West Michigan’s Entertainment Guide for 29 Years
Brunch Bonanza New Restaurants & Breweries Cheap Eats Dreamy Desserts Pho Finder
Brunch at Graydon’s Crossing
The Food Issue Exploring West Michigan’s Dining Scene
APRIL 14 • $50 Singles/ $90 Couples
JUNE 10 • Tickets start at $35
APRIL 15 • Tickets start at $27
JUNE 19 • Tickets start at $20 OUTDOOR CONCERT
APRIL 22 • Tickets start at $34
JUNE 24 • Tickets start at $20 OUTDOOR CONCERT
APRIL 29 • Tickets start at $28
JULY 20 • Tickets start at $25 OUTDOOR CONCERT
MAY 6 • Tickets start at $30
JUNE 1 • Tickets start at $25 OUTDOOR CONCERT
AUGUST 8 • Tickets start at $20 OUTDOOR CONCERT
MAY 27 • Tickets start at $52
JUNE 3 • Tickets start at $37
AUGUST 12 • Tickets start at $25 OUTDOOR CONCERT
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COMING SOON Summer 2017
Brought to you by:
Relax at Rosa Free Musical Lunchbreaks. Every Thursday. May 4 – September 14, 2017 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Rosa Parks Circle
Roll’n Out Food Truck Festival May 21, 2017 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM Heartside Park
Movies in the Park The Premier Outdoor Film Series in GR. Returns June 2, 2017 7:00 PM Movie Starts Ah-Nab-Awen Park
4 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
april 1 JOE HERTLER
& THE RAINBOW SEEKERS w/ Less Is More
april 2 PETER FRAMPTON RAW: The Acoustic Tour
april 7 KILLSWITCH ENGAGE & ANTHRAX
april 6 DAN + SHAY w/ Jackie Lee
w/ The Devil Wears Prada, Jasta
april 8 APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION
april 14 TRIPPIN BILLIES
The Ultimate Guns N' Roses Tribute
The Dave Matthews Tribute Band
april 15 STS9
april 19 THE FLAMING LIPS
april 20 DAVE MASON
Along Together Again
april 21 ‘80S PROM
with Sixteen Candles
april 22 GARY ALLAN
april 27 REAL FRIENDS
w/ Tiny Moving Parts, Have Mercy, Broadside and Nothing, Nowhere
april 29 MICHAEL W. SMITH
w/ Jordan Feliz, Nathan Tasker
april 30 BREAKING BENJAMIN
MAY 6 NF
MAY 19 TRAVIS SCOTT w/ Khalid
JULY 23 PRINCE ROYCE w/ Luis Coronel
MAY 7 JIMMY EAT WORLD W/ Beach Slang
MAY 20 PRIMUS
OCTOBER 7 PIXIES w/ Mitski
MAY 10 LIL WAYNE
may 11 KORN
Kloser 2 U Tour
w/ Animals As Leaders, Ded
MAY 21 TECH N9NE
MAY 22 SEETHER
w/ Brotha Lynch Hung, Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone, Ces Cru
OCTOBER 8 HANSON
25th Anniversary Middle of Everywhere Tour
w/ Letters From The Fire, Kaleido
MAY 13 CLUTCH
w/ Lucero, The Sword
MAY 17 THE MINIMALISTS:
JUNE 1 FLOGGING MOLLY
JUNE 10 BLACKBEAR Digital DrugTour
PAST SHOWS: NOVEMBER 18 DESCENDENTS
february and march were a great success, thank you grand rapids!
Feb. 1 Feb. 2 Feb. 3 Feb. 4 Feb. 7 Feb. 8 Feb. 9 Feb. 10 Feb. 12 Feb. 15 Feb. 17 Feb. 18
Trombone Shorty Umphrey's McGee Lynyrd Skynyrd Shinedown - SOLD OUT Dita Von Teese The Cadillac Three Dirty Heads The Verve Pipe Michael Carbonaro The Naked Magicians Back to the ‘80s featuring Sixteen Candles Young The Giant – SOLD OUT
11 OTTAWA AVE NW • DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS • 20MONROELIVE.COM 6 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Less Is Now Tour
Feb. 23 Feb. 24 Feb. 25 Feb 27
MAY 18 GOJIRA
w/ Deafhaven, Code Orange
JUNE 23 MIIKE SNOW
Dropkick Murphys – SOLD OUT Chippendales Pop Evil – SOLD OUT The Head & The Heart – SOLD OUT Feb. 28 Steve Hackett Mar. 03 Jeezy – SOLD OUT Mar. 11 Juicy J Mar. 16 The Irish Comedy Tour Mar. 22 Extreme Midget Wrestling Mar. 24 Van The Man! Tribute to Van Morrison Mar. 28 Jay & Silent Bob Get Old – SOLD OUT Mar. 31 Cowboy Jukebox
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
8 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
April 2017 | Volume 29, Issue 4
What’s Going on this Month
SOUNDS: 15 Local Music: Joe Hertler 16 Local Music: ConvoTronics
WYCE Songs We Like
On Tour: Hunter Hayes
sPECIAL SECTION: Revue Arts 1A
The Food Issue
An exploration of West Michigan’s cultural arts scene and the people who drive it. (See the center of this issue, after page 30)
SPECIAL SECTION: The food Issue 24
28 Pho Finder 32
New Restaurant and Brewery Report
40 La Huasteca 42
Strip Mall Sensations
Kalamazoo Food Trucks
DINING & DRINKING:
Beer: Hazy IPAs
58 Last Call: Butcher’s Union
Letter from the Editor
usic lovers probably already have April 22 penciled into their calendars. And for good reason: It’s the tenth-annual Record Store Day, a celebration of independent music stores around the country and the day when audiophiles can comb through dozens of newly released, rare or limited-run goodies in search of their next favorite vinyl. The full list of releases planned for this year is posted at recordstoreday.com, and it’s chock full of interesting music from mainstream and obscure artists alike, everyone from Prince and David Bowie to Thelonious Monk and Jaco Pastorius. I’m hoping to find copies of Alice in Chains’ Get Born, a double seven-inch single featuring some of the last recordings the band made with the late Layne Staley, and Born Again by the late Notorious B.I.G. (Both of the albums I want to score have the word “born” in their titles and feature dead singers. Go figure.) If nothing else, Record Store Day is as good excuse as any to shop locally, look through the stacks and try to feed my growing LP collection. As a relative latecomer to rediscovering vinyl, I’m still in the mode of filling in gaps in the discographies of some of my favorite artists, in particular for New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) giants like Diamond Head, Tygers of Pan Tang and Tank. Happy wax hunting to all, and if you happen to find a good copy of Lightning to the Nations, you’ll have to let me know its whereabouts.
W est M i ch i gan ’ s E nterta i nment G u i de
Editorial Publisher Brian Edwards Associate Publisher Rich Tupica / email@example.com Editor Joe Boomgaard / firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor Josh Veal / email@example.com Copy Editor Claire Boomgaard Design Creative Director Kim Kibby / firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Writers Missy Black Eric Mitts Kelly Brown Samara Napolitan Dana Casadei Troy Reimink Dwayne Hoover Nicole Rico Nick Macksood Jane Simons Marla R. Miller Kayla Tucker Contributing Photographers Katy Batdorff, Jeff Hage, Seth Thompson Advertising / 616.608.6170 / email@example.com Kelli Belanger / firstname.lastname@example.org Joe Langlois / email@example.com Digital EditorS Kim Kibby, Josh Veal
Find us online! Joe Boomgaard, Editor
Website: revuewm.com Twitter: twitter.com/revuewm Facebook: facebook.com/revuewm Instagram: instagram.com/revuewm
Upcoming is s ue s May: Michigan Wine & Spirits Guide In honor of Michigan Wine Month, Revue will explore the industry in West Michigan, including local winemakers, the best places to drink wine and the top restaurants to pair Michigan-made wines with food. We’ll also look into what’s new in the region’s growing booze, cider and mead scene.
June: The Music Issue: Emerging Artists, Festivals, Venues Our annual roundup of the best in local music, plus a guide to festivals in West Michigan and beyond. Also: Top outdoor dining spots.
To AdvertisE: Call (616) 608-6170 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Space reservation is the 15th of the month before publication.
10 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Revue is published monthly by Revue Holding Company. 65 Monroe Center, Ste. 5, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 Office: 616.608.6170 / Fax: 616.608.6182 ©2017, 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.
On the cover: Brunch at Graydon’s Crossing. Photo by Jeff Hage/Seth Thompson. See The Food Issue on page 23.
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
/// best bets
what’s Going on this month | Compiled by Nicole Rico and Revue staff
The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids 7:30 p.m., $15 pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758 Proto-punk legend Jonathan Richman stops by The Pyramid Scheme to perform an acoustic set with Tommy Larkins. Richman, who founded the Modern Lovers, is well known for his quirky but artful style. Check out his discography for songs about everything from New England to Picasso.
Marsha Ambrosius and Eric Benét - The M.E. Tour
Kalamazoo State Theatre 404 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo 7:30 p.m., $44-$102 kazoostate.com, (269) 345-6500
Nominated for six Grammys and named Songwriter of the Year by BMI, Marsha Ambrosius stops by Kalamazoo State Theatre this month alongside Eric Benet for their M.E. Tour. Both artists are known for their contemporary R&B sound, with Benet being compared to Stevie Wonder.
Schedule | Dining | sights | Sounds Scene
4/3 Ta-Nehisi Coates
Wharton Center, 750 E. Shaw Lane, E. Lansing 6:30-8 p.m., $13
12 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
whartoncenter.com, (517) 432-2000 Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of America’s foremost academics and authors, catalyzing conversations on race and injustice for years now. Aside from famous essays, like The Case for Reparations, Coates has written two bestselling memoirs. He’ll continue those conversations onstage in this one-night event.
4/6 Fearsome Foursome: Michigan Women Poets
Schuler Books 2660 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids schulerbooks.com, (616) 942-2561 Four incredible Michigan poets, all women, are coming to Schuler for a reading and book signing. The women include Linda Nemec Foster, the author of nine collections of poetry and former Grand Rapids Poet Laureate; Hedy Habra, a six-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize; Miriam Pederson, professor emeritus of English at Aquinas College; and Daneen Wardrop, recipient of an NEA Fellowship and a Poetry Society of America Robert Winner Award.
4/8 Art.Downtown. 2017
Grand Rapids 12-9 p.m., FREE avenueforthearts.com
If you like walking around downtown and appreciating all kinds of art in all sorts of places, Art.Downtown. is the event for you. Trolleys provide free transportation, stopping at more than 10 destinations near participating venues, like Founders Brewing Co., SiTE:LAB, DeVos Convention Center and more. It’s one day only, but several hundred artists are participating, so you’ll need the whole day to take everything in.
Sun & Flesh
Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill 760 Butterworth St. SW, Grand Rapids 9 p.m., $6, (616) 272-3910 Creating self-described “anthems for the restless,” Sun & Flesh headline this heavy show at Tip Top. Also booked is Knives Are Quiet, Grand Rapids natives and “heavy instrumental rock monsters.” Cosmonaut and Ape Not Kill Ape round out the bill.
20 Monroe Live 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids 7 p.m., $24-$124 20monroelive.com, 1-844-678-LIVE Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) crafts tunes rooted in funk, hip-hop, jazz and psychedelia. The group merges acoustic and electronic sounds to create dance music that’s meant to push boundaries. Originally from Georgia, the group steadily
Miller Auditorium, 2200 Auditorium Dr., Kalamazoo April 6, 8 p.m., $25, millerauditorium.com, (269) 387-2300 Nick Offerman has been a busy dude. Not only was he Ron Swanson in Parks and Recreation, but he was in the second season of Fargo and has been in several big-name movies like 21 Jump Street and A Walk in the Woods. In 2014, he released a comedy special on Netflix called American Ham. Check out this event if you’re a fan of the mustachioed man.
Marsha Ambrosius and Eric Benét at Kalamazoo State Theatre
tours, playing everything from Bonnaroo to Electric Forest.
4/19 The Flaming Lips
20 Monroe Live 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids 7 p.m., $40-$140 20monroelive.com, 1-844-678-LIVE Lead singer Wayne Coyne has become a legend over the years and it all started with Vaseline. The Flaming Lips is known for its eccentric live shows and psychedelic, multi-layered music. Check out this band that Q Magazine called one of the “50 Bands to See Before You Die.”
4/20 Nocturne: KCAD 2017 Capstone Show
Mckay Tower 146 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids 7 p.m., kcad.edu, (800) 676-2787 Celebrating the graduation of six seniors, Nocturne features the work of Allison Jenkins, Alyssa Natoci, Jane Hesselschwardt, Colby Roanhorse, Lauren Talsma and Taylor Mccoy. The students have been working on their collections over the past year, developed from an inspiration of their choice. Also on display will be work from underclassmen, worked around the theme of the four seasons.
