirates and thieves on their quest to keep magical starstuff secret and save the world from evil. Someone might even lose a hand.

FARMERS ALLEY THEATRE KALAMAZOO 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo farmersalleytheatre.com, (269) 343-2727

LATE & ALONE: AN INTIMATE PORTRAIT OF JOHNNY CASH, April 12-13, $30 Scott Moreau created a stripped down look into the life of the Man in Black, a.k.a. Johnny Cash. The production features more than 20 songs from Cash’s music career spanning over four decades, and uses anecdotes from the musician’s autobiography, multiple interviews and live concerts.

GILMORE THEATRE/ WMU THEATRE 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo wmich.edu/theatre, (269) 387-3227

TONY N' TINA'S WEDDING, Through April 7, $47

GRAND RAPIDS CIVIC THEATRE

30 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids grct.org, (616) 222-6650

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, April 26-May 5, $20 We have James, his two awful aunts (who are really, truly awful), and a peach. That may be how the story starts, but there’s far more to this musical based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book, including friendly insects and an international journey.

of Comedy” retrospective, however, the duo is forced to be in the same room together, bringing with them memories good and bad.

KALAMAZOO'S CIVIC THEATRE

329 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kazoocivic.com, (269) 343-1313

PSYCHO BEACH PARTY, April 5-14, $25 Combine ’50s psychological thrillers, ’60s beach movies, and ’70s slasher films (this already sounds like a lot) and you’ve got Psycho Beach Party. The dark comedy focuses on a 16-yearold tomboy, Chicklet, who desperately wants to be in the in-crowd of Malibu beach surfers in 1962. Teeny, tiny thing though: Chicklet has multiple personalities. Said personalities include male model Steve, an elderly radio talk show host, and an entire accounting firm. Oh, there’s one more who may cause some issues: Ann Bowman, a sexually voracious vixen who has world domination on the brain.

HARVEY, April 19-28, $10

NEW VIC THEATRE

HOLLAND CIVIC THEATER

134 E. Vine St., Kalamazoo thenewvictheatre.org, (269) 381-3328

50 W. 9th St., Holland hollandcivictheatre.org, (616) 396-2021

GASLIGHT, Through April 20, $25

THE SUNSHINE BOYS, April 26-May 18, $10+ Nothing like a retrospective to bring two old friends together. Or at least that’s the case in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, with special arrangements by Samuel French. For more than 40 years, Al and Willie (known as Lewis and Clark) were top-billed vaudevillians, but now, they aren’t even talking. When they both get the call from CBS to be a part of a “History

QUEER THEATRE KALAMAZOO

315 W. Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo qtkalamazoo.com, (269) 929-6781

OF MASQUERADE AND RHYMES, March 29-April 7, $15

WEST MICHIGAN SYMPHONY PRESENTS:

Disney in Concert: Around the World live music with film

Friday, April 26, 7:30 pm

Frauenthal Theater, 425 W Western Ave, Muskegon

Music from: The Little Mermaid • Pocahontas • Beauty and the Beast • Frozen • Aladdin • Mulan • Pirates of the Caribbean • The Lion King • and more! Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts © All rights reserved

westmichigansymphony.org • 231.727.8001 $28-$64 • Student tickets $10 REVUEWM.COM/ARTS | APRIL 2019 |

19A


WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

The Commons. Photo by Seth Thompson

DINING GUIDE

W

ith every passing year, West Michigan has more dining options than ever before. It’s almost hard to keep track of, which is one of the best problems to have. Caribbean cuisine, European, African, Latin, poke, ramen, tapas, curry, diners, it’s all here. With our Dining Guide, we lead you to uncharted isles of culinary experiences. Whether you’ve lived in West Michigan your whole life or are just stopping by, you’ll find new places to explore and broaden your horizons.

We’ve got cannabis-infused food, which no one ever saw coming. We’ve got all kinds of vegan food, from baked goods to “meat”-loaded pizza. We’ve got taquerias galore, imploring you to branch out from your usual spot. With this guide, the idea is to get out and find some new favorites. Life is too short and food is too good to not try everything you possibly can.

REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

SCENE | SOUNDS | SIGHTS DINING

WEST MICHIGAN

31


SPONSORED CONTENT

GETTING BACK TO BASICS Alpenrose Restaurant & Catering Enhances Its Focus While Exploring New Territory

F

6oz. Beef Tenderloin Dish.

32 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019

or more than 25 years, Alpenrose Restaurant & Catering has been bringing culinary excellence to the community of Holland, Mich. Widely recognized for its traditional European influences and fine dining experience, Alpenrose has welcomed a new executive chef, A.J. Tenhoor, aboard with the intentions of further enhancing the Alpine-inspired menu with a focus on local, quality ingredients and culinary craft. Chef Tenhoor received his degree in Culinary Arts from Grand Rapids Community College and has since been exploring a variety of the culinary communities throughout the United States. His previous position locations include Thousand Oaks in Grand Rapids, a private golf course in Largo, Fla., and a marine catering operation in Maui, Hawaii. Now, back in West Michigan, Chef Tenhoor is excited to utilize the variety of produce and products that the area has to offer. Beyond the ingredients, Chef Tenhoor is also enthusiastic about tuning into the culinary craft behind the menu at Alpenrose. Since his start date this past December, he has been passionate about bringing the restaurant back to its roots and "doing everything from scratch again." By bringing in veal and chicken bones the restaurant has been able to recreate their own foundational stocks and sauces. Since joining Alpenrose, Chef Tenhoor has trimmed down the menu in order to focus on the quality and uniqueness of both the dishes and their ingredients. "We are sourcing the best meats, seafood and produce we can," Tenhoor said, excited to further experiment with quality local ingredients and give the guests the opportunity to taste and experience something extraordinarily new and exciting. By focusing on the variation of highgrade local ingredients the area has to offer, Chef Tenhoor is excited to build a strong core menu, with the classic Alpine-inspired dishes, and to then allow the seasons to bring in special featured items. He is particularly excited about how he can seasonally feature

Executive Chef A.J. Tenhoor

Michigan's abundance of diverse produce and to incorporate summer's wild salmon run. This will allow for Alpenrose to continue with its traditional core dishes while also being able to offer an ever-changing list of seasonal specials, ensuring both quality and variety to the community of Holland.

4 East 8th Street Holland, MI (616) 393.2111 alpenroserestaurant.com


WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

APRIL’S NEWS OPENED

RESTAURANT REPORT

At long last, Michigan Moonshine Distillery opened its doors last month at 4005 Chicago Drive SW in Grandville, with the goal to elevate moonshine by highlighting it in unique craft cocktails. Common whiskey it is not! Shine fans get to enjoy the signature beverage in a new tasting room dotted with plenty of warm wood touches. Michigan Moonshine is open from 3-9 p.m. on Wednesday through Friday, and 3-10 p.m. on Saturday. When you have the munchies and your cravings are for sustenance that’s both delicious and affordable, Sloth’s Revenge at 1539 Plainfield Ave. NE in Grand Rapids has you covered. This new to-go spot popped up in the former Main Street BBQ Express location last month with a killer menu featuring snacks, burgers, sandwiches, wings and a generous selection of tacos. On a recent visit, we tried the Mary Jane, Rastafarian and Jamaican Lion, and they didn’t disappoint. (The dank Za’Atar Fries also looked amazeballs.) Need another reason to visit? Two words: Walking tacos. You even get your choice of Doritos or Fritos bag. The interwebs have buzzed in a hazy meat coma of delight after Dr. Rolf’s BBQ opened at 447 W. Western Ave. in Muskegon. The menu features the smoked trinity of pork, beef and chicken, along with down-home Southern sides like collard greens, butter beans, fried apples and cornbread waffles. We’re also intrigued by the Dirty Tots, which feature pulled pork, poblano peppers, cilantro and white cheddar queso.