4/22 Record Store Day Multiple locations
4/27-29 Ms. Pat
Dr. Grins Comedy Club 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Various times, $5-$15 thebob.com, (616) 356-2000
Record Store Day means special-edition, limited-run and rare releases all come out of the woodworks in one nationwide celebration of vinyl. Pretty much every record store takes the chance to host some sort of special event as well, making your visit doubly worth it. If you’re a fan of the wax, support your local shop on April 22.
Comedian Ms. Pat’s career is all over the place, spanning Comedy Central’s This is Not Happening to Nickelodeon’s Mom’s Night Out, with all kinds of guest appearances on podcasts like WTF with Marc Maron and The Joe Rogan Experience.
4/25 Blues Traveler
Kalamazoo State Theatre 404 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo 7 p.m., $37.50-$40, All ages kazoostate.com, (269) 345-6500
Firekeepers Casino 11177 East Michigan Ave., Battle Creek 8 p.m., $19-$59, 21 and up firekeeperscasino.com, (877) 352-8777
This Grammy Award-winning band is well known for its songs Run-Around, Hook and But Anyway, but the newest album, Blow Up The Moon, strays from Blues Traveler’s typical sound. With appearances from 3OH!3, JC Chasez and Jewel, the new songs encompass the worlds of country, pop, reggae and hip-hop.
Pulling inspiration from Dave Attell, Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks, Whitney Cummings has been writing comedic material for more than 10 years. She starred in her own TV show, Whitney, and co-created 2 Broke Girls. But you may remember her from her appearances on several Comedy Central Roasts, as well as E!’s Chelsea Lately.
Find more events in the Revue Arts section and at revuewm.com!
The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids 8:30 p.m., $30 pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758 The newly reformed Guided By Voices is stopping into The Pyramid Scheme with Deadbeat Beat as the opener. GBV’s newest album, 2016’s Please Be Honest, was recorded and played solely by Robert Pollard. The album has been described as a return to GBV’s early sound with rough edges.
Mo’Nique: Queen of Comedy
Kalamazoo State Theatre 404 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo 7 p.m., $48-$75 kazoostate.com, (269) 345-6500
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, everyone knows who Mo’Nique is. She’s been in films like Precious, Soul Plane and Blackbird, and had her own documentary, I Coulda Been Your Cellmate! Check out her
risqué stand-up comedy April 29 at the Kalamazoo State Theatre.
Salt of the Earth, 114 E. Main St., Fennville 7 p.m., $15, saltoftheearthfennville.com, (269) 561-7258 This husband-and-wife acoustic duo from Nashville produces Americana hits full of harmonies, guitars and all kinds of feelings. The band is currently working on its third album. Special guest Nicholas James opens.
Creatures of Light
Grand Rapids Public Museum 272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids All month, $5 adults, free for children grpm.org, (616) 456-3977 The museum’s latest exhibit is all about light, dark and the magical creatures that play with both. Visitors traverse environments ranging from the deep sea (where a vast majority of animals are
Creatures of Light at Grand Rapids Public Musem bioluminescent) to dark forests. Meanwhile, symphonic music created just for the exhibit sets the mood throughout. n
YOU > ®
The Flashing Red Lights The Network Systems Administrator Program Network errors are inevitable. The flashing red lights on your network devices tell you that traffic has STOPPED. For you problem, re-establish communication, and get the job done. You understand that the network is all important and that uptime is the only metric that really matters.
YOU >® You Think You Are
Grand Rapids Kalamazoo 616.574.7500
Lansing 517.318.4005 CareerInIT.com
Flexible tuition funding options and job placement assistance are available. We accept corporate tuition assistance and training grants for those who qualify. Our classes are available on campus and online for your convenience.
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule
that red light means GO. They make you take action to solve a
upcoming Thurs, Apr 6
Fri, Apr 7
Christian Lopez & Don Gallardo
Sun, Apr 9
Thurs, Apr 13
Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene
Voting Starts May 1 Vote for your favorite local businesses, people and things to do in our 2017 Readers Poll! revuewm.com/bestofthewest
14 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Angela Perley & the Howln' Moons
Thurs, Apr 20
Fri, Apr 21
The Mushmen, Rude Boy George
Thurs, Apr 27
Corn Fed Girls
Fri, Apr 28
The Go Rounds
$8 adv / $10 day of Doors 7:30 pm — Show 8:30 pm
$10 adv / $12 day of Doors 8pm — Show 9pm
$15 adv / $17 day of Doors 8pm — Show 9pm
$8 adv / $10 day of Doors 8pm — Show 9pm
$12 adv / $14 day of Doors 8pm — Show 9pm
$10 adv / $12 day of Doors 8pm — Show 9pm
$8.00 Doors 8pm — Show 9pm
$10.00 Doors 8pm — Show 9pm
Sat, Apr 29
The Wizard of boOZe
Sat, May 6
$10.00 Doors 8pm — Show 9pm
Julian Allen, Tyler Duncan, Doors 8pm — Show 9pm Max Lockwood
/// Local Music
Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers
PHOTO: Sean Cook
Rising star Joe Hertler is set to break out with the stellar Pluto | by Eric Mitts
n the mystical, musical universe of Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, everyone is invited to the interplanetary dance party. The fast-rising Michigan band has always centered its colorful live shows around the idea of connectivity. It should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the band’s steady ascent to stardom that the latest album, Pluto (due out March 31), is an extension of a collective musical spectrum. Ironically enough, Hertler started out alone. Like many lonely college students, he got his start in music by writing songs about heartbreak and performing them at coffee shops around Mount Pleasant. He then met guitarist Ryan Hoger
while attending Central Michigan University, and around 2011 they started the Rainbow Seekers together after joining with producer/bassist Kevin Pritchard and drummer Rick Hale (aka Pinetop Deadfish). But the group’s kaleidoscopic sound has only grown since then, as the Rainbow Seekers welcomed keyboardist Micah Bracken (aka Mickey Soho), saxophonist Aaron Stinson, violist Joshua Holcomb, and bassist Jason Combs into the exuberant ensemble. “Even from day one, when we were playing co-ops in East Lansing and stuff, we’ve liked being from Michigan,” Hertler said. “It’s a real communal thing and it’s cool to be a part of that.” A Lake Orion native, Hertler is proud to call Michigan his musical home and describes his band’s music as “Post-Motown folk-rock.”
After signing with Universal Music label imprint Bad Mascot Records in 2014, he and the band toured the country, representing the Michigan music scene at big-name music events like Bonnaroo and South By Southwest (SXSW). The Rainbow Seekers’ brand-new LP, Pluto, follows a 2015 full-length debut, Terra Incognita. The album’s title comes from a sparse, lonely, twisting synthesizer Hertler stumbled upon while working on demos in his home studio. To him, the synth sounded “like a tornado siren, heard on Pluto. If Pluto had an atmosphere.” “I feel like everyone was a fan of Pluto and then it got voted out of the solar system,” Hertler said. “It’s kind of like the lonely rock, but it’s still connected to this profound system of planets and stars. There’s someJoe Hertler & thing kind of weirdly intriguing and the Rainbow somber about that.” Seekers Immediately after releasing Pluto 20 Monroe Live on March 31, the Rainbow Seekers will 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, make a triumphant return to Grand Grand Rapids Rapids’ newest live music venue, 20 April 1, 7 p.m., $15-25, Monroe Live, on April 1. The band All ages last played the space as the first-ever 20monroelive.com, (844) 678-5483 band to publicly grace the stage, when opening for Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue at 20 Monroe Live’s grand opening on Feb. 1. Best known for live shows — featuring everything from confetti and flower crowns to strobe lights and sword fights — the Rainbow Seekers have a reputation for taking music to a whole new dimension onstage. “Just wear some colorful clothing and show up with a smile and try to connect with what we’re doing,” Hertler said to those new fans who might be considering joining in the Rainbow Seekers experience for the very first time. “Music is a very connective thing. It brings people together and I think if you’re going to come out to a show, come with a willingness to embrace the people around you.” n
Join us at Barley, BBQ & Beats and sample the area’s best barbecue and fixin’s from leading pit masters and barbecue restaurants. Enjoy hand-crafted cocktails from Michigan whiskey distillers. Tickets: $40 pre-sale, $45 at the door. (Guests must be 21+) Purchase tickets at hom.convio.net/bbbfestival or contact Alexandra Wilson: 616-356-5288 / email@example.com Presented by
Music by Vox Vidorra, Mid-Life Crisis and Fast Hands Blues Band
Proceeds benefit Hospice of Michigan’s Open Access Program, ensuring quality end-of-life care regardless of ability to pay. Revue-17.indd 1
www.hom.org | 888.247.5701 3:59 PM REVUEWM.COM2/27/17 | April 2017 |
Scene | Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule
SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 | Van Andel Arena | 5 - 9 pm
/// Local Music
At The B.O.B. Grand Rapids, MI 616.356.2000 thebob.com
Grand Rapids hip-hop vets ConvoTronics return with killer new LP | by Eric Mitts
April 13-DHULL 15
Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene
April 27-2T9 #drgrins
16 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
hile the duo no l onge r n e e ds a n y introduction in the Grand Rapids hip-hop scene, ConvoTronics wants its new album, IllKillSchematics, to serve as something of a reintroduction. Now consisting of MCs Cory Harris (aka 4NZIX) and Julius Hayes (aka Jous82) — along with DJ Dean Martian — the group has reduced in size from when Harris started the crew nearly a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean its retro-futuristic sound has stopped expanding. “People actually started gravitating to us more when there was only two of us,” Harris said of ConvoTronics’ recent rise. “So go figure that.”
“I’m not saying America has completely lost its love for the real hip-hop or the good hip-hop, but it’s more appreciated in other regions of the world at this point. But we’ll go anywhere in the U.S. that’ll have us. We’re ready.” Harris, 35, has been rapping nearly his whole life. He started out memorizing D.M.C.’s lines from the seminal 1986 RunD.M.C. LP, Raising Hell, when he was only four years old. Performing the songs for friends and family, Harris got hooked on crafting his own rhymes and hasn’t looked back since. He and Hayes first met as foes on the middle-school gridiron, but then became fast friends. Hayes didn’t dig into hip-hop until later, however, when he and Harris reconnected after they had graduated high school. Harris established himself in the Grand Rapids scene, performing with influential Grand Rapids hip-hop ensemble La Famiglia. He then started ConvoTronics alongside
Photo: courtesy of Hot Capicola Records
Nixon, Moziac and Sir Manley, as well as a Hayes, former DJ Tony O, AGYLYTY and rare singing appearance from MC Lady Ace others. Boogie. “I feel like I single-handedly helped evolve Inspired by Harris’ favorite album, Nas’ the rhyme of Grand Rapids, period,” Harris Illmatic, IllKillSchematics is also a nod to the said. “I’ve been around since there were no landmark record’s game-changing impact. hip-hop groups doing shows anywhere. I was ConvoTronics has been working on the one of the first people to do shows at The album for the last two and a half years and will Intersection, (where we) opened for (Talib) release it through Grand Rapids’ Hot Capicola Kweli. … To see where it’s at now, it’s beautiful, Records. because now we’ve got a whole bunch of differ“Those guys are just good, positive people ent rap crews coming out of the woodworks.” who want to put out good music,” Harris said ConvoTronics has even closer ties with of Hot Capicola. “I wouldn’t want to put this The Pyramid Scheme now as both Harris and album out under any other label.” Hayes work at the venue. Back in February, Together with Hot Capicola, ConvoTronthey had the honor of opening for legendary ics hopes to build an international buzz like Wu-Tang Clan member GZA at The Pyramid the one they have here in West Scheme and on April 8 the group Michigan. will return to the stage for the “That’s the whole goal, to release of IllKillSchematics. ConvoTronics’ take it to places like Japan or “In life you have to build IllKillSchematics Europe,” Harris said. “I’m not and destroy,” Harris said. “That’s Release Show saying America has completely the ultimate goal of the album, wsg. AOK, DJ Dean Martian, Bevlove, Heavy Color lost its love for the real hip-hop to express that in clever ways. The Pyramid Scheme or the good hip-hop, but it’s more Basically, it represents a new 68 Commerce Ave. SW, appreciated in other regions of beginning for us.” Grand Rapids the world at this point. But we’ll ConvoTronics recorded April 8, 8 p.m., $8-10 IllKillSchematics with GR hip-hop go anywhere in the U.S. that’ll pyramidschemebar.com, veteran Nixon at his studio. The have us. We’re ready.” n (616) 272-3758 set features production by Harris,
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
April 28, 9pm
April 7, 9pm
Delilah DeWylde cross April 29, 9pm roads April 22, 9pm Nashon Mainstays blues Band Holloway Band
nes (269) 384-6756 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall - Kalamazoo, MI millenniumrestaurants.com
Songs We Like by Adrianna Walker, WYCE
This is a sonic collaboration among Revue, WYCE and AMI Jukeboxes. Play this mix as a playlist on AMI Jukeboxes, read about it here every month and stream it on wyce.org. Each of the bands featured will be performing in West Michigan in April 2017. Here are just a few highlights. Please check out the full streaming tracklist with venues and dates at revuewm.com. Chicano Batman, “Friendship Is A Small Boat in a Storm” (The Intersection, April 6) Chicano Batman has a multitude of sounds and influences, and “Friendship (Is A Small Boat In A Storm)” is no exception. With charming, meandering vocals by Bardo Martinez and a leading organ, the funky four-piece channels its soul and psychedelic roots perfectly into the first single from its new album, “Freedom is Free.” Kishi Bashi, “Can’t Let Go, Juno” (Calvin College, April 12) The multi-instrumentalist delivers a haunting track about a heartbreak that he just can’t seem to let go of. The heavy synth is sometimes balanced out with piercing string melodies that, when together, almost emulate the sound of a Theremin, adding to the overall eeriness of the song.
Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene
Why?, “Proactive Evolution” (The Pyramid Scheme, April 19) Yoni Wolf’s eloquence in writing really shows here. His lyrics about a theoretical and anguished state float across the soft piano and synthesizers with ease. Overall, the song creates a relaxing atmosphere, ending with sobering samples of talking doctors that treated singer Yoni Wolf during a health scare.
18 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Great Lake Swimmers, “I Must Have Someone Else’s Blues” (Founders Taproom, April 16) Great Lake Swimmers are bruised and down in the dirt in this folk/country-rock number: “I lost my heart, I’m looking for clues / I must have someone else’s blues.” Yet the dispirited lyrics are somewhat disguised with a fast tempo and simple, catchy melodies. The Jayhawks, “Comeback Kids” (Wealthy Theatre, April 14) The veteran rock band experiments with a hint of electronica in this track that almost feels like a memory,
recounting a past and vivid love story. A steady, beating rhythm rarely deviates from its hypnotizing drum. The Flaming Lips, “We A Family” (20 Monroe Live, April 9) The Flaming Lips teamed up with Miley Cyrus (not for the first time) to create a trippy, out-of-this-world journey of a song. Its message is simple: I could be here and you could be far away, but we have each other’s back. By the end of the song, Cyrus and lead singer Wayne Coyne are singing “we a family” in unison. n Full track list: April 2: Jonathan Richman, “No One Was Like Vermeer,” Pyramid Scheme April 6: Chicano Batman, “Friendship (is a Small Boat in a Storm),” The Stache April 6: Margo Price, “Tennessee Song,” St. Cecilia April 9: Los Lobos, “Too Small Heart,” State Theatre April 10: Charlie Hunter Trio, “Greasy Granny,” Tip Top Deluxe April 11: Kishi Bashi, “Can’t Let Go, Juno,” Calvin College April 13: Aretha Franklin, “I Never Loved a Man,” DeVos Place April 13: Marc Cohn, “Dance Back from the Grave,” St Cecilia Music Center April 14: The Jayhawks, “Comeback Kids,” Wealthy Theatre April 16: Great Lake Swimmers, “I Must Have Someone Else’s Blues,” Founders April 19: Flaming Lips, “We a Family,” 20 Monroe Live April 19: Why?, “Proactive Evolution” wsg Eskimeaux, “I Admit I’m Scared,” Pyramid Scheme April 27: Explosions in the Sky, “Catastrophe and the Cure,” Calvin College April 22: Kinsey Report, “Good Mornin’ Mississippi,” Muskegon Steak & Blues Fest
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
/// On tour
Hunter Hayes explores new territory | by Dwayne Hoover
t just 25 years of age, cou ntry music sta r Hunter Hayes is already reinventing himself. Following the release of his major-label debut album in 2011, which has since gone Double-Platinum and boasts three No. 1 singles, Hayes has attained a dizzying array of accolades. He has won or been nominated
great food Schedule | Dining | Sights | Sounds | Scene
for dozens of awards, including CMA’s New Artist of the Year, Favorite Male Country Artist at the People’s Choice Awards, Choice Male Country Artist at the Teen Choice Awards, as well as five Grammy nominations. Despite his success, Hayes discovered that he was not immune to yearning for the one thing all young adults do: change. “When you go from 21 to 25, I think we all start over at that point,” Hayes said. “Whether we’re leaving college, whether we’re leaving home, whether we’re tired of what we’ve been doing for the past 10 years
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4/20 David Molinari Duo 4/22 Kevin Jones Band 4/27 Kathy Lamar Quartet
4/29 Thirsty Perch Blues Band
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20 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
that and ‘no.’ Those two words don’t exist. through college and high school, we just … I just don’t like it when things get in the want to change. I feel like we all go through way of creativity, because that will really a lot in that phase.” prematurely stop a really great idea from As most young adults find, that transicoming to life if you let yourself get away tion is never smooth and usually involves with stuff like that.” much in the way of trial-and-error. For This new record is being approached Hayes, it meant a lot of self-reflection on the much differently from his previous releases. very process of creating music. Hayes is taking his time on this project, “There was this chapter in which I having written more than 100 songs over the thought I had gone this weird path of recordpast two years and spending long hours in a ing everything myself and writing myself,” self-made studio exploring their possibilities. Hayes said. “The way I worked in the studio It’s new musical territory for him, and he’s was kind of weird and odd, and I think I was enjoying every minute of it. convinced that if I morphed my “There’s this funny misconprocess into what everybody else ception that the more you move does, I’d see better results. It was Hunter Hayes in your career the less you want an attempt to make better art, to The Intersection to do,” Hayes said. “I’m very do better things and make better 133 Grandville Ave. SW, much not that way. The further music. Grand Rapids April 20, 7 p.m., $30 along I get, the more I want to “I really had to crash down adv, $35 dos immerse myself in this world. I that road and quite a few others sectionlive.com, moved to Nashville to do this, to to realize that’s not the case.” (616) 451-8232 do everything I can at all times.” Through this, Hayes learned A nd as can be heard in the importance of, and difficulty the three songs he released last in, beginning with confidence year that will be on the upcoming record, and staying truly committed to oneself. So he Yesterday’s Song, Amen and Young Blood, it refocused, cleared the clutter and got back to is clear that the combination of his newlywhat he moved to Nashville to do in the first found freedom and commitment to himself place: focus on the feelings behind his music. is producing some of his most bold, creative Hayes’ upcoming, yet-to-be-titled album tunes yet. will be the result of that experience. It will “There are definitely times it would be reflective of not only this maturity, but be nice to get a little bit longer of a break,” also of a desire to tear down any barriers that Hayes said, “but I don’t care about that as might hinder his songwriting. much as I do the art, music and making sure “I’m really pushing hard to make sure that every effort is made to stay true.” n that no one involved in the process is afraid to really be bold,” Hayes said of his time in the studio. “‘Trying’ is a word I’ve banned,
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Schedule Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene
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22 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Style The Food Issue Revue
You might not realize how good we have it. West Michigan’s food scene lately is drawing admiration from Chicagoans and Detroiters (or so we’ve heard). It’s a combination of the quality, density and affordability — larger cities classify a $15 entree as “cheap eats.” And with every passing year, West Michigan’s food scene continues to grow and evolve. To get a taste of that growth, check out our round-up of restaurants new to the scene or coming soon. We also have our own dive into the world of Cheap Eats, from daily deals to meals that are always a bargain. Or maybe you were drawn to this issue by the prospect of a big brunch bonanza and, sure enough, we have that too. From strip malls to food trucks and family recipes, this year’s Food Issue is an epicurean extravaganza. Eat up!
The Food Issue
Cheap Eats 10 Dinners for $10 or Less
24 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Deals of the Day When it comes to lunch, spending more than $10 feels almost decadent. It’s like biting into a forbidden fruit, except the fruit is actually two rolls of sushi with a side of crab puffs. For dinner, on the other hand, eateries seem almost hesitant to drop below the double-digits. Maybe it’s because we restaurant-goers tend to associate price with quality, if not quantity. Whatever the reason, we’re here to prove that’s not the case. Here’s 10 delicious, filling dinners in West Michigan that all cost
Say it’s Tuesday, you’re desperate to go out to eat with your friends, but everyone’s broke. Oftentimes, the solution is to spend an hour combing every local establishment’s website for their best Tuesday bargains. Well comb no further — we’ve compiled the finest daily deals around for you.
$10 or less (before your generous tip, of course). By Josh Veal
Burger and pint of craft beer for $7.
Blue Dog Tavern (638 Stocking Ave., Grand Rapids): $4 Blue Dogs until 5 p.m.
Tip Top Deluxe (760 Butterworth St., Grand Rapids): $2 off food.
Brick Road Burger - $9.50 Brick Road Pizza 1017 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids While the restaurant is certainly carnivore-friendly, excellent vegan and vegetarian options abound at Brick Road Pizza. The eponymous burger is a vegan, house-made patty topped with BBQ sauce, veganaise, French-fried onions and Daiya cheddar, with tomato and lettuce on the side. It’s big, saucy and smokey — everything you want in a burger.
Veggin’ Out - $10 One Well Brewing 4213 Portage St., Kalamazoo This is not your typical quesadilla: Zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, roasted red pepper, spinach, avocado, goat cheese, and mozzarella fill the grilled tortilla, with chips and salsa on the side. If you’re feeling flush, toss some smoked pork, pulled chicken or bacon in for another $2. It’s the perfect complement to Zeus’ Sexual Appetite (One Well’s session IPA).
Best of the Wurst - $7.95 Territorial Brewing Company 256 Helmer Rd., Springfield We’ve already ranted and raved about how stunning Territorial’s German-inspired beers are, but the brewery’s food is equally worth the trip and overall light on the wallet. While you could spring for an incredible half-pound burger ($9.45), here’s your chance to try something new. The Best of the Wurst platter offers
< Delicious Dining Deals: Top: Tripa, lengua and al pastor tacos at Taqueria San Jose. Photo: Katy Batdorff Bottom: Grand Rapids Brewing Co.’s Fried Green Tomato BLT. Photo: Alex Paolella
the chef’s choice of three authentic German sausages with sauerkraut, caramelized onions, two dips and German fries.
Fried Green Tomato BLT - $10 Grand Rapids Brewing Co. 1 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids This BLT takes an at-home classic to the next level, with pepper bacon, arugula, fried green tomatoes and red tomatoes making up the heart of the sandwich. Toss in some rosemary-tarragon aioli and put it all between Nantucket Baking Co. sourdough grilled toast for a sandwich that reaches the upper limits of our budget, but worthily so.
Burger + Chili Dog + Fries - $8.89 Jonny B’z 701 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids This one almost feels like cheating. How you choose to combine items at Jonny B’z is up to you, and this burger ($3.75), all-beef chili dog ($2.89) and fries ($2.25) meal is just one of many possible dinners. The point is: It’s easy to fill up without breaking the bank here, even after the restaurant last year converted to a sit-down establishment and brought in alcohol.
Three Tacos - $6 Taqueria San Jose 1338 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids Tacos are only $2 here, but I’d easily pay twice that when my San Jose cravings are at their worst. The taqueria has developed a reputation for being possibly the best in the city. Each taco is nothing more than fresh cilantro, diced onion and your choice of juicy, expertly-prepared meat (or cactus) — it’s truly all you need. I’ve always filled up on just three tacos, but even then, it’s hard not to head back to the counter for more.
Birch Lodge (732 Michigan St., Grand Rapids): Free tacos and bloody mary/mimosa bar. Crooked Goose (355 Wilson Ave., Grand Rapids): $4.99 Roo 2.0 Burgers. Holiday Bar (801 5th St., Grand Rapids): $4 buildyour-own burgers.
Graydon’s Crossing (1223 Plainfield Ave., Grand Rapids): Meatless Mondays. Half-off select vegetarian dishes. Peppino’s Pizza Downtown (130 Ionia Ave., Grand Rapids): 10-inch, one-topping pizza for just $2.99.
Pints & Quarts (950 W. Norton Ave., Muskegon): Half-off salads, which typically cost $10.
Rezervoir Lounge (1418 Plainfield Ave., Grand Rapids): 10-inch, twotopping pizza for $5.
Elk Brewing (700 Wealthy St., Grand Rapids): Sandwich and any $4.50 beer for $10 total.
Stella’s Lounge (53 Commerce Ave., Grand Rapids): $5 off all burgers w/ purchase of drink.
Friday Bob’s Bar (725 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids): $2 tacos, choice of beef, chicken, chorizo, pulled pork.
Saturday Fulton Street Pub (801 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids): $6 fishwich.