It’s time to turn off your phones, pull up a chair and play a board game with friends. That’s the concept behind Blue Bridge Games at 954 E. Fulton St. in Grand Rapids. For a $5 day pass, you have your choice of more than 100 games in the game store’s library. Feel free to play your favorites, or ask the staff for a recommendation and

Dr. Rolf's BBQ . Courtesy photo

broaden your horizons. A new DIY studio franchise, Hammer & Stain West Michigan, is now open for your girls night out, bachelorette party, date night or corporate outing. Located at 3901 Chicago Drive SW, Suite 109, in Grandville, Hammer & Stain offers workshops and guided programs so you can personalize your own wood and paint projects. If storebought “Live, Laugh, Love” signs fail to meet your expectations, here’s your chance to roll up your sleeves, grab a brush, and live your credo in real time.

RECENTLY ARRIVED

ROAM BY SAN CHEZ

HOPCAT KNAPP’S CORNER

JUJU BIRD

2183 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

SCHAENDORF BREWING CO.

435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

RAD DADS’ TACOS AND TEQUILA BAR

412 Water St., Allegan

470 W. Western Ave., Muskegon

WAVERLY STONE GASTROPUB

LINEAR

20 W. 8th St., Holland

1001 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

MARCONA ON LYON 623 Lyon St. NE, Grand Rapids

CHANGES

CHAR

Gonzo’s BiggDogg Brewing Co. at 140 S. Westnedge Ave. in Kalamazoo will soon have new owners in Saugatuck Brewing Co. Pending various regulatory approvals, Gonzo’s will be renamed Saugatuck Brewing Company — Kalamazoo, but will maintain several of the former product brands. The new owners also plan to expand the brewery’s hours and produce Saugatuck Brewing brands on site in Kalamazoo.

DANZON CUBANO

CLOSED

250 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

6 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids

1 Carlton Ave., Grand Rapids

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN CITIZEN

ZIVIO

2115 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids

724 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

TILLMAN’S RISE AUTHENTIC BAKING CO.

1245 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

1220 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids

TOM + CHEE GUARDIAN BREWING CO.

3060 44th St. SW, Grandville

3657 63rd St., Saugatuck

GEORGINA’S FUSION CUISINE THE PUB AT PADDOCK

Hideout Brewing Co., an offbeat and offthe-beaten-path brewery in Grand Rapids, has closed after a run of about 14 years. Tucked away in a former Hubba Tubba (that chlorine smell!) at 3113 Plaza Dr. NE in Grand Rapids, The Hideout was always weird and yet always inviting, no matter who you were. They even let Revue Publisher Brian Edwards drink there; he will forever miss that lovely Hazelnut Stout.

1033 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids

— Compiled by Joe Boomgaard

724 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

GOULEESE MUDPENNY

1635 Beidler St., Muskegon

570 Grandville Ave., Grand Rapids

MAZZO CUCINA D’ITALIA 10 Jefferson Ave., Grand Rapids

122 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids

THE COMMONS

MARIE CATRIB’S

547 Cherry St., Grand Rapids

1001 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids

BURGER BROS

BALINSKI’S

806 Riverview Dr., Kalamazoo

4255 Alpine, Comstock Park

MANNIE’S PIZZA

REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

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Before you head out on the friendly skies via Kalamazoo Battle Creek International Airport, stop in for a munch at the new Traveler’s Cafe and Pub, which opened in the former location of Theo and Stacy’s. Now under new owners, Traveler’s offers traditional American fare, as well as a full bar.

Zivio. Courtesy Photo

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BEYOND BROWNIES Michigan Cannabis Chefs specialize in high-end, pot-infused dishes | by Andy Balaskovitz

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ho among us hasn’t been offered an innocuous pot brownie at one point, only to face an existential crisis an hour later? That was the case for my driver on a recent Thursday afternoon, whose one of a few experiences with edibles ruined potlaced food for him. He ate half of a Rice Krispies baked treat after some mild peer pressure from a co-worker. He was unable to wait tables. It ended with his sleeping through the last two hours of his shift at a Lansing restaurant. He relayed this story on our recent trip to Muskegon Heights, where we’d meet a team of chefs skilled in producing much different outcomes. Michigan Cannabis Chefs — a three-person team of chefs with decades of combined experience — would be serving a three-course meal of pot-infused and non-infused dishes. The group sells tickets to adults 21 and older for monthly dinners at an event space in Muskegon Heights. They also cater private events, like in-home dinners. The company was started by Corey Roberts and his wife, chef Lynette Roberts, and chef Nigel Douglas. Chef Joaquin Acamapichtli was also brought on board. Each one’s cooking style is based on family upbringing and travels, which include southern Texas, Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each has been an avowed cannabis user — for medical and recreational purposes — for years.

MEET THE CHEFS

Courtesy Photos.

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Acamapichtli, 36, was raised in McAllen, Texas, a border town in the Rio Grande Valley at the southernmost part of the state. Before going to culinary school, he was in the nu metal scene (Korn was popular at the time) with a band called Fed of Me. Acamapichtli’s first mentor was a sushi chef who would inspire his HispanicAsian fusion style of cooking, which he’s been at for nearly two decades. He came to Michigan for family reasons in 2015 and co-founded the now closed Fuego: A Fusion Kitchen in Hart. For Acamapichtli and other longtime pot users, being part of a legal cannabis market is freeing. They’re no longer living outside the law. “Part of me feels like it’s a chance to be a kid again,” he said. Douglas, 37, was raised in West Michigan by parents who owned a restaurant in downtown Muskegon. He was born with Cerebral Palsy and started using cannabis in his teens for pain relief. He attended culinary school in Chicago and spent several years at West Michigan restaurants, then two years in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands before returning to West Michigan and founding Port City Tavern in Muskegon. While focused on upscale bar food, Douglas’ restaurant also closed. “This is a drinking town. Bringing highquality food to Muskegon is challenging,” he said.


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(AND BURGERS AND FRIED CHICKEN AND CHEESE CURDS)

Longest-running restaurant in Grand Rapids serving lunch and breakfast daily, nestled in the Heart of East Hills. 969 Cherry St SE | Grand Rapids, Michigan | 616.458-0588

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608 BRIDGE STREET NW, GRAND RAPIDS, MICH onebourbongr.com | 616-608-5766 HAPPY HOUR TUESDAY - SATURDAY | 3-6PM HALF OFF WINE AND BEER | $2 OFF COCKTAILS

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AWARD WINNING BBQ • 30 Craft Taps • Catering for all Occasions 435 Ionia Ave SW • Grand Rapids, MI 49503 616-454-1588 • slowsbarbq.com • events@slowsgr.com

Live Music Every friday 8-1opm

Happy Hour Tuesday-Friday 4-6pm Late Night Happy Hour Friday + Saturday 9-11pm

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$3 OFF APPETIZERS, $2 OFF GLASSES OF WINE & DRAFT BEERS, $3 BEER COOLER BEERS, & $10 WINE FLIGHTS!