J. Gardella’s Tavern (11 Ionia Ave., Grand Rapids):
Continued on page 26 >
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
The Food Issue
continued from page 25
Sami’s Gyro - $7.99
There’s a lot more to being happy than drinking adult beverages. Knowing that, plenty of eateries have made food deals an integral part of their happy hour menu. We’ve managed to find a batch of bargains that are reason enough to leave work early.
45 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids Mon.-Fri., 3-6 p.m. Sat.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. There’s nothing better than cheap sushi. Rockwell Republic has a whole menu of $6 sushi rolls (and apps) for happy hour, some of which typically cost twice that.
3210 Deposit Dr. NE, Grand Rapids Mon.-Fri., 3-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 p.m.-close
Gravity goes all out: $3 tacos, $2 sliders, $2 off select apps, and a Michigan Flight N’Bite, which gives you four Michigan beer samples and a snack for $8 total.
The Green Well
The half-off pizzas alone would be reason enough to visit Social for happy hour, but then they threw in half-off apps (like hummus with spiced lamb or chicken and waffles), sides and select burgers.
The hearty Green Plate lunch special (always $9.99) changes daily, but Roasted Miller’s Amish Chicken was a recent item, consisting of a roasted leg and thigh, rice, corn, tomato, serrano pepper, black bean puree, roasted peppers, and BLiS sour cream.
435 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Mon.-Fri., 3-6 p.m.
1429 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids Daily 4-6, p.m. I have definitely raced from work to Terra specifically for half-off salads and $10 pizzas, which typically average $17. Of course, $2.50 off cocktails, beer and wine doesn’t hurt either.
924 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Central City Taphouse
359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo Mon.-Sat., 9-11 p.m. If you can hold off on dinner until 9 p.m., Central City’s Devour Hour will treat you to half-off pizzas, which are typically about $13.
The Pita House 1508 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids Nearly 20 sandwiches (all less than $8) line the menu of this Eastown staple, but Sami’s Gyro is the only one mentioned right on the store’s logo. The basics are there — meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, served in pita bread — but the most economical aspect of Pita House is the truly massive amount of fresh veggie toppings available, free of charge.
Green Curry - $8.25 Erb Thai 950 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids Most Thai places will up the price (and portion size) when dinner rolls around, but Erb Thai sticks to its guns with all kinds of noodle, traditional and curry dishes that are cheap as heck. We’re partial to the green curry with rice, coconut milk, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, pea pods, baby corn, bamboo shoots, celery, eggplant, AND your choice of protein. Chicken and tofu are the cheapest options here, coming in at $8.25.
Chronic Rice Wrap - $9.25 Logan’s Alley 916 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids
Schedule Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene
Not enough people know about Logan’s food, so let us just break down one dish that veg-heads and carnivores alike will love. You start with your choice of grilled chicken or tempeh, then lay down some sauteed red onion, jalapenos, banana peppers, cilantro rice, arugula and cracked-pepper aioli on a warm flour tortilla. All that comes with potato chips and giardiniera (pickled vegetables). Alright, we’re getting hungry…
Pork Butt Burrito - $8 Righteous Cuisine 211 N. 7th St., Grand Haven Righteous Cuisine out by the lake crafts burritos and tacos the likes of which you’ve never seen. Sweet potato and brussels sprouts are common ingredients, but the Pork Butt Burrito specifically comes loaded up with pineapple salsa, queso fresco, guajillo barbecue sauce and cilantro. Split a $3 side of chips and salsa with a friend and you’re still under budget. n
Social Kitchen: Half-off pizzas, apps and select burgers
26 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Rockwell Republic: $6 sushi rolls
NOW OPEN on Bridge Street!
Classic American food, full bar, heavy on the bourbon
One Bourbon brings the Bourbon/Whiskey movement to Beer City. Located at 608 Bridge NW, Grand Rapids • onebourbongr.com • (616) 350-9505
The Food Issue
Get the Pho Out! by Troy Reimink
Pho Veggies Pho Chai from Lai Thai Kitchen PHOTO: Phil Artz
Pho, it seems, is having a moment. If you’re new to the dish — a traditional Vietnamese offering of noodles, broth, meat and various herbs and vegetables — welcome! You’ve got a bit of catching up to do, but the journey is going to be delicious. Pho isn’t quite soup and it isn’t quite stew. It’s unique unto itself, perhaps appearing simple to a newcomer. But in reality, it presents a complex interaction of flavors. Typical pho consists of beef, very thin rice noodles and a carefully concocted, piping-hot broth, in which the noodles and rare meat cook as they’re served. It usually comes with a pile of supplements such as basil, bean sprouts or jalapeno peppers.
While it now fills the menus of upscale restaurants in bigger cities, pho is very much a traditional street food, often served in the morning to (possibly hungover) early risers in bowls small enough to cup with both hands. The good news in West Michigan is that, for the most part, pho has yet to be absorbed into the trendy food scene and is available fairly inexpensively if you know where to look. The best starting point is southeast Grand Rapids, where there is a mild rivalry among pho enthusiasts (if not the restaurants themselves) over which family-owned place is better — Pho Soc Trang or Pho Anh Trang. It’s not quite American Coney Island versus Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit, but you’ll hear passionate enough arguments on the merits of either restaurant that both warrant a visit. But first: When your pho arrives, it is extremely important to spend a few minutes interacting with the broth. Resist the American impulse to immediately dump a bunch of sauces and seasonings into the bowl. Have a few spoonfuls — savor its richness, its interplay of sweetness and sourness, its aroma — before getting all silly with the condiments, or even before adding herbs, sprouts or peppers. The broth at Pho Anh Trang — obscurely located at 3633 Eastern Ave. SE, near 36th St. — is sweet and rich, and tastes like it’s as old as time. It depends, of course, on what’s in your bowl, and here is where I cop to being minimallyqualified to judge traditional pho, since I’m a non-consumer of land-animal flesh and order vegetarian whenever possible. (Most places nowadays will accommodate this.) But every meat-eating companion at Pho Anh Trang, upon sipping the broth, stares into the distance for a moment, as if transported somewhere mystical. Pho Anh Trang’s vegetarian pho — pho chay, priced at an unbeatable $4.50 during lunch hours — contains tofu, sliced mushrooms, onion, vermicelli noodles and a variety of herbs. At Pho Soc Trang, the pho chay ($8.25) contains a different cocktail of leafy vegetables and larger tofu pieces that are sliced like flank steak, their outer edges gently fried in a manner I found
Fresh Midwest Food & Drink! more texturally appealing, but the dishes ultimately are so similar that a lay-person isn’t likely to form a strong preference. It’s a great excuse for repeat visits. Pho Soc Trang — located in the Golden Bridge Plaza at 4242 S. Division Ave. — offers about 15 beef pho options with various combinations of brisket, tendon and tripe. My guest at a recent lunch visit feasted on the pho bo kho ($8.95), beef with rice noodles, a great entry-level option. Another good place to start is Lai Thai Kitchen, 1621 Leonard St. NW, where a recent dining excursion with friends produced endorsements ranging from tepid to enthusiastic. Another vegetarian and I ordered the pho chay ($7.95), a smaller portion than we received at other restaurants, but whose density of noodles and vegetables compensated for a somewhat more generic broth. The omnivores in the group ordered pho steak and chicken ($8.25) and pho steak ($8.50) and seemed as enamored with the cozy, unassuming confines of the dining room as with the pho itself. There are other stops on this journey. Golden 28, 627 28th St. SW, has a devoted following. Bangkok Taste, 15 Jefferson Ave. SE, a downtown Thai restaurant, offers good seafood and beef phos. Go forth! You might be wondering by now whether the correct pronunciation is “foe” or “fuh.” Conventional wisdom points to “fuh” as correct, but there is some slight nuance depending on if the dish originated in the northern or southern part of Vietnam. Do your best, but even if you don’t nail the dialect, pho restaurants will still let you in. n
114 East Main St. Fennville, MI
Executive Chef Matthew Pietsch & the SotE/Principle teams invite you to enjoy two unique Midwest dining and imbibing experiences.
Great river views Award-winning fried chicken Dinner 7 days a week starting at 5 p.m. The Lakeshore’s largest whisky selection West Michigan’s best brunch every Saturday & Sunday 880 Holland St., Saugatuck • (269) 857-3555 facebook.com/TheSouthernerMi
230 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo | 269.743.6563 | principlekzoo.com
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Scene | Sounds | Sights Dining Schedule
• • • • •
Circle Pines Center presents
b uttermilk j amboree June 16 - 18
Schedule | Dining | sights | Sounds Scene
• The Slambovian Circus of Dreams • • Anne Weiss • B-Side Growlers • BenJammin • Bigfoot Buffalo • Britt Kusserow • Brotha James • Cabildo • Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer • Chameleon Culture • Channing & Quinn • Claudia Schmidt & Sally Rogers • Conklin Ceili Band • Cooperfly Puppet Troup • Corn Fed Girls • Cousin Avery • Dede & The Dreamers • Detroit Pleasure Society • Diff & Dudley • Eric Engblade • Fable the Poet • Hannah Rose & the GravesTones • Gordon Henry • Hawks & Owls • Jill Jack • Jive at Five • Jordan Hamilton Trio • K. Jones & the Benzie Playboys • Lac La Belle • Less Is More • Libby DeCamp • May Erlewine • Megan Dooley • Northern Fires • Peter Madcat Ruth • Red Sea Pedestrians • Roberta Lee & Denny G. • Robin Connell & Kathy Lamar • Shari Kane & Dave Steele • Slim Gypsy Baggage • The Change • The Mainstays • The Mickeys • The Moxie Strings • The Porters • The Shrock Brothers • The Weatherheads • Thunderbolt & Lightfoot • Tia Imani Hanna •
Four Stages of Music • Kid’s Commons • Folk School Michigan Beer, Mead, & Wine • Delicious Food Beautiful Camping, Nature Trails & Swimming
30 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
FEBRUARY 8 - RESERVOIR DOGS - RED’S RYE IPA FEBRUARY 15 - JAWS - AZACCA IPA FEBRUARY 22 - THE JERK - ALL DAY IPA MARCH 1 - BEVERLY HILLS COP - CENTENNIAL IPA MARCH 8 - PAN'S LABYRINTH - PORTER MARCH 15 - GANGS OF NEW YORK - DIRTY BASTARD MARCH 22 - THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL - IMPERIAL STOUT MARCH 29 - BRIDESMAIDS - RUBAEUS APRIL 5 - LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE - CURMUDGEON APRIL 12 - GOLDFINGER - KBS
FOUNDERS film series FEBRUARY 8 - APRIL 12, 8PM FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO: celebrationcinema.com/foundersfilms TICKETS $2 21 AND UP FOUNDERSBREWING.COM
From College to Collage KCAD master’s grad Eana Agopian wins UICA’s Fresh Pick award. SEE PAGE 4A. Story by Marla R. Miller. Photo courtesy of Eana Agopian.
SKEPTICAL SPECTACLE Cameron Carpenter’s rare perspective
CLASSICAL CHRONICLES HSO finds stories in music
JUSTICE ONSTAGE Ebony Road Players challenge through theater
MAY 2-7, 2017
ALL OTHER PHOTOS BY ANDREW ECCLES.
RAYMOND LUKE JR. PHOTO BY JOAN MARCUS.
GET READY , ‘CAUSE HERE WE COME.