LOCATED IN THE LOWER LEVEL OF THE HISTORICAL FRAUENTHAL THEATER

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415 W. WESTERN AVE. MUSKEGON, MI 49441

231-246-7910

WWW.SMASHWINEBAR.COM


WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

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From left to right: Joaquin Acamapichtli, Nigel Douglas, and Lynette Roberts. Courtesy Photos

Douglas describes his cooking style as “across the board,” and he specializes in seafood and Caribbean dishes. “If food doesn’t take you back in time,” he says, “it better take you forward.” Chef Roberts, 34, was born in Colorado and has spent most of her life in Hawaii. She has used cannabis to treat chronic health problems and opioid addiction. Her interest in food also began as a child, watching family members in the kitchen. Her style comes from her Italian roots and Hawaiian upbringing. “I call it ‘Hitalian,’” Roberts said. “This is even more Hitalian.”

THREE COURSES AND DISTILLATE

the food competes with some of Muskegon’s best restaurants. On March 22, the group was scheduled to host another monthly private dinner for about 100 people. At $35 for either infused or non-infused plates, the price per ticket is competitive with other catered meals and thus a true form of gifting the marijuana (the only way to legally share recreational marijuana at this point), the group maintains. The five-course menu included salmon sashimi and sushi, beef tenderloin, the seared scallop dish, jerk carnitas and Kahlua mousse baked meringue. The team is aiming higher and plans to explore molecular gastronomy. “We want to keep going up with it,” Douglas said. “Our discussion from the get-go has been: If we have the talent, why make burgers and fries?” n

Cannabis infused seared scallop with baked triple cheddar truffle mac and cheese. Courtesy Photos.

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My driver and I arrived as Douglas and Roberts were finishing up each course of the meal prepared for us. (He ordered non-infused plates.) The chefs cook with a distillate, which is concentrated THC that’s been extracted from a marijuana plant into a golden, gooey oil consistency. Distillate breaks down in fats and is used in small quantities that won’t overpower with taste. It’s also key to measuring dosage. Unlike the haphazard practice of cooking down pot in butter or oil, which can lead to negative and unpredictable experiences, distillate THC is measured down to the milligram. The chefs keep it in a syringe that holds up to 1 gram. This is especially important when eating several infused courses. My tolerance for THC has built up, but it’s not high, so I asked them to take it easy on me. Around 10 mg of THC distillate will generally get the average person high. The pot website Leafly recommends 1 to 2.5 mg of THC for mild pain relief and “microdosing”; 15 to 30 mg for “strong euphoria” geared toward “well-

seasoned consumers”; and 50 to 100 mg for “experienced THC individuals only.” (This leads to the type of panic-inducing episodes you hear about from infrequent pot users.) The first plate was a seared scallop with baked triple cheddar truffle mac and cheese served over Frangelico butter sauce, topped with candied bacon and confit garlic and cannabis leaves. “Like using collard greens,” Douglas said. The scallop was sous-vide and charred with a torch which, along with the creamy mac, balanced well texturally with the crunchy bacon and breadcrumb toppings. Cannabis leaves were cooked down in oil with garlic and tomatoes. The dish had 10 mg of distillate in the Frangelico butter and another 10 mg in the confit. The rich flavors of the dish made the distillate indistinguishable. Second course: baked fresh crab cake breaded with panko crumbs, served over greens with a red pepper aioli that had been infused with another 10 mg of distillate. Again, the flavor of pot was impossible to detect while the crab cake was lighter than those that are fried or overly mixed with mayonnaise. The dessert course was raspberry cheesecake served on a chocolate cookie with sweet cream, surrounded by raspberry sauce and topped with chocolate ganache infused with 10 mg of distillate. I couldn’t tell if it was some sort of placebo effect, but after 20 minutes I was feeling the initial tinges of a cerebral edibles high — what John Prine may have referred to as an “Illegal Smile,” though illegal no more. I took two bites of dessert and pumped the brakes, saving the rest for a nightcap. After an hour, the food and that old familiar feeling were kicking in. By the Coopersville exit heading eastbound on I-96, there was no doubt. The driver

put on Connan Mockasin’s album Jassbusters, which distracted me from the dread of an upcoming deadline. Though most of my edible experiences have also brought a rush of confusion and negativity, I chalk up the distillate (of which I probably consumed around 20 mg) to keeping the entire experience steadily pleasant for about six hours. While cooking and celebrity chefs have gone mainstream, shows like Vice’s Bong Appetit prove weed-infused food is also hitting the masses and helping to normalize legalization. Michigan Cannabis Chefs seeks to stand apart with high-quality ingredients, concepts and attention to detail. Though the decor of the chefs’ space doesn’t suggest high-end (more a social hall), the food certainly does — both in taste and presentation. I grew up in the area, and

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QUICK BITES

A speedy guide to top eats in West Michigan | by Josh Veal

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avigating West Michigan’s food scene is a daunting task, given that there are hundreds of restaurants sprawled across dozens of cities. On that front, we want to help local and newcomer alike. There’s no way we can point you

to every single amazing eatery in the region, but these Quick Bites capture some of the most beloved, unique, and enterprising restaurants around. Whether you’re visiting town or just looking for a new place to love, we’ve got you covered.

Irie Kitchen. Photo by Pop Kitchen LLC

BURGERS COTTAGE BAR 18 LaGrave Ave. SE, Grand Rapids cottagebar.biz

NONLA BURGER 2103 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo nonlaburger.com Nonla may just be the paragon of the modern burger joint. It’s tiny, yet welcoming. It’s hip, yet unpretentious. It’s quirky, yet approachable. More than anything, it’s go-tell-it-on-the-mountain

GOOG’S PUB & GRUB 667 Hastings Ave., Holland googspub.com Nonla Burger. Photo by Kyle Monk

If variety is the spice of life, Christopher Columbus would have been ecstatic to discover Goog’s. This pub has 24 — and really, take a minute to let that soak in — different kinds of burgers to choose from, plus the ability to make your own. There is no reason to ever tire of Goog’s, aside from a healthy fear of mortality. The choices are no joke either. For example, the Frynal Countdown has seasoning, American and Cheddar Jack cheeses, french fries, chili, sour cream and scallions. Another example, the Fred, has … peanut butter and raw onions. OK, you don’t have to get that one. But if you’re looking for burger nirvana, this just might be it.

PIZZA VITALE’S PIZZA 834 Leonard St. NE, Grand Rapids vitalesonleonard.com Narrowing down the best pizza in West Michigan is an impossible task, so we decided to just narrow it down to the best pizza from restaurants called “Vitale’s,” which proved equally hopeless. So, let’s just say Vitale’s on Leonard stands out for its incredible versatility near downtown Grand Rapids. Whether you’re looking to pick up a pie, dine in a nice setting or hit up the sports bar, Vitale’s delivers (except for literal delivery. They

don’t do that.) The pizza itself is the kind of food that leaves you constantly craving a return visit, thanks to the robust sauce, ooey-gooey cheese and first-class ingredients — the sausage alone has me drooling right now.

ERBELLI’S 6214 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo 8342 Portage Road, Portage erbellis.com It’s hard to know where to start with Erbelli’s, given that the restaurant has more than 40 specialty pizzas to choose

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You don’t get voted “Best Burger in Michigan” by USA Today without having something to show for it. That may have been in 2010, but Cottage Bar knows nothing if not longevity, serving up burgers since 1927. Even in its historic location, Cottage’s burgers have kept up with the times, including nine top-tier burgers (10, if you count a patty melt) that know no boundaries. The famous Cottage Burger itself is served on a dark rye bun with green olives, hickory mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, bacon and cheese. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, it’s a true West Michigan experience.

delicious. The burger menu is simple: hamburger, cheeseburger and double cheeseburger, each of which costs less than $5. If you’re craving adventure, the daily specials are where it gets buck wild, like the Pizza Burger and Guinness Brat Burger. Either way, Nonla is the kind of spot you make a special trip for.