MAY 9-14, 2017
at DeVos Performance Hall
at Miller Auditorium
Grand Rapids engagement is welcomed by: BISSELL Inc., Calder Investment Advisors, Crowe Horwath LLP, Harvey Automotive, Lacks Enterprises, Inc., Miller Johnson, Steelcase Inc.
broadwaygrandrapids.com | (800) 745-3000 Motown Full Page Ad.indd 1 2AMiller | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
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MOTOWN IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF UMG RECORDINGS, INC
2/8/17 3:44 PM
[BEST BETS] On Tap: Michigan Brews. Inflatable Art! Try a new take on the traditional brew fest: Sip beer, sample food and explore the world of whimsical, inflatable art at On Tap, an annual beer and food tasting event at Muskegon Museum of Art. This fun and social evening features craft beer from breweries up and down the coast of West Michigan, along with food pairing samples from area restaurants. The beer is served in the main galleries, allowing patrons to experience the fun and funky Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art, along with other exhibitions. Each ticket includes five 4-ounce tasting tickets and all food samples. — reported By marla r. miller
On Tap: Michigan Brews. Inflatable Art! Muskegon Museum of Art 296 W. Webster Ave., Muskegon April 22, 6-9 p.m., $30 advance, $35 at the door muskegonartmuseum.org, (231) 720-2570
Story Slam: You Can’t Judge a Book By its Cover If you’ve ever listened to The Moth, you know the power of a
classics on tap
good story told onstage. It’s an exciting, authentic and emotional
Back by popular demand, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orches-
experience, listening to a stranger tell their tale with a crowd
tra’s Classics on Tap takes chamber music offstage and into the
of fellow story-lovers. This month, the Creative Youth Center is
tap room. See the drama and intensity of classical music up
bringing that experience to The Pyramid Scheme with a Story
close in between sips of your favorite Bell’s brew. The program
Slam (storytelling competition) with the theme: You Can’t Judge
features two saxophone-centered works, a performance by the
a Book By Its Cover. The stories will all be true and no longer
KSO woodwind trio, and a piano quintet by composer Dmitri
than five minutes. While the event alone is sure to entertain, it
Shostakovich — who was a Soviet dissident or Stalinist sympa-
also acts as a benefit show for the Creative Youth Center, which
thizer, depending on who you ask. These events tend to sell out
helps children with creative writing outside of school.
quickly, so be sure to secure your tickets soon. — reported By samara napolitan
— reported By josh veal
Story Slam: You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover The Pyramid Scheme 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids April 18, 7 p.m., $10 pyramidschemebar.com, (616) 272-3758
Classics on Tap Bell’s Eccentric Cafe 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo April 15, 8 p.m., $15-$30 kalamazoosymphony.com, (269) 349-7759
Piece by Piece
Eana Agopian’s collages earn her UICA’s Fresh Pick award by Marla R. Miller
“I appropriate a lot of imagery, but I also alter it from the original source material so that it all kind of changes in the end,” she said. According to her artist’s statement, her work draws upon “themes of alchemy, psychology, and various modes of sensual perception to explore realms of the unknown” and “explores the mysteries of the world as illustrated by nature guides and encyclopedia diagrams.” When asked to elaborate on those concepts: “People should come and see the show,” she said. “It’s so hard to describe in words the kind of work that I do, they need to come and see it with their own eyes. I really want to make work that speaks for itself when you see it.”
Ready to board a plane for Mexico last May, recent Kendall College of Art and Design graduate Eana Agopian checked her email one last time. To her surprise, she had a message notifying her she had been selected for UICA’s Fresh Pick Award, an honor that recognizes an emerging artist and KCAD grad with a solo exhibition at UICA. “I’m really grateful to show my work at the UICA,” she said. “It’s an incredible opportunity. The space there is amazing. They are giving me a lot of flexibility on how to show the work and what I’m showing.” Created in 2015, the Fresh Pick Award honors one student in KCAD’s graduating class who shows a high level of talent and potential. UICA curators visit the school’s annual student exhibition in the spring to scout the students’ work, said Katie Zychowski, UICA’s marketing and communications coordinator. Agopian’s thesis exhibition, Occultation: Conceal/Reveal, received the Fresh Pick Award for 2016, and she debuts a new body of work in her spring UICA exhibit, Interlace, on display April 8-Aug. 6. She graduated in 2016 with a master’s degree in fine arts in printmaking and works in multimedia collage and embroidery, along with a part-time job at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in the gift shop. Her collages incorporate elements of screenprinting, etching, photograms, handcolored photo transfers, acrylic paint, mica powder, and found material. She plans to show some origami pieces and a sculptural work in the UICA exhibit, as well new collage pieces with a lighter and brighter feel. “I don’t feel like my work always fits into the realm of contemporary art, but it is contemporary art,” she said. “I’m kind of going in a different direction with the folding paper pieces and origami. … I like having a deadline
4A | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Meiosis by Eana Agopian. photo: Matt Gubancsik
and knowing where the work is going to go, rather than what the work is actually going to look like. I like to know how people are going to view it.” Prior to moving to Grand Rapids, Agopian studied art education and fine art photography at Western Michigan University’s Gwen Frostic School of Art and helped organize art, music and food events for several years in Kalamazoo. She also studied photography and alternative darkroom processes at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, where her interest in light-based image capture shifted from photography to printmaking. UICA’s Exhibition Curator Heather Duffy said Eana’s thesis exhibition stood out immediately to her, despite some great competition. “The collages, etchings, threadworks and
photograms in that series were intricate, meticulous and expertly-designed,” Duffy said. “I returned to see them more than once, and each time was left wanting more. … We’re planning to really transform the gallery space with her exhibition design.” Agopian’s love of collage goes back to high school art class. “We’d buy jugs of glue and we’d collage all day,” she said. “I had a hard time of focusing on one simple image.” Agopian incorporates a lot of vintage imagery into her work, cutting out old photos from nature and children’s encyclopedias and National Geographic, and allowing the materials and processes to guide the creation. Built layer upon layer, the image evolves as a reaction to the previous stage.
In another effort to give art students more exposure, UICA every spring also hosts a juried exhibition of graduate students and recent graduates from across the state. The Michigan Emerging Graduate Artists (MEGA) exhibition, on display April 8-July 31, showcases a variety of works in a variety of media from graduates and master’s students studying at Michigan colleges. It is held in collaboration with the MFA Collective, a student organization at KCAD. Students apply in early February for consideration and works are reviewed by a panel of jurors. This year’s jurors include Heather Duffy, UICA exhibitions curator; Elizabeth Chodos, executive/creative director at Ox-Bow School of Art; and Taylor Renee Aldridge, an arts writer and curator based in Detroit. ■
Fresh Pick: Eana Agopian
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) 2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids April 8- Aug. 6 Opening reception April 8, 6-10 p.m., Free eanaappleagopian.com, uica.org, (616) 454-7000
BRIGHTON BEACH MEMOIRS
THE LAST OF THE DRAGONS
Based on the comic strip characters of the same name, this musical features an original story and music that is sure to leave you snapping.
A coming-of-age comedy focusing on the teenage experience - puberty, sexual awakening, and the search for identity.
A swashbuckling family show that tells a tale of bravery, intelligence, and unexpected friendship.
MAY 4-6 | 10-14 | 17-20
A CHORUS LINE
JULY 13-15 | 19-23 | 26-29
A Broadway classic celebrating those unsung heroes of the American Musical Theatre: the chorus dancers.
JUNE 1-3 | 7-11 | 14-17
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
AUGUST 10-12 | 16-20 | 23-26 An American masterpiece about the power of childhood innocence, morality, and love.
JUNE 28 - JULY 1
IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU
SUMMER 2017 65TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
SEPTEMBER 7-9 | 13-17 | 20-23 An old-fashioned musical comedy about a wedding you will never forget. Everything goes wrong and love pops up in mysterious places.
616 456 6656 | 1703 ROBINSON ROAD SOUTHEAST | CIRCLETHEATRE.ORG REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
PREVIEW Japanese Animaaon, Film, and Art eXpo
June 16-18 Grand Rapids
At the Amway Grand and Devos Place
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids meijergardens.org, (888) 957-1580
Ai Weiwei: Natural State Through Aug. 20
Grand Rapids Art Museum 101 Monroe Center, Grand Rapids artmuseumgr.org, (616) 831-1000
Prints and Processes Through June 25
Finders Keepers: West Michigan Collects Through April 30
Kyle Herbert J. Michael Tatum Charles Dunbar
Cesplee, Culture,e& Enterteinment Dozens of Local Arrsts & Vendors Registraaon Now Open:
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April showers may bring May flowers, but April also brings loads of student exhibits — ranging from kindergartners to those working on their MFA — along with some shows about printmaking, nature and toy design. by Dana Casadei
Black Waves: The Tattoo Art of Leo Zulueta Through Aug. 27
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kiarts.org, (269) 349-7775 West Michigan Area Show 2017 Through May 28 Pressed for Time: History of Printmaking Through July 2 Young Artists of Kalamazoo County Through April 15 Impressions: Printmaking in Japan April 1-July 23 In the late 19th century, Western artists became fascinated by traditional Japanese woodblock prints. This exhibit takes a look at the history of that art. The prints on display — which are from the museum’s collection — demonstrate the shift from traditional processes and imagery through today’s Japanese printmaking.
6th District Congressional Art Competition April 29-June 4 Celebrating the work of local high school students, the 35th annual High School Area Show and 6th District Congressional Art Competition will take place this month. The Area Show is a juried exhibit while the Art Competition awards more than $300,000 in scholarships for those in grades 9-12. The winner of the Art Competition will be selected by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton’s office to hang for one year in the U.S. Capitol as part of the national Congressional Art Competition.
LaFontsee Galleries 833 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids lafontsee.us, (616) 451-9820
Freshly Considered: Group Spring Show Through April 15 LaFontsee’s 2017 exhibition calendar kicks off with Freshly Considered, a group show featuring a collection of new works fresh from the studio. Displacement: An Installation by Justin Kellner Through April 15 Michigan native Justin Kellner — an awardwinning painter and sculptor — will have his installation on display in the front gallery this month. Kellner’s installation examines human impact on the natural environment and his pieces often highlight the habitat loss of certain warbler species in Michigan.
LowellArts 223 W. Main St., Lowell lowellartsmi.org, (616) 897-8545
LowellArts West Michigan Art Competition: Through April 15 Who’s Who? LowellArts Members Exhibition: April 25-June 3 Celebrating the gallery’s recent move, Who’s Who will display pieces by LowellArts members. The names of the artists will be hidden
during the reception, giving guests a chance to guess who created each piece.
Muskegon Museum of Art 296 W. Webster. Ave., Muskegon muskegonartmuseum.org, (231) 720-2570 David (Shannon) Goes to the Museum: Through April 16 Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art: Through April 23 David Jay Spyker Through April 16 Kalamazoo-based artist David Jay Spyker will make you want to get to a beach with his ultra-realistic paintings of land and shore, which include images of crashing waves along the beach. Spyker’s pieces have been shown throughout the region, including at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Expressions: 2017 35th Annual Muskegon County Student Art Exhibition Through April 23 The annual student art exhibit will showcase works created by those in grades K-12 in a variety of mediums. Expressions is a collaboration between the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District and the muse-
um. Artwork was selected by art specialists from each of the public, charter and private schools in the county.
Saugatuck Center for the Arts 400 Culver St., Saugatuck sc4a.org, (269) 857-2399 MOVE IT! The Art, Science, and Fun of Toy Design April 7-May 26 MOVE IT! takes a look at the work of two product designers: Jon and Sarah Vanderbeek of Sweet Spot Studio, Inc., which is based in Saugatuck. The exhibit lets viewers see how a toy goes from simply being an idea to prototyping, final designs and distribution.
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts 2 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids uica.org, (616) 454-7000 US IS THEM: Art from the Pizzuti Collection Through May 14 Fresh Pick: Eana Agopian April 8-Aug. 6 (See story on page 4.) MEGA 2017 April 8-July 31
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Piping Up Cameron Carpenter explores the organ’s narrative by Samara Napolitan
The word “spectacle” often follows Cameron Carpenter. Even when considering the sequined shoes, a $1.3 million traveling digital organ (that he designed himself) and his intellectual bravado, Carpenter insists those syllables should be rearranged to “skeptical” when referencing his work and persona. The Juilliard-trained and Grammy-nominated musician has uprooted the organ from its fusty reputation and has consistently annoyed purists with his unorthodox interpretations of standard repertoire. Ahead of his performance with the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra this month, Revue talked with Carpenter to unpack the stereotypes associated with his field.
The organist might be the only musician without an instrument to call their own. What have been the benefits of having your own portable, digital organ? From the beginning, the organ has faced all kinds of infrastructural challenges and implications that other instruments do not. Honestly, it’s absurd to think that organists have ever been satisfied with the situation. Any way that I’m able to change that, it should be changed. How should it be changed? I think the digital future of the organ is writ large in the history of the instrument itself, and was gradually defined by the implications of emerging technologies throughout different eras. In fact, it was the most complex man-made machine until the late 19th century. Keeping all that in mind, my instrument allows me to play for more people in more places. It also allows me to prove, test, develop and promote my ideas as an organ theorist, which I think in the long term will be my bigger contribution, assuming I make any contribution in the world at all!
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That’s fascinating, because the usual perception is that the organ is a very traditional, church-bound instrument. Perhaps the opposite is true? Yes, and you should never be told that the organ comes from Christianity. The organ in its 2,300-year-old history actually precedes and predates Christianity in extremely tangible form. It’s an extreme irony that the organ is portrayed as having a soul or being derived from faith, because for hundreds of years it was the most sophisticated machine most people would ever encounter. Your latest recording features mostly works by Bach, and one by The Beatles. Yeah, unfortunately. I was kind of twisted into that. One of my old mentors had a joke that if I ever made a Bach album I could call it “All You Need is Bach.” That’s exactly what I did. Then some record executive suggested I do a cover of “All You Need is Love.” I think that’s the last time I’ll ever listen to a record executive.
Why’s that? Because I hate The Beatles. I hate that song and I wish it weren’t on the record. In a way, it’s kind of good, because if you listen to that track you can hear how much I despise it. I go out of my way to make it sound terrible and like a ridiculous, out-of-shape theater organ — which is about as much as that dreadful and ideologically-bankrupt song deserves. I do try to make statements in music. I think that’s important.
structed in such a way that nothing is lost in transmission. The organ music is free of registrations, but it also happens to be free of things like phrasing and dynamics, which are staples of all other music. It’s almost as though the basic essence of the musical information itself — pitch, time and rhythm — is enough. That’s why Bach’s organ works can be played by a saxophone quartet or an accordion and still make complete sense.
There’s so much room for interpretation with Bach’s organ music. Is that what inspired the theme of this record? That’s exactly right. One of the great strengths of Bach’s music is that it’s con-
Is your work out of concern for the future of your instrument and classical music in general? No, not at all. It’s a very fortunate thing for me that I come from a non-musical family. It’s served me well, because it’s allowed me to be sensitive to people who don’t understand classical music at a deep level. In some ways, it’s more difficult and interesting to please that person. There’s so much material that they can listen to subjectively without trying to pass judgment on it, as opposed to a listener who is really educated and has to take the entire performance at face value. Ultimately, the decisions that I make have nothing to do with the future of classical music. The future of classical music is not my responsibility, and it’s not the responsibility of any one person. ■
Miller Auditorium 2200 Auditorium Dr., Kalamazoo April 1, 8 p.m., $12-$60 kalamazoosymphony. com, (269) 349-7759
Upcoming Concerts From
Watch a selected film at home using Kanopy—our free film streaming service—then attend an engaging discussion and analysis of the film. To start streaming, visit www.grpl.org/film.
w/ Tall Tall Trees
Covenant Fine Arts Center| 8pm | $15
12 ////Rome, Open City (1945) Thursday, April 6 7:00 pm Main Library 111 Library St NE
SANDRA MCCRACKEN Calvin College Chapel| 7pm | $5
EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY w/ Special Guest
Covenant Fine Arts Center| 8pm | $38
OVERCOATS w/ Yoke Lore
Covenant Fine Arts Center| 8pm | FREE
w/ Special Guest
Covenant Fine Arts Center| 8pm | $15
616.526.6282 /calvincollegesao calvin.edu/boxoffice
#ReadSoHard BOOK CLUB
Monday, April 10 7:00 pm Harmony Hall 401 Stocking NW Join us for a discussion on The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. For more details, visit www.grpl.org/readsohard.
A MUSICAL INTERLUDE IN THE LIBRARY
THE EXTRA TEXTURE
Thursday, April 20 7:00 pm Main Library 111 Library St NE
10 EVENTS ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC 111 LIBRARY ST NE 616.988.5400 WWW.GRPL.ORG REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Left: Holland Symphony Orchestra. Right: Guest violinist, Moni Simeonov. Courtesy Photos
Holland Symphony Orchestra ends season with inclusive, narrative show by Marla R. Miller
Holland Symphony Orchestra Music Director Johannes Müller-Stosch likes to give the audience something a little bit different to close out each concert series. “Different” in this case can mean many things, whether it be by size, scope or unique repertoire. HSO’s Classics III: Stories in Music offers something for everyone, featuring MüllerStosch’s California colleague and violin virtuoso Moni Simeonov, the winning piece from the symphony’s 2015 Young American Composer’s Competition, and a work that takes the audience on a stroll through the museum with Pictures at an Exhibition. The April 29 concert opens with a sixminute long overture, Tracks, that sounds like a diesel freight train is coming, according to composer Bryce Craig. He wrote the piece in honor of his grandmother, Shirley, who had the “fortitude and constitution of a freight train,” and also because he remembers plenty of trains in his hometown of Olathe, Kan. “I was basically surrounded by trains, hearing and seeing trains every day, getting caught by a train,” he said. The sound of a train is baked into the
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piece rhythmically, harmonically and melodically, he said. “Just try to imagine a big, speeding diesel locomotive,” he said. “It’s upbeat to be sure. I wanted to give it the character a big freight train deserves, stout and noble.” The middle is more contemplative and introspective, then the song “puts the gas back on in the last two minutes or so,” he said. Craig, first-place winner of the HSO’s composer competition, wrote Tracks for another contest held by the Duluth Superior Symphony in Minnesota, which the piece also won. It’s his first original piece for orchestra and he wrote it during graduate school at the encouragement of his composition professor, David Gillingham. Craig, 26, received a $1,000 prize for winning the Holland competition, plus an online video-conference and critique, working with orchestra and guest composer Christopher Theofanidis. Craig now lives in North Carolina and works as a music editor and audio specialist for C. Alan Publications. This is the Michigan premiere of Tracks, and he plans to attend rehearsals and the concert to hear it performed live — with the revisions and a part for harp. “He gave me a lot of nice tips and ways to improve it,” Craig said of Theofanidis. Following Tracks, guest violinist Simeonov accompanies the symphony for Chausson’s Poème and Ravel’s Tzigane, both for violin and orchestra. They are two of the most famous solo works in the violin repertoire. Chausson, a French composer, wrote the
sublime and dreamy Poème after a request from another famous violinist, Eugène Ysaÿe. It has a lovely, lyrical theme, showcasing the emotional intensity of the composer and skill of the artist. “Chausson is very contemplative,” said Music Director Müller-Stosch. “I guess the title, Poème, it can almost be viewed as poetic and expressionistic.” Shorter and more fast-paced, the mood changes with Ravel’s violin showpiece, Tzigane, which means “gypsy,” and opens with a challenging solo cadenza for the violinist. Joined by the orchestra, the technically-advanced violin solo culminates in “violinistic fireworks.” “You need a virtuoso violinist to pull off the Chausson and Ravel,” Müller-Stosch said. A native of Bulgaria, Simeonov knows Müller-Stosch through teaching at California State University and has a long list of
Classics III: Stories in Music
Holland Symphony Orchestra Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts 221 Columbia Ave., Holland April 29, 7:30 p.m., $5-$20 hollandsymphony.org, (616) 796-6780
education credentials, recordings and guest performances. He has coached alongside Midori for her Orchestra Residencies, and dedicates time to working with young people in Holland area schools. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, one of the classics of the orchestra repertoire, is the focus of the second half. While it’s considered a well-known masterpiece, this is the first time HSO has performed the piece during Müller-Stosch’s tenure, and it requires a larger orchestra. “We try to do that for our last concert of the year, bring out everybody,” he said. “I’m in my tenth year with the Holland Symphony and there is only one piece we’ve repeated. We try to give our audiences a wealth of repertoire and give them new things they may not have heard before.” Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel, Pictures at an Exhibition was first written as a suite of piano pieces organized as a tribute to paintings created by his friend, Viktor Hartmann. The audience is taken on a stroll, observing the musical depictions of the various paintings throughout the work: a grotesque nutcracker, a troubadour serenading his love, children in a garden, a musical picture of a big oxcart, chickens in their shells, and finally the great gate of Kiev with all of its pomp and majesty. “None of these pieces are called absolute music. Everything relates to something that’s not absolute, but that is descriptive,” Müller-Stosch said. “Everybody is going to find something they love on this program. It’s really an all-inclusive program that should speak to just about everybody.” ■
St. Cecilia Music Center P R E S E N T S
Winner of the 2017 American Music Prize for Best Debut Album
One of our generation’s most soulful artists
Incredible all-star tribute to the work of Miles Davis
Patricia Barker, Artistic Director
a world premiere event
APRIL 28-30 & MAY 5-7 | grballet.com | 616.454.4771 |
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
A Lifetime of Music
Sara Daneshpour stops by Kalamazoo on her path to acclaim Sara Daneshpour
by Samara Napolitan
Sara Daneshpour may be one of tomorrow’s stars. The Gilmore Rising Stars Series brings young and exceptional artists like the Iranian-American Daneshpour to Kalamazoo every year. First presented in 1999, the series features acclaimed pianists like Lang Lang, Jonathan Biss and Kirill Gerstein before they hit it big. Daneshpour is soft-spoken, but her presence at the keys is at turns effusive and electrifying. Described by the New York Concert Review, “She exhibits all the requisites for a high-voltage career and more: blazing technique, expressivity, imagination and a lovely stage presence.” The Curtis Institute of Music and Juilliard graduate is the winner of several international awards and has appeared on stage at the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Her performance at the Moscow Conservatory was particularly defining for the young artist.
“As I was walking on that stage, I thought of all the greats that have played there and have studied at the conservatory. For me, it was very memorable,” she said. The program Daneshpour has assembled features the work of two French composers: Pierre Boulez and Maurice Ravel. “Even though these two composers are both from a certain geographic area, I like to explore the different worlds they created through their work,” she said. The program includes selections from Bach’s Art of the Fugue, which presents its own complexity against the striking work of Boulez. “In my programs, I try to find pieces that would be interesting to the listener — to expose audiences to pieces that are not performed often but are masterpieces in their own right,” Daneshpour said. Daneshpour will close the program with Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 8 in B-flat-Major, Op. 84. Of all the music in her substantial repertoire, Daneshpour has an undeniable prowess when it comes to music by Russian composers.
Sara Daneshpour Wellspring Theater 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo April 2, 4 p.m., $6-$25 thegilmore.org, (269) 359-7311
“Over the years, my teachers have often been Russian,” she said. “I entered the (2007 International Russian Music Piano) Competition under the direction of my former teacher Oleg Volkov. I absolutely adore performing music of Russian heritage.” Under the guidance of her current teacher, Armenian-American concert pianist Sergei Babayan, Daneshpour is exploring the meaning and direction behind sounds in order to heighten her development. Listening to recordings of her favorite piano players, including Alfred Cortot, Vladimir
Horowitz and Emil Gilels, is also important at this point in her burgeoning career. “The more you listen, the more your mind extends in terms of potential,” she says. Daneshpour has found much success in the competition circuit as the First Prize winner of the XII Concours International de Musique du Maroc in 2012, the 2007 International Russian Music Piano Competition and the 2003 Beethoven Society of America Competition. However, she is working toward balance in her career. “One could say it’s good to be exposed, because when you perform at competitions you might be invited to perform in other places,” she said. “But you also have to be careful in terms of your repertoire, and give yourself the opportunity to constantly learn and not get stuck in the same material.” With this outlook on her future as a concert pianist, Daneshpour mirrors the sentiment behind one of her favorite quotes by Russian pianist, composer and conductor Sergei Rachmaninoff: “Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.” ■
Fox Motors POPS
DeVos Hall Series Sponsor: Concert Sponsor:
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Tickets start at
The Beatles legend 50TH ANNIVERSARY marches onward
Photo: Vanessa Briceno.
ORDER TICKETS NOW! 616.454.9451 x 4 GRPops.org
PREVIEW For the classical music fans, we have a quartet, a few pianists and violinists, and the works of an EGOT winner. There’s also a concert dedicated to The Beatles and a Pakistani folk singer. Hello, variety! by Dana Casadei
Play it Again, Marvin! April 28, 8 p.m., $12-$60 The works of EGOT winner and legendary Broadway composer Marvin Hamlisch will be celebrated at this multimedia concert. Hamlisch is one of only a dozen people ever to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, and only one of two people also to win a Pulitzer Prize on top of those. Anyone else suddenly feeling like an underachiever?
Sanam Marvi April 15, 8 p.m., $22+ Ann Arbor will be one of the stops on Sanam Marvi’s first extended U.S. tour. Marvi — a Pakistani folk singer — sings in Punjabi, Saraiki and Sindhi languages and is considered Pakistan’s next inspiring diviner of South Asia’s Sufi texts.
St. Cecilia Music Center 24 Ransom Ave. NE, Grand Rapids scmc-online.org, (616) 459-2224
Opera in Concert: Handel’s Ariodante April 25, 7:30 p.m., $14+
Margo Price April 6, 7:30 p.m., $20+ Marc Cohn April 13, 7:30 p.m., $35+
Fontana Chamber Arts 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 200, Kalamazoo fontanachamberarts.org, (269) 382-0812
The Ebène Quartet April 7, 7:30 p.m., $25+ For the members of the Ebène Quartet, what started as a distraction during their conservatory practice days has now turned into international fame. The quartet, which was founded in 1999, easily moves between genres and has been described as “a string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band” by The New York Times. While the quartet does have a more classical repertoire, some of its most popular pieces have been those that were outside the box, including a rendition of the music from the score of Pulp Fiction and arrangements of classic Beatles hits.
The Gilmore 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 101, Kalamazoo thegilmore.org, (269) 342-1166
Sara Daneshpour April 2, 4 p.m., $25 (See story on facing page.)