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BEER

PIZZA

BRIAN

PIZZA & BEER DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME 7 DAYS A WEEK. (NO DELIVERIES OF BRIAN FROM EITHER LOCATION)

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HARMONY HALL • (616) 233-9186 • NO DELIVERY 401 STOCKING AVE NW, GRAND RAPIDS

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HARMONYBEER.COM • (616) 233-0063 1551 LAKE DR SE, GRAND RAPIDS


WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

Schuler Books Your Local & Independent Bookstore

Health & Wellness Events Find more information on our website and Facebook page

Author Talk + Meditation Tuesday, April 23 @ 7pm American Char. Courtesy Photo

Continued From Page 39 from. When one of your pies is called the “Be Careful Not To Choke Pepperoni Shocker,” you must be doing something right. The variety of options is just astounding, and impossible to capture fully here, but that would be all for naught if the pizza itself wasn’t up to par. It’s beyond satisfactory though — Erbelli’s rewards your curiosity with toppingloaded, flavor-packed, award-winning pizza.

FRICANO’S 107 E. Main St. SE, Caledonia fricanos.com Eating Fricano’s pizza is nothing short of an experience. There’s something about the hyper-thin crust and limited topping choices that bring you closer to heaven. Maybe it’s the crispy texture, satisfying in a way no other pizza is. Maybe it’s because there’s less distance between your tongue and the toppings. Maybe it’s all about the ratio, as so much of life is. Perhaps we’ll never know. Regardless, if you live in West Michigan, you need to visit a Fricano’s. They’re spread all over, owned by different family members with varying degrees of vocal politics, but you won’t be let down no matter where you get your thin slice of perfection.

BARBECUE 6394 Adams St., Zeeland facebook.com/americanchar Wood plays a large part in proper barbecue, and American Char exemplifies that, from barrel-aged sauce to outdoor fire pits and a dining room almost entirely made of wood. It’s a comforting atmosphere, amplified by positively succulent Texas-style barbecue. The spices, the sauces and the high-quality meat

THE GRILLING COMPANY 6231 W. River Dr. NE, Belmont thegrillingco.com I appreciate the Grilling Company’s name as much as its food — you know exactly what you’re getting here. Just about every meat you can imagine is smoked in the owner’s custom-made smoker the old-school way, using all wood to give it the most authentic flavor. You’ll find ribs, turkey, pork, brisket, a wide variety of sausages and more, with plenty of sides to boot. It’s classic barbecue done right.

dropping into a steaming hot bowl of ramen. As the name implies, Ginza does indeed have plenty of sushi to choose from — not to mention the bento boxes and poke bowls — but the real gift here is stepping up Grand Rapids’ ramen game in a big way. Ginza has six ramen options, PLUS pho, such as the Tonkotsu Ramen, with milky pork bone-flavored broth, sliced roasted pork, egg, bamboo, mushrooms, nori and green onion. Basically, this place is the real deal.

1015 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids ginzasushiramen.com Ginza is new in town, but has already made quite a splash, just like an egg

Join doTERRA representatives for a free workshop on natural solutions with essential oils. Following the talk there will be stations set-up for you to make solutions of your own!

Join us for a fun afternoon exploring aspects of STEAM

(Science, Technology, E n g i n e e r i n g , A r t , Ma t h ) through learning and activity stations for the whole family! Cravings Deli. Courtesy Photo

GINZA SUSHI AND RAMEN

doTERRA Natural Solutions Tuesday, April 30 @ 7pm

STEAM Fest + Story Time Saturday, April 27th @ 11am

6479 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids pitstopcateringgr.com

RAMEN

This two-hour Inspire Bible workshop is designed to focus hearts on Christ as you learn to color, paint, draw, and letter your way through God’s Word.

Other April Events

THE PIT STOP

You might think you get the pun of “Pit Stop,” but there’s another layer here: They slow cook their meat over dried Michigan cherry pits, hardwood charcoal and Michigan Red Oak. That combination has won Pit Stop loads of awards, as well as many loyal customers. All the meats you’d come to expect are here, plus smoked corned beef and “Micknuggits,” double-smoked beef burnt ends. You should also try one of the wraps, because there’s no wrong way to enjoy barbecue.

Creative Journaling Workshop Thursday, April 25 @ 7pm

CRAVINGS DELI 229 West Kilgore Road, Portage pacificrimfoods.com Inside Pacific Rim Foods, a “premium Asian market,” lies Cravings Deli, where you’ll find bowls made by true ramen enthusiasts. The owners have taken the time to prepare, eat and write in-depth reviews of all kinds of packaged ramen, including tips on how best to prepare each brand. That’s how you know they’re bringing their A game to Cravings’ ramen, which offers all the favorites: tonkotsu, miso, beef brisket, wheat noodles, duck — the list goes on. Ramen aficionados shouldn’t pass up this spot right outside of Kalamazoo.

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Open Discussion Project Tuesday, April 16 @ 7pm This series creates oportunities for people to freely discuss deeply dividing issues in a safe, moderated environment. This month’s book is The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.

Special Author Story Time Monday, April 8 @11am Author Vera Brosgol will be joining us to read and sign her newest book The Little Guys for your little ones. Regular story times are every Saturday and Monday at 11am. Story, craft, fun!

2660 28th Street NE Grand Rapids

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AMERICAN CHAR

itself all come together to create a total flavor bomb, whether you’re eating brisket, pulled pork or chicken wings. For a classic barbecue experience in a community-centric environment, this is the place to be.

Join author Emily Silva as she talks to us about Moonlight Gratitude, a collection of guided meditations to calm your restless mind.

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DINARY BR AN OR E A K OM F A FR S T ®

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SERVING MADE-TO-ORDER SWEET AND SAVORY CREPES USING REASONABLY SOURCED AND ORGANIC INGREDIENTS Taste. Courtesy Photo

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SAPPORO RAMEN 5570 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids sapporonoodle.com Sapporo arrived in Grand Rapids after winning over all the students in East Lansing with its fast, affordable ramen. It’s a much more fast-casual setting, but that doesn’t mean they take their nine ramen dishes any less seriously. Whether you’re looking for pork, vegetarian, corn or even brothless breakfast ramen, Sapporo has you covered. They also have four udon dishes, if you’re craving some thicker noodles.

SMALL PLATES SAN CHEZ 38 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids sanchezbistro.com

TASTE 402 Phoenix St., South Haven tastesouthhaven.com If you’re looking to share some small plates in a less fancy atmosphere, this is the place to be. Don’t worry, the flavor is still there — Taste has won multiple awards for its huge selection of food, big and small. The menu here is a little more global, with a diverse collection of dishes like miniature beef wellington, Korean barbecue chicken, potato pancakes, bay scallops scampi and far more. You know when your friend’s dish comes out and you regret your order? Taste puts an end to that. Sharing is caring.

APRIL

4/14 Gazelle Girl Half Marathon 4/18 & 4/20 Trail Point Brewing Company 4/26-27 The Collected Market

MAY

EUROPEAN NEW HOTEL MERTENS 35 Oakes St. SW, Grand Rapids newhotelmertens.com

822 Ottawa Ave., Grand Rapids zoko822.com

Admittedly, Europe is a big place with dozens of very different countries, but some restaurants really embody the European spirit in a unique way. For instance, New Hotel Mertens is dedicated to capturing the French experience through food, atmosphere and approach to service. Who else in West Michigan

Zoko takes the tapas concept and hones the focus a bit, drawing its inspiration

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ZOKO 822

Visit us this season to try our new vegan batter as well as our wheat-free buckwheat crepes.

5/10, 17, 25 Food Truck Friday at Riverside Park 5/11-12 Eat Healthy Eat Local Festival SCENE | SOUNDS | SIGHTS DINING

Through all the years, San Chez has held strong as one of Grand Rapids’ best restaurants. It’s the kind of place you can go for a business meeting, a nice brunch or a special occasion — it all feels right. The star here is the tapas, a Spanish concept that involves ordering lots of small plates and sharing them with friends. The fun lies in getting to try a dozen different dishes that are incredibly unique, and then realizing they’re so good, you want more. San Chez is essentially the standard-bearer for sophisticated dining in West Michigan.

from the Basque region of Spain. You’ll find all kinds of plates to share, from octopus to miniature omelettes, chorizo and more. Zoko also introduced pintxos, a bite-sized version of tapas that make for a popular bar snack in northern Spain. Between all that and a drink menu focused on gin, you’re not going to find anywhere else like this around here.

5/16, 30 Relax at Rosa 5/18 Roll’N Out Food Truck Festival

CREPESBYTHELAKES.COM

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EASTER BRUNCH SUNDAY, APRIL 21 10 am - 2 pm Adults: $34

Kids 5-12: $15

Kids 4 and Under: Free

Reservations recommended. Call 616-957-1111

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616-957-1111 | 28th Street SE at Patterson Ave. | facebook.com/GandersGR

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Modern American Dining on the River Front 1001 Monroe NW 49503 | 616.200-4343 | linearrestaurant.com


WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

alanced 24% Dutch Cacao

Ice Cream Sandwiches with Sponge cake imported from France!

Danzon Cubano. Courtesy Photo

Continued From Page 43 has an afternoon tea service? Most importantly, however, the food is truly delicious, with dishes like coq au vin, bouillabaisse and quiche lorraine exceeding any Frenchman’s expectations.

RUSTICA 236 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo rusticakzoo.com Rustica is all about rustic European cuisine presented by a classically trained chef, blending influences from France, Italy, Spain and other surrounding countries. This is your special occasion restaurant, your chance to try some of the most distinguished food in West Michigan. The Grilled Black Kobe Tri-Tip, for instance, is served with crispy potato, king trumpet mushroom, pak choi and bordelaise. More importantly, it’s to die for. At Rustica, the focus is on the food.

EURO BISTRO 6450 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids eurobistrogr.com

CARIBBEAN DANZON CUBANO 1 Carlton Ave., Grand Rapids danzoncubano.com Danzon Cubano is not your typical Caribbean restaurant. The atmosphere and menu are both inspired wholly by Cuban

IRIE KITCHEN 6630 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Grand Rapids irie.kitchen

Wide selection of Artisan Gelato, Sorbetto, Malts and Shakes ALL AVAILABLE AT

Irie’s not just pumping out Caribbean street food willy nilly. The kitchen is dedicated to keeping it fresh, both in terms of ingredients and overall experience. The food is made to be both healthy and full of flavor at the same time. Just head in and order an Irie Box with your choice of protein — jerk chicken, curry goat, garbanzo beans, etc. Then they’ll hook you up with some sides like plantains, festival, roti, knots, all kinds of stuff that you’ll learn to love if you haven’t already. It’s the real deal, with a modern twist.

HAVANA GRILL 12059 Felch St., Holland havanagrill616.com If you’re looking to expand your culinary horizons, Havana Grill goes all out. The menu here is massive, offering dishes that are hard to categorize as belonging to any one country, which I suppose is why the Holland restaurant labels itself as “Latin American cuisine.” From Mexican dishes like burritos and enchiladas to Cuban dishes like Ropa Vieja, the world is your oyster. Havana Grill offers a huge variety of food with massive portions and no shortage of flavor. n

ALSO AVAILABLE AT: FOREST HILLS FOODS i D&W FRESH MARKET i SPARTAN STORES i THE CRUSHED GRAPE i MARTHA’S VINEYARD i AND MANY FINE RESTAURANTS PGI of Saugatuck, Inc | 1-800-4gelato (443-5286) 413 3rd Street Fennville, MI 49408-8671 | PALAZZOLOSDAIRY.COM

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The name says it all. Euro Bistro is a more casual take on the European concept, with food leaning slightly toward the French palate. It’s a warm, comforting space offering dishes like charred asparagus risotto and perch meuniere. Despite the exterior, Euro Bistro makes you forget that you’re in a strip mall, much less West Michigan. It’s an unpretentious, yet exceptionally delicious experience.

culture, wanting to capture the authentic experience of dining in the Caribbean isle. You’ll find dishes you’ve never seen before, like Aguacate Relleno, avocados stuffed with your choice of rice and beans, tuna tartare or shrimp. The entrees focus on delicious meat with beans, rice and plantains, which sounds simple until you taste how they’ve elevated each ingredient to be full of unique flavor. Basically, it’s a dinner you’re not going to get anywhere else in West Michigan.

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NEW IN TOWN

Three Grand Rapids restaurants who hit the ground running | by Josh Veal

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estaurants open all the time across West Michigan, but some do so with a much larger effect than others. I always wonder if the incoming eatery will burn up in the atmosphere or leave a lasting mark where it lands. The variables are endless. Do you have the right location? Are you opening at the right time? Are you offering the right food, the right atmosphere, the right people? When you pull it all off, you enter the collective consciousness as a new “hot spot,” becoming more than just a place to eat — you’re a topic of conversation. Over the past few months, three new Grand Rapids restaurants have entered the conversation: The Commons, Zivio and Hancock. They all offer completely different experiences, yet seem to have success in common. We talked to the people behind these new arrivals about how they got started and what’s ahead.

THE COMMONS

547 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids facebook.com/CommonsGR

The Common’s owner. “I loved my childhood. I remember that time with so much fondness, and I am a nester who wants the familiar and comfort around all the time. I was hoping that our guests would feel at home and nostalgic too, or that the younger people would recognize that it's cool, and maybe reminds them of grandma's house, or the movies.” This is no gimmick, though. The theme wouldn’t work without amazing food and drinks to back it up, and The Commons delivers with classic American food made right. When I visited, the double cheeseburger had everything I want in a burger, from the incredibly savory patties down to the perfect ratio of ingredients. And normally, I leave a few fries behind to trick myself into thinking I’m a healthy eater — that wasn’t going to happen here. My companions’ sandwiches, fried chicken and portobello, were equally satisfying.