Grand Rapids Symphony 300 Ottawa Ave. NW Ste. 100, Grand Rapids grsymphony.org, (616) 454-9451 Beethoven & Bernstein April 21-22, 8 p.m., $18+ Symphony Noir April 25, 6:30 p.m., $100 Adiemus April 27, 7:30 p.m., $15 Classical Mystery Tour: Sgt. Pepper’s 50th Anniversary April 28-30, times vary, $18+
University Musical Society 881 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor ums.org, (734) 764-2538 Michael Fabiano and Martin Katz April 1, 8 p.m., $16+ A Far Cry with Roomful of Teeth April 12, 7:30 p.m., $24+
Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile Bach Trios April 22, 8 p.m., SOLD OUT
West Michigan Symphony Orchestra 360 W. Western Ave., Muskegon westmichigansymphony.org, (231) 726-3231 West Michigan Symphony: Great Ladies Of Swing April 28, 7:30 p.m., $21+ Jazz and blues vocalist Dee Daniels — and her four-octave range — will join the West Michigan Symphony for a night of jazz. The evening includes hits performed and recorded by swing legends Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and Sarah Vaughan, and classic hits like Fever, Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man and Makin’ Whoopee.
Dee Daniels performing with West Michigan Symphony in Great Ladies of Swing If you’re a Beatlemaniac, come celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band with Beatlemania. The show, which will be two hours of Beatles hits like I Am the Walrus and Penny Lane, includes members from the original Broadway musical Beatlemania.
Hope College Great Performance Series 221 Columbia Ave., Holland hope.edu/arts, (616) 395-7222 Classics III: Stories in Music April 29, 7:30 p.m., $5-$20 See story on page 10.
Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra 359 Kalamazoo Mall Ste. 100, Kalamazoo kalamazoosymphony.com, (269) 349-7759 Cameron Carpenter April 1, 8 p.m., $12+ See story on page 8.. Classics On Tap April 15, 8 p.m., $15-$30
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Disgraced follows four people of different backgrounds at a dinner party, discussing themes of identity politics, Islamophobia and the post-9/11 America. courtesy photos
Amazing Disgrace Actors’ Theatre combats otherization with the timely ‘Disgraced’
by kayla tucker
When Fred Sebulske founded Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids in 1981, his mission was to provoke conversation through theater. With the upcoming play, Disgraced, Sebulske again intends to do just that, taking the front seat as director. The show hones in on Muslim-American Amir Kapoor, a New York City lawyer struggling with his identity and faith in a post-9/11 American society. “It’s probably the most timely show I’ve done in a long time,” Sebulske said. “We’re banning people from the country because they’re Muslim, we’re into identity politics, and it’s what this play is really about.” Sebulske, 73, said a goal for Actor’s Theatre in general
Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids Spectrum Theater 160 Fountain St. NE April 13-22, 8 p.m. General admission $28, students/seniors $22 actorstheatregrandrapids.org
is to pay attention to “the other.” “For me, if the play is about anything, it’s reminding us that there’s always an ‘other,’” Sebulske said. “And that ‘other’ can be scapegoated.” Humzah Azeem, 19, plays Abe, Amir’s younger cousin. Azeem grew up in the Cascade area and went to Forest Hills Central High School. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan before he was born, and he and his family are Muslim. Although he said he didn’t feel too “different” growing up, he understands how many Muslims struggle with the two identities together: American and Muslim. “I sort of have two different worlds,” Azeem said. “I have the America that I grew up in with all my friends and then I have the Islamic America, with the mosque and the way that I grew up. People think that Islam and American culture can’t mix and I think that is a really common misconception — I know from experience that it can.” Azeem said another common misconception is relating terrorism to the Islamic religion. “The Muslims that most people have had an interaction with are the terrorists, because they’re always in the news,” Azeem said. “I think (after 9/11), people just wanted to quickly classify who we are, because you want to name the enemy at first. But they are my enemy, too.” While not all Muslims experience America the same way, Azeem said he is grateful to his mom for making his experience as seamless as possible. “I won the jackpot by being born in America,” Azeem said. “When I was a kid, I didn’t really see that much (discrimination), but I think it was largely because my mom tried to make sure I didn’t see anything that could have
been there.” Overall, Azeem hopes attendees leave the show with more of an open mind. “Everyone could benefit from having a relationship with somebody that is different than them,” Azeem said. “The fact that everyone is different is a similarity, (and) people don’t realize how truly similar everybody is.” Sebulske noted that the play is not just meant to be about Muslims in America, it’s meant to speak on how we all “otherize” people different from us. The director said the show will relate to anyone sitting in the theater seats that night. “The play is very entertaining. It’s got some laughs in it, but ultimately you begin to realize that you’re watching someone who has become a victim of forces beyond his control, but who’s also made decisions in his life that have led him there,” Sebulske said. “So that makes it a universal story. We’ve all done it. In one way or another, we’ve all made decisions that we regret — we’ve cut away pieces of ourselves.” This show will be Azeem’s first community theater production. In high school, he was in two musicals, participated with the improv team, and performed standup comedy at a talent show. A political science major at Grand Valley State University, he said theater is one of the best mediums used to help people process complex topics. “I’ve always liked theater, film and TV, because they give people an escape from their reality,” Azeem said. “But the beauty of the best type of movie or the best type of theater is you have that escape from reality, but it comes full circle and you tie that back into your real life.” ■
Improv Improvement Crawlspace Eviction uses comedy to help people be better
by Jane Simons
Dann Sytsma’s fixation with the word “crawlspace” led to the birth of an improv group that has become a fixture in Kalamazoo’s entertainment scene. “We came up with the name Crawlspace Eviction during a drunken discussion with other members of the group on our back porch one night,” Sytsma said. “We were throwing out words and ideas that we thought were pretty funny and one of them that just stuck in my brain was the humor of a crawlspace and what’s in them. “You put stuff in there that you never want to see again. Then I started thinking about the idea of pulling and taking things out of it. It’s the idea of exploring those places in life that don’t get explored much.” The improv group’s five members tend to focus on topics that they’re interested in during their performances, although the audience will sometimes steer them in a new direction. Sytsma said they don’t do a lot of political improv because they’re not very adept at it. “Our shows end up being more of an escape from the bullshit,” he said. “If we start going in those directions, it’s hard to keep the emotions in check. Instead, we make fun of animals and stars.” No, he’s not joking. The group’s most recent venture involved collaborations with organizations like the Kalamazoo Air Zoo and the Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, tackling such weighty subjects as physics and astronomy. Sytsma and his wife, Tara, the education director for Crawlspace, both graduated with degrees in the sci-
ences. Tara received a biology degree and Dann’s background is biomedical sciences and chemistry. He put that knowledge to work at a lab in Portage where he worked as a chemist for 14 years. “I think that’s what drew us together as people,” Sytsma said. Now, they are putting that scientific knowledge to use in their improv shows. Sytsma said Kalamazoo is an academic town and it’s fun to appeal to that. Crawlspace was founded in 2003 after the Sytsmas and several other actors from a production of Tony and Tina’s Wedding at the Civic Theatre decided they were having too much fun to stop. The now-defunct Whole Art Theatre in downtown Kalamazoo helped the original 10-person ensemble to develop as a team, which later separated into four teams when Crawlspace Eviction Productions formed. When Whole Art folded, some of the teams disbanded because of the lack of performance venues. The Sytsma team was able to find space at Farmer’s Alley Theatre and now performs most of its shows at the Epic Theatre. “We all have diverse curiosities. We’re just very curious people,” Sytsma said of the current Crawlspace ensemble. “With our public events we’re inviting people into our space and minds. It’s that collective mindset and the weirdness of our minds.” While the group’s delivery may make people laugh, Sytsma said improv really isn’t about humor — he said it’s more about being in the moment and really listening to what someone is saying so that you can be more empathetic. Anyone who has attended an improv show knows that you really have to pay attention or you’ll miss something, because the dialogue and interaction on stage is so fast-paced and spontaneous. “So much is being discovered along with the audience and that’s a very different art form,” Sytsma said. “We’re
discovering at the same time as the audience. Watching sports is like that too — we don’t know what’s going to happen and neither do they.” The growing popularity of improv entertainment in the community prompted the couple to begin offering four different levels of improv classes last year, which Tara manages. So far about 60 people have taken the classes she oversees, which are held once a week in six-week sessions at the Park Trades Centre. “A lot of people come in thinking that they need to be really funny or to have their friends and family think that they’re funny,” Tara Sytsma said. “When they let go of that, that’s when they have a really good time. It’s not scripted. It’s breaking down the anxiety of getting in front of each other.” A typical class begins with a fun theater exercise, which encourages participants to let go and relax. Then they move into skills they can learn through improv, while being encouraging and supportive of one another as they try out those techniques with the group. In addition to these classes, the couple also puts on corporate training events for clients like Stryker and Newell-Rubbermaid. “If you’re at all mindful about the way you interact with people and want to be a better friend or co-worker and you really think about how you deal with people, that’s what improv is for,” Dann Sytsma said. “Very few people don’t want to be better at one of those things. “Improv is not about responding to what’s being said or jumping in and hijacking a conversation because you want to be the focus. It’s about actively listening.” ■
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Ebony Road Players promotes social justice through theater arts by Kayla Tucker
Four years ago, when Edye Evans Hyde started the Ebony Road Players, she didn’t know it would turn into a catalyst for social justice. The Ebony Road Players, described by Hyde as West Michigan’s black theater company, was founded in 2013. “There (was) kind of a deficit in the theater world here in Grand Rapids dealing with diversity, like there’s no black theater,” Hyde said. “There had been one called Robeson Players, named after Paul Robeson … back in the ’80s and ’90s.” Ebony Road initially focused on highlighting black playwrights and encouraging more black actors and stage managers. But then the group’s mission became bigger. “We still had that component, which is very important, but it grew into social justice, where we try to do theater for people who don’t get a lot of representation in theater arts,” Hyde said. Hyde said that not only is the arts important for the black community, but for the entire community in general. “It’s an expression. It’s telling their sto-
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ries and having a stake in history,” Hyde said. “The arts in general is brushed off as something that is not really needed when, in actuality, brain-wise you can become more creative, solve problems and work in teams.” Beyond the life skills one can gain through theater, Hyde also said theater is a smoother way to approach a discussion on social issues. “It’s so much easier to digest an issue when you’re watching it onstage, rather than someone preaching it at you,” Hyde said. “When you go to a theater production, you’re watching it as a spectator.” At many shows, Ebony Road will host “talkbacks,” conversations between the actors, directors and the audience on the important topics and underlying themes presented in the show. “There’s a reality that you’re seeing, but you’re on the other side of it,” Hyde said. “And eventually it’s easier to digest … look at it, think about it and then react.”
Ebony Road Players founder Edye Evans Hyde Annually, Ebony Road Players hosts a “Loving Day” event to celebrate the 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court case that struck down laws criminalizing interracial marriage. The day is celebrated around the country. This year’s block party event is slated for June 9-11 in Grand Rapids. “It’s an annual event celebrating diverse families, individuals that are considered biracial or multiracial, people in interracial marriages and cross-cultural adoptions,” Hyde said. “All of those family units come together and celebrate identity.” The modest Ebony Road office is located on the corner of Kalamazoo Avenue and Hall Street. The group has a five-member board, with Hyde at the forefront as the founder of the acting troupe.
photo by kayla tucker
The Ebony Road Players’ next events are the Loving Day community celebration June 9-11 and a performance of Detroit 67 in October. Ebony Road also offers a community spring and summer break program where kids write a play in one week and present the final product to their parents at the end. For adults, Ebony Road offers six-week programs focusing on acting, musical performance and other aspects of theater. The troupe also has been teaching elementary students at Coit Creative Arts Academy for three years now. “They give us an hour or two during the school time and we go in and teach playwriting or how to find your character,” Hyde said. “It’s pretty fun to watch them go through that process.” ■
OPERA | CLASSIC | COMEDY | ITALIAN
This month features a show about some badass women you’ve probably never heard of, a few musicals (including The Wiz, which has amazing music), and one play that’s about every millennials’ nightmare: getting unfriended on social media. Check out the rest below and get thee to a theater! by Dana Casadei Composed by Gioachino Rossini Actors’ Theatre 160 Fountain St. NE, Grand Rapids actorstheatregrandrapids.org, (616) 234-3946
Disgraced April 13-22, 8 p.m., $10-$28 See story on page 14.
Bare Backstage Productions barebackstage.com, (269) 929-6781
Good Enough April 20-29 Inspired by the John Thomas novel Kalamazoo Gals, Cara Beth Heath’s Good Enough follows a group of women that made a very unique contribution to WWII: building Gibson guitars. Heath’s play takes a deeper look into their lives during a time when tensions were high and they were left wondering if history would remember them. Never heard of these women before? Gibson Guitar Factory originally told the world that the company had ceased making guitars during WWII, and only had “seasoned craftsmen” too old for battle doing repairs and completing the few instruments already in progress. This was believed up until the ’90s. Insert feminist rant here.