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Above: Double cheeseburger, chicken wings and mac n cheese from The Commons. Below: Michael Goessman, chef at The Commons. Photos by Seth Thompson

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The Commons arrived at the tail end of 2018 in a unique location, with an even more unique theme. Located in the basement of the historic Oakwood Manor Apartments, the restaurant went all in on a retro ’70s lounge theme. Walking in truly does feel like stepping back through time. The walls are covered in wood paneling, the furniture is straight out of Mad Men and the back of the restaurant houses two living rooms that could easily be your grandma’s, except much cooler (no offense). “Honestly, I wanted to go with what is familiar and relevant to me,” said Elizabeth Rich,

Elizabeth Rich, Owner of The Commons. Photo by Seth Thompson

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Continued From Page 47 On top of all that, despite a packed house that led to a longer wait, the impossibly comfortable atmosphere meant we didn’t mind one bit. Clearly, Rich knows what she’s doing, likely thanks to her experience running a small craft beer and wine bar in Los Angeles. She returned home out of a love for Grand Rapids, and the city has returned the feeling. “We already have amazing regular customers,” Rich said. “We have had an outpouring of support from the local restaurant and business community, and feel like this a partnership. We intend to return that support to the community through continued involvement in events and issues, patronizing our business neighbors, hiring local and taking good care of our staff.”

ZIVIO

724 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids ziviogr.com Speaking of burning out bright, Georgina’s Fusion Cuisine suddenly closed at the end of last year. Luckily, Zivio took its place almost immediately. The “modern European tavern and grill” was opened by the Duratovic family, who also owns Bosna Express in Wyoming. Dino Duratovic said they were looking for another location and when this spot in an “amazing community” opened up, they knew they had to go for it. The concept is to serve not just Bosnian cuisine, but Turkish, Greek and food from other Central European countries as well. Zivio’s menu lives up to that, with a wide variety of modern takes on European classics. There are seven gyros to choose from, and they get creative, with toppings like fried onion straws and pico

Zivio. Courtesy Photo

de gallo. The starters are fun too, with names like Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Fries and Pita Pita! It’s an affordable, relaxed place that keeps it fresh, great for both a quick lunch or a nice dinner out. The goal, again, is to make you feel comfortable. Zivio’s staff feels like a family and the restaurant wants to be a real asset to the community. “Zivio means ‘live on’ in Bosnian,” Duratovic said. “It is how we would cheers each other. We decided on the name because we believed it was inviting and had the right meaning behind it.” We’ll eat to that!

some massive shoes to fill, but Hancock, which just opened in March, seems to be up to the task. It’s the newest venture from Paul and Jessica Lee, owners of Winchester and Donkey. When they acquired the space, the first goal was to be unique. Hancock’s name ended up coming directly from a defunct gas station chain with a strutting rooster for its logo — the perfect blend of the food they hoped to serve and the service station aesthetic. The focus is entirely on fried chicken and sides. You won’t struggle with option paralysis here — just choose your chicken’s heat and serving mechanism, then pick a classic side and you’re good to go. You order at the counter and then servers come around to help after that, keeping it casual. Perhaps even more unique, Hancock features champagne in a big way, which is rare for GR. “It again came down to what this city

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm Culinary Institute of Michigan Tickets are $60.00 Hancock. Courtesy Photo

Wealthy St. Station, an amazing little diner at the corner of Wealthy and Fuller, was an icon of Grand Rapids dining when it closed. Whatever came next had

This annual fund-raising event pairs sweet and savory culinary delights with fine wines and beers at the state-of-the-art Culinary Institute of Michigan. The Culinary Institute student chefs will create the exceptional 2019 Cheers & Chocolate menu, which will feature a variety of hors-d'oeuvres, chocolates and desserts.

Saturday, April 13th

HANCOCK

1157 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids hancockgr.com

Even the beer list is atypical for the area. I can give you all of Hancock’s options right here: Stroh’s in a can. And that really sums up the Hancock experience. “At times, it feels tired and uninspiring when every dining establishment in a half-mile radius has the same craft bottle and draft selection,” Paul Lee said. “People go out to dine for an experience. How do you get that if the only thing that’s different is the venue?” n

didn’t offer,” Paul Lee said. “Champagne is generally enjoyed as part of a special event, but we felt like champagne is great all the time. What better way to enjoy champagne than with some fried chicken and sides?”

Tickets may be purchased at: www.everywomansplace.org Event Location: 336 W. Clay, Muskegon Call (231) 759-7909 for more information. Must be 21 or older to attend.

MON–FRI • 2–6P | FRI–SAT • 10P–CLOSE | SUN • ALL DAY! + DAILY SPECIALS!

thegreenwell.com REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2019 |

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Celebrate the Happiest of Hours!

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BLURRED LIMES ON DRAFT. CANS COMING SPRING 2019!

GRAND ARMORY BREWING .COM

17 S. 2ND ST., GRAND HAVEN, MI | 616.414.7822

Parkway Tropics GENTLEMAN’S

CLUB

DINING SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE

YOUR BACHELOR PARTY DESTINATION!

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DONT MISS AMATEUR NIGHT EVERY WEDNESDAY NIGHT OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK: Mon-Sat: Noon-2am Sun: 6pm-1am 814 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Grand Rapids | 616.454.3026 | parkwaytropics.info


WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

Vegan & Gluten Free Cakes from Rise Authentic Baking Co. Courtesy photo

RISE AUTHENTIC BAKING CO. 1220 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids riseauthenticbaking.com Rise is the sort of place that elevates Grand Rapids to another level of cool. If you’re vegan or gluten-free, finding genuinely delicious baked goods can be a challenge, but Rise makes it easy. Every single piece of food they make is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and highly photogenic. Let’s just take a look at some of these doughnut flavors: cookies & cream, chocolate espresso, glazed blueberry, cranberry clove. Then there’s the bread, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, muffins, scones, tarts, cheesecake — really just about anything you can imagine. You can find it all at their new storefront, which is a collaboration with Squibb Coffee, and in other cafes around Grand Rapids.

VEGAN IN VOGUE | by Josh Veal

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est Michigan’s vegan dining scene has taken some real blows over the years with the loss of cult favorite restaurants like Bartertown and Gaia Cafe. Maybe the region just wasn’t ready yet — not enough people had seen Food,

Inc. In 2019, however, the tides are clearly shifting. Gaia Cafe is returning, thanks to a successful Kickstarter, and plenty of restaurants around now offer more than a handful of token vegan options. Here are some choices you may not have tried yet.

1133 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids unclecheetahs.com Uncle Cheetah’s business model is pretty much perfect for accommodating eaters of all kinds. When you have 12 rotating soups on every single day, there’s plenty of room for variety, including two to three vegan options on most days. Plus, if you’re looking for something a little more solid, you can get a vegan grilled cheese, salad or slider. It’s the perfect lunch spot or quick dinner option, and you can check out the daily soup lineup on the company’s Instagram.

RIGHTEOUS CUISINE 211 N. 7th St., Grand Haven righteouscuisine.net If you’re ever on the lakeshore, Righteous Cuisine is your go-to spot. It’s an affordable, chill, counter-service joint that makes truly unique food, including multiple vegan options. For instance, you likely won’t find the Vegan Quinoa Sloppy Joe anywhere else, and the Vegan Taco changes with the seasons. Right now, it’s crispy potato,

Vegan Chili Cheese Fries & Vegan Sloppy Joe Burrito from Righteous. Courtesy photos

brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, kale chimichurri, black beans and cilantro. That’s a lot of taco.

OSTERIA ROSSA 16 Monroe Center St. NE, Grand Rapids osteriarossa.com Sometimes in the vegan life, you just have to pluck up a little courage and ask what the restaurant can do for you. Our designer has found that Osteria Rossa will make a vegan pizza with whatever seasonal veggies they have on hand, and it just so happens to be some of the best vegan pie ever made. Or, get the spaghetti without the parmesan, which is equally amazing.

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Where to dine animal-free in West Michigan

UNCLE CHEETAH’S SOUP SHOP

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$1 tacos & $2 perch tacos! mondays, 4 - 9 pm. beechwoodgrill.com • 380 douglas ave. holland, mi • (616) 396-2355

A LL H SS PP EE CC II A N CC H UN $$ 66 LLU M O N – F R I 11 A M – 4 P M

DINING SIGHTS | SOUNDS | SCENE

PICK TWO ITEMS 1/2 SANDWICH CAESAR SALAD

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CUP OF SOUP HOUSE SALAD

866 609 CITY

U RR OU HO A PP PPYY H HA LY H A II LY DA D E V E R Y D AY 4 – 7 P M

R O TA T I N G D A I LY DRINK SPECIALS!

C I T Y F L AT S H O T E L . C O M


WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

Vegan Reuben from Crow's Nest. Courtesy photo

Continued From Page 51

ZOOROONA 1710 W. Main St., Kalamazoo zooroonarestaurant.com Zooroona isn’t just fun to say, it’s a topnotch Mediterranean spot filled to the brim with vegan options. Half the appetizers, most of the salads and all of the soups are all vegan, just to start. Then you can head into the entrees, with options like the Falafel Burger, Vegetable Biryani and Galaya, which is a vegetarian sauté of onion, tomato, bell pepper, mushroom and pomegranate molasses mixed with Arabic spices. If you’re looking for healthy, vegetable-centric food from across the sea, this is the place to be.

TWO BEARDS 38 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

CHERRY DELI 834 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids

THE MITTEN BREWING CO. 527 Leonard St. NW, Grand Rapids 329 Water St., Saugatuck mittenbrewing.com

If we’re following stereotypes, no one would expect a sports-centric brewery to cater to vegans. But co-owner Chris Andrus, a proud vegan, wouldn’t have it any other way. The Mitten decided to set a new precedent and then some, with a huge portion of its menu being vegan-friendly. Rather than just have a side section for the herbivores, nearly every dish here can be made vegan, including its dozen-plus specialty pizzas. Vegan bacon, vegan chorizo, vegan pepperoni — it’s all here, plus every veggie you can imagine. Thank god most beer is vegan too.

CROW’S NEST 816 S. Westnedge, Kalamazoo facebook.com/crowsnestrestaurantkalamazoo

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Cherry Deli and Two Beards are very similar, both offering a massive selection of sandwiches and wraps, including dozens of vegetarian and vegan options. Let’s just take a look at one: The Andre 3000 at Two Beards, with blackened tofu, caramelized onions, avocado spread, banana peppers, vegan bacon, tomato, chipotle veganaise, and romaine lettuce on nine-grain wheat. Basically, whether you’re into tofu, veggies, black bean patties or falafel, these two delis have your back.

Zooroona Variety Plate. Courtesy photo

Crow’s Nest has a huge menu, so it’s only fair that this comfortable little breakfast joint/diner sets aside some space for vegans. There are seven vegan items to choose from, including Vegan Reuben, Thai Tofu Stir-fry and Banh Mi Chay, and they all look delicious. You also can easily tweak any of the 15 “Egg Specialty” dishes, replacing eggs with tofu and removing the cheese — veganize me, captain! n

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WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

Liz Della Croce. Courtesy Photo

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS A local blogger teaches thousands how to get healthy | by Missy Black

what you’re eating and how you did it,” Della Croce said. When she says “everyone,” she means everyone — The Lemon Bowl’s Instagram has garnered tens of thousands of followers. She’s been cooking her entire life, as both sides of her family tree have amazing cooks. But the real talk is that people need measurements and specifics and a blog was the easiest way to show people

The bowl requires a lot of fresh ingredients. Do you have a favorite farmers market you frequent here in GR? Fulton Street. I’ve been going there my entire life. I live 5 minutes away and I grew up there as a little girl and now I take my kids there. I’m there every weekend in the summer. That’s how I find inspiration as a recipe developer.

How could we incorporate meat or chicken into the recipe? You can add grilled chicken, pork, flank steak or sautéed shrimp. Most of my recipes are like a general formula to follow.

What’s the expertise level of this recipe? Novice — and it’s great for meal prepping lunch for the week.

What’s up with the bowl popularity? It’s easy and a great way to use up whatever you have on hand. You can reduce food waste here and eat seasonally. With a bowl, you can create a full meal with what you have on hand and a lot of them are naturally gluten-free. Head over to thelemonbowl.com for the Vegetarian Burrito Bowl with Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette recipe or follow along on Instagram at @thelemonbowl.

LET’S DISH ON THE VEGETARIAN BURRITO BOWL

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L

iz Della Croce is the woman behind the healthy eating blog The Lemon Bowl, and she’s down with that bowl life. Around nine years ago, Della Croce lost 65 pounds but gained a blog. The blog existed long before it became her career, and it all started with her weight loss journey and a lot of questions. Now, she’s developed more than 1,400 recipes. “What everyone wants to know is

how to eat healthy, keep the weight off and stay the course. The Lemon Bowl, a food, travel and fitness blog containing hundreds of healthy recipes and tips on keeping you active and healthy, was named in part because Della Croce’s family is Syrian and that means you add lemon to everything — from salads to cucumber sauce. “Lemon is the whole cuisine,” Della Croce said. “Growing up, my aunt would make hummus back when it wasn’t a trendy condiment.” Back then, she learned how to toast the pine nuts to go on top, being taught as a child the art of making food beautiful. With one peek at her blog, you understand that this is a woman who lives and breathes real, fresh, life-enhancing food. She celebrates it with every recipe. Her dad’s side is Jewish, so she’s also gifted at crafting Lebanese food. She’s still at it today, creating popular bowl recipes that are absolute works of art, filled with color, texture, flavor and life, from a Green Smoothie Bowl to a Vietnamese Shrimp Noodle Bowl. We asked Della Croce to talk about her specific recipe for the Vegetarian Burrito Bowl with Honey Chipotle Vinaigrette, which was also born from a lot of questions. “My readers were requesting more vegetarian dishes and I pay a lot of attention to what my readers are looking for. My job is to create useful content for them,” Della Croce said, adding that healthy eating takes effort. She gathers inspiration from other countries to keep things exciting. For instance, she’s a fan of fresh ginger in many recipes, because it adds a ton of flavor and is low-calorie — and let’s face it, bland food that doesn’t entice you just isn’t worth it.

What do you personally love about this meal? Pico de Gallo. I love to make it and it’s easy to make at home. It’s very low-calorie and adds a ton of flavor and you can use it on scrambled eggs, on grilled steak as a sauce or stirred into rice.

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WEST MICHIGAN DINING GUIDE

UNSUNG TACO HEROES Grand Rapids’ taqueria hidden gems | by Jack Raymond El Globo. Photo by Jack Raymond

A

GOOD TACO SHOULD EXPLODE WITH FLAVOR. AFTER ALL, THE etymology stems from the sticks of dynamite Mexican miners used to unearth silver. Their explosives happened to look a lot like lunch — cylinders of meat, tortilla and salsa with a smattering of cilantro and onion for good measure. The equation is simple, the execution often isn’t. While some fuss with tweezed microgreens and vegan substitutes, the best way to experience a taco is how you would on the streets of Mexico City. Revue went on a hunt for the unsung gems that give a taste of one of the world’s most iconic cuisines.

LA FAMILIA JALISCO 4022 Alpine Ave NW, Comstock Park

EL GLOBO 2019 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids Jackson 5 was on the radio, so I had to pick my ABC’s: asada, birria, chicharron. Steak was a crowd pleaser. The birria — shredded goat — succulent and complex, must have bathed in achiote paste all day. Finally, a new filling to me: the chicharron rinds weren’t crunchy, rather simmered until tender. So soft, you could ease through the strands with a spoon like pork gelato. In a mustard bottle, I found the salsa verde, green as a plutonium rod, piquant as a garden pepper. I blasted my tacos with it and didn’t leave a bite uneaten.

CANCUN RESTAURANT 1518 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids After months of snow and bluster, a trip to Cancun sounds nice. I settled for the local option. A marlin mounted on the wall tempted seafood, but I satisfied a barbacoa fix instead. Although it's traditionally served on birthdays, baptisms and weddings, I ate mine alone in a booth. Their beef was so good, it made even the saddest meal feel spe-

cial. The tortillas were awesome to boot: mini Milagros, the perfect vessel for an eating contest. I brought home some chicken tacos for later and yeah, they were clucking good too.

TAQUERIA MARAVATIO 1100 Chicago Dr. SW, Wyoming Time to go hog wild for pig at Maravatio. The carnitas are confited perfectly, served gristle-free. Suadero — meat from where a cow’s or pig’s leg meets the belly — was the breakout hit though, a textural paradox, at one moment crisp, the next melty as pot roast. The green and red salsas were familiar, but a third tan salsa left me stunned. I’d guess arbol, chipotle and habanero peppers blended together. The secret was not disclosed. On the front of shop, a mural displays tribesman gazing with hope to an Olmec figure in the sky. Today, I looked at my tacos with such affection.

TACOS EL CUNADO (BURTON ST. LOCATION) 455 Burton St. SW, Grand Rapids I’ve frequented the Cunado hut on Bridge for years, but rumor had it that the OG Burton restaurant was differ-

La Familia Jalisco. Photo by Jack Raymond

ent. I left dinner a changed man. A taste of the camaron converted me from a shrimp tolerator into a shrimp believer. Springy with a pop of salt water, it tasted freshly plucked from the ocean. Also unreal was the chorizo, a closing of the sweet and savory venn diagram, with a spice blend I’m still trying to decipher. The tortillas bent without losing structure. Each salsa was unprocessed by machine touch. No joke, this was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. n

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Tucked in a nondescript corner of an Alpine strip mall, Jalisco’s interior was anything but cookie cutter. Walls glossy with red and yellow paint, streamers and smiling masks adorned. Was Ronald McDonald hosting a pinata party? No matter, it’s taco Tuesday so I order an al pastor double whammy. Fresh pineapple chunks complement the sweet while leaking acidity on the meat. A guajillo earthiness in the salsa roja added depth too, but despite the balance, I’d give an arm and leg to just carve from the spit

and eat their al pastor until my stomach lining ripped like a ziploc bag.

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By Jack Raymond

DRINKING

Left: Waypost Brewing Co. Right: Hannah Lee. Photos by Maiko Media

FINDING THEIR OWN WAY Waypost Brewing Co. respects farmhouse tradition and makes killer beer in the process

I

n the city, it’s easy to lose touch with the natural world. Billowing smokestacks emit fake clouds. Everything is brick and asphalt we can’t eat. Then there’s the smell of a gutter. Famed naturalist Henry David Thoreau spent his life wondering why we deny our call to the wild and subject ourselves to these concrete hellholes. I love cities, I live in one, but now and again I do get the itch to escape. Forty minutes outside Grand Rapids, I took a sharp left off I-96 onto Blue Star Highway and saw a sign: Waypost Brewing Co. ahead. The driveway, pocked by a thousand craters, forced a slow cruise in; a chance to enjoy the surroundings. The Waypost barn is cute and red. It would make a great sorority coop for greek-life hens. But this building was destined for more than poultry. Owners Hannah Lee and Chuck Steinhardt are inside and I’m eager to learn more about their beer. After opening last September, the pair are quickly making good on their mission to produce product that reflects where they brew. When searching for a location, they recognized Fennville for its long–standing relationship with fruit. Lo and behold, their acreage bears blueberries, blackberries and strawberries that show up in their beer. This farm-to-glass mentality extends deeper to the water beneath them. “To be a real ‘estate’ brewery, you need to use what you have,” Lee said. “You never think about it, but water makes such a big difference. We could strip it and build it to a

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specific profile, but I like that you’re going to taste a difference with the changing seasons.” It’s refreshing to hear a farmhouse brewer relinquish this type of control to nature, especially in an age where many dilute the meaning behind “farmhouse brewer” by using the term loosely as “free-range” or “fair-trade.” Scratch Brewing Company in Illinois gained notoriety for publishing a missive on how true farmhouse breweries should operate to avoid “undoing the work of small brewers who have invested significant time, money, and infrastructure into growing their own or supporting their local farms.” The tenets include growing, using and protecting plants on the property. Waypost obviously takes great care to honor the moniker. This respect for their land likely comes from their shared experience in the wine world — vintners depend entirely on the health of their crop — but their expertise informs the brewing operation in less conspicuous ways. The taproom’s aesthetic, for instance, evokes the class of a winery’s tasting room. More overtly, Lee’s VIPA uses Gewürztraminer grapes from the vineyard Steinhardt used to work for. Yes, the wine influence was inevitable, but Lee has grown to appreciate beer’s categorical fluidity. “If you want to produce a Bordeaux blend, there’s a very specific way it needs to be,” Lee said. “Beer has that to an extent, but American brewers are always messing with boundaries. Let’s have a Northeast IPA Lager. Can we do that?” “Sure, just put a label on it,” Steinhardt said.

Barring the conceptual play, Lee instinctually gravitates toward uncomplicated styles. “I like to make beers that are straightforward. Simple can be good. Simple can be elegant,” Lee said. “I don’t want to make a beer that people can’t enjoy because it’s too pretentious. It’s just beer.” Nowhere is this ideology clearer than in the House Lager, whose flavors are calm as a meditative pause. It’s nuanced enough to think about, subtle enough to disappear into completely — the perfect post-shift drink. Lee has a soft spot for another old-world style: Saison. “It’s hard to find a good classic one that hasn’t been dry-hopped or fruited.” Lee’s is yeast-forward, dry — but not to the bone — delicate, with hints of tangerine. Steinhardt calls his wife’s recipe the gold standard. I’m inclined to agree. While they initially questioned whether their riskier experiments would fall flat on blue-collar palates, Steinhardt soon realized, “you can’t predict human behavior.” For example, their lactose sour with vanilla bean and homegrown blueberries sounds like a secret handshake with beer geeks. “Farmers come in dripping with mud, ripped flannels saying, hey, give me a blueberry.” Surprises come in all sizes. At this point, what shouldn’t come as a surprise is that in an industry inundated by bearded men, Lee is definitively not one. When customers first meet Lee and Steinhardt, they often confuse just who is doing the brewing. While these microaggressions are frustrating,

Lee wrestles with how to properly respond to craft beer’s boy’s club. “Should we as women segregate ourselves on the production side or not? I don’t want to use my gender as a marketing tool,” Lee said. “I kind of like being invisible. I think your beer should stand up for itself. Not because a chick made it.” While the issue of representation in craft beer remains an important conversation worth having, Lee leads by example. Wayposts are typically considered pit stops on one’s larger journey. For Waypost Brewing Co., this isn’t the case. While it may be off the beaten path, plug it into your GPS and make this brewery your final destination. n


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$3 Select Drafts $5 Brunch Burger

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Revue Magazine, April 2019  

Revue Magazine, April 2019  

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