Farmers Alley Theatre 221 Farmers Alley, Kalamazoo farmersalleytheatre.com, (269) 343-2727
Unfriended April 7-8, 8 p.m., $25 The world premiere of the musical Unfriended takes a look at two couples: Jen and David, who for the most part keep their relationship and lives off social media, and their friends Keith and Kelly, who do the exact opposite,
trying to get all those likes and retweets. As a joke, David decides to unfriend Keith, which sets off a series of chain reactions that make them all look at their own relationships and friendships in the digital age.
The Andrews Brothers April 21-May 7, times vary, $30+ This jukebox musical combines more than 25 songs by the infamous Andrews Sisters and the plot of Some Like It Hot (Two male musicians witness a mob hit, then join an all-female band dressed as women). The Andrews Sisters are supposed to perform a big show for the military, but something comes up. So instead of disappointing the troops by canceling the concert, three stagehands decide that the show must go on. Cue three dudes dressing up like the Andrews Sisters.
THE BARBER OF SEVILLE MAY 12 & 13 | 7:30 PM DEVOS PERFORMANCE HALL TICKETS start at $25 | Students $5 616.451.2741 | ticketmaster.com
Opera Carolina | Mitchell Kearney Photography
Grand Rapids Civic Theatre 30 N. Division Ave., Grand Rapids grct.org, (616) 222-6650
Fancy Nancy April 21-30, times vary, $10-$16 Fancy Nancy The Musical brings the extremely popular children’s book series to life. Nancy — who believes that more is always better when it comes to being fancy — auditions for the school play, hoping to get cast as the mermaid. But then *gasp* she’s cast as a tree. Will she rally and make this play a huge success or quit the show altogether? This is the family-friendly musical’s West Michigan regional premiere.
Kalamazoo’s Civic Theatre 329 S. Park St., Kalamazoo kazoocivic.com, (269) 343-1313
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark April 7-23, times vary, $25 Viewers will follow Vera Stark on a 70-year journey as she goes from maid to off-Broadway star and everything that comes up in
Continued on page 19 >
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Urbane Q&A: Michelle Theater Manager, GRCC’s Spectrum Theatre by Kayla Tucker
The Spectrum Theater, located on Fountain Street in Grand Rapids Community College’s campus, houses four theater troupes and is always bustling with activity. Managing all that activity is Michelle Urbane, theater manager. On top of managing the box office, Urbane directs and performs in shows and can always be seen running from one place to the next, always with a big smile on her face. Urbane started at the theater in 1997 as office manager and then later moved on to theater manager, where she oversees the box office and manages the student troupe’s shows, among many other duties. Revue talked with Urbane about her experience in the position, how she got there and what role theater plays in her life. How did you get into directing? Fred Sebulske, he’s the founding father of Actors’ Theatre and was also the head of the theater program at the time. … He first came to me after I had been in a couple of productions with him onstage and I had stage managed for him. He asked if I wanted to direct a locally-written piece called Why Don’t I Fit In This High Chair Anymore?
What did you say? I said, 'No, I can’t. I don’t know, I can’t manage all that. I’m not ready to see the big picture — I’m only ready to hone in on one character, not help develop the whole cast.' And he said, 'Well, just think about it.' … And so I did it.
the people I work with. Not only do I get to work with great people in the theater that also are staff at GRCC but I get to serve on a couple of teams at the college. … Sitting on the diversity team has been so special to me, because I’ve gotten the chance to meet really great people.
What do you like most about everything you do in this building? What I love most is the collaboration and
You’ve said that skills learned through theater can be applied to daily life. Why is theater an important skill? Connections. I think this is really important with where we’re headed as a society, because we’re inundated with social media and everything’s at our fingertips and that sense of belonging can sometimes take a back seat. We might get that false sense through our Facebook posts. And I know the college as a whole is really focusing on: How do we make sure every student has that sense of belonging?
“EYE-OPENING, LIFE-AFFIRMING AND UNMISSABLE.”
PHOTO OF LUKE TREADAWAY BY HUGO GLENDINNING
APRIL 11-16 | MSU’s Wharton Center | ON SALE NOW! WHARTONCENTER.COM
East Lansing engagement is welcomed by The Christman Company.
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What is important to remember about actors, now that you’re a director? Remembering that stress. When you’re a director, you’re working with the overall story, the overall arc of the play. And you absolutely help the arc of each of the characters and guide them. It’s a totally different stress from coming up with your physical characteristics. How so? Those nerves as an actor, before those lights go up, when you have to go out for different scenes, is really something. Everything you feel — that adrenaline, my heart races, I feel a little flushed — as a director, it’s so important to remember those feelings. Sometimes in a rehearsal, if the actors are feeling nervous. there might be a block that goes up so they don’t really remember their lines and they might not be able to connect with the emotions at that point. Tell me about your side business. What is it and what’s your mission?
It’s called One World Diversity and it’s using theater and open, honest discussions and sharing personal stories that have affected your life. We write and produce our own scenes and then we debrief those scenes. Can you give an example? We have one scene where Sammy and I are in the same room talking and we’re interviewing for the same job and it’s a management job, and he’s saying, ‘You’re going to go for this manager job? You don’t strike me as a manager.’ He starts being sexist, sometimes overtly, but there are a couple things that he says and does where we see these micro-aggressions come out. Where do the discussions come in? We do this scene and then we ask the audience what was wrong there. How could she have led this conversation in a more positive way? Could she have maybe gotten him to change his beliefs? And we’ll touch on sexism, heterosexism, racism, and then talk to the audience about: How did that make you feel? Can you share any of your stories? How did the idea for this business come about? We had been working with another company doing diversity training as actors. We really loved it so much and knew how important it was, and then thought, ‘We can build this and do some other programming.’ When we talked to the director of that company, we said, ‘We would love to do this, we want your blessing because technically we would be in competition.’ But, fortunately for a business idea and unfortunately for our community, this work is bigger than us. So there’s enough to go around. Ideally, we would love to work ourselves out of that business. ■
Original music and lyrics by
Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman
Theater Preview, continued from page 17 between, including the complicated relationship she has with her boss, a former Hollywood starlet. Taking a look at the racial stereotypes in Hollywood, this Lynn Nottage play draws on 1930s screwball films.
The Dining Room April 21-30, times vary, $10 Told in a series of overlapping vignettes, The Dining Room introduces a new set of people and events in each scene. While the scenes range from touching to funny, they all have one thing in common: the same dining room table, where families gather for decades. That’s some incredible craftsmanship right there.
takes a look at the staff of Quail Valley Country Club over just one weekend. The club’s president is this guy named Bingham, who made a pretty big wager with his rival club owner over a weekend golf tournament. Then, of course, the guy that was supposed to be Bingham’s ringer leaves to join the rival team. Cue the big freakout. That’s when the real fun begins, with cases of mistaken identity, romance and general shenanigans.
Julian Fellowes New songs and additional music and lyrics by
George Stiles and Anthony Drewe Co-Created by
Cameron Mackintosh Flying effects provided by ZFX, Inc.
WMU Theatre 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo wmich.edu/theatre, (269) 387-3227
Mary Poppins is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International, New York.
The Wiz New Vic Theatre 134 E. Vine St., Kalamazoo thenewvictheatre.org, (269) 381-3328
The Fox on the Fairway Through April 15, 8 p.m., $25+ Ken Ludwig’s farce (think slapstick comedy)
April 7-22, times vary, $20 This musical retelling of The Wizard of Oz follows Dorothy yet again as she makes her way to Oz and the adventures that await her there. The Wiz, which features an all-black cast, combines the yellow brick road with Motown. Reminder: The music is SO, SO GOOD in this. Sorry, but it totally deserves all caps — you’ll see.
May 4–7 2017 Frauenthal Theater
Robert D. & C. Corcoran Tuttle Fund of the Community Foundation for Muskegon County John K. Tuttle Fund of Fidelity Trust
w w w. m u s k e g o n c i v i c t h e a t r e . o r g
Music and lyrics by
Wil iam F. Brown
APRIL 7-22 There’s a party in Oz, and you’re invited! Motown meets the yellow brick road in this Tony Award-winning favorite! For tickets call: 269-387-6222 www.wmutheatre.com REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
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Live Music & Event Venue 116 S. Jackson Street Spring Lake, MI 49456 www.sevenstepsup.com
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Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Do Brunch
Eggs, pancakes and bloodies galore by Kelly Brown
The Food Issue
runch is no longer just a late breakfast for lazy folk. No — this weekend tradition is a sacred event dedicated to early morning drinking and specialty menus, far superior to your standard breakfast offerings. Nothing will get you rushing out of bed and to your car faster than that text from a friend asking if you want to meet for brunch and Bloody Marys. It’s a celebration of sorts, one that was all but nonexistent in West Michigan until recently. For mornings that leave you thinking, “What happened last night?” grab some buds and head to somewhere with platefuls of eggs, pounds of bacon and piles of potatoes arranged in ways you never imagined.
SpeakEZ Lounge 600 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids Every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can get your brunch on at one of the best bars in the Monroe North District. Swing by after a post-night out sweat sesh at CKO Kickboxing or Beer City Barre and grab yourself a seat in one of the massive wood booths inside this old warehouse building. Our bets are on the SEZ CBH (by Prangley). It’s a handmixed hash of house-smoked pastrami, Yukon golds, onion and panko bread crumbs piled high on toasted ciabatta and garlic, wilted spinach, O’Bryan potatoes and two poached eggs, and most importantly, topped with creamy jalapeno cheddar sauce and hollandaise. It might as well be dubbed “The Rejuvenator.” Cap off your meal with a Suffering Bastard. Complete with Bluecoat Gin, orange, lime, cucumber, mint, Angostura bitters, egg white and soda, this light, frothy drink is the ultimate Bloody Mary-alternative.
Field and Fire bread. We also highly recommend the Shrimp and Grits, with Laughing Bird shrimp, southern braised greens, smoky tomato-pepper butter and an optional slow egg. Also, a recent collaboration with Long Road Distillery has lead to some creative liquid brunch concoctions.
Stella’s Lounge 53 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids Ask anyone in Grand Rapids where you should go for the best “creatively greasy” breakfast and they’ll point you toward Stella’s. This non-traditional brunch spot by weekend, go-to
burger joint by day, is decked out with vintage arcade games and TVs playing retro reruns. Come Saturday and Sunday morning, you’ll find locals stuffed into the booths mowing down platters of The Dude’s Pancakes with chocolate chips, vanilla wafers, house-made whipped cream and Old Grand-Dad maple syrup. Or, get a taste of the nationally praised, GQreviewed burger with the Biscuits and Groovy Burger. Complete with three biscuits, Gov’t Cheese burger, bacon-sausage gravy and a scallion garnish.
The Southerner 880 Holland St., Saugatuck As its name suggests, The Southerner brings soul food to West Michigan. Stop into brunch for some Grits & Greens, stewed in tomato pot liquor with garlic and miso, or a fried Chicken & Honey Butter Biscuit sandwich (which one Revue staff member refers to as “a miracle”). Sides include baked beans, cabbage slaw, and other southern staples. The Southerner also features breakfast cocktails like the Maple Old Fashioned.
Crows Nest 816 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo There may be no “adult” beverages at the Crow’s Nest, but it’s celebration-worthy regardless. Our pick for vegans and vegetarians, this locally owned upscale diner features full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus all day long. At any given time, you’ll find townies and college kids packed around tables enjoying big, flavorful breakfast burritos, omelettes, burgers and numerous cups of coffee.
Continued on page 34 >
Vander Mill 505 Ball Ave. NE, Grand Rapids This tucked away brunch spot is the coolest place to hang come Sunday. Vander Mill, known for its delicious selection of crisp, seasonal ciders, is serving up a new brunch menu fit for the local foodie. Try dishes like the jazzy Avocado Toast, with smoked hazelnuts, deviled egg, torn mint, dill, espelette on
< Brunch at Graydon’s Crossing:
Stuffed French Toast, Sweet Potato Hash Scramble and Shirred Eggs. Photo: Jeff Hage/Seth Thompson
Everton Benedict at SpeakEZ Lounge. Courtesy Photo
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Scene Sounds | Sights | Dining | Schedule
1223 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids For a morning trip across the pond, head to Graydon’s brunch on the weekends. A decked-out $4 Bloody Mary bar accompanies unique transatlantic food options, like the Shirred Eggs — three oven-poached eggs with an herbed cream sauce, grilled asparagus, toast and strawberry/jalapeno jam. Or try the Sweet Potato Hash Scramble, with scrambled eggs, chili-spiced sweet potatoes, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, goat cheese, hard cider syrup and scallions. Graydon’s is also well-known for its impressive craft beer selection, pulling in mainstay and specialty brews from all over the country. You have from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays to make it there.
Brunch, continued from page 33
The best hair-of-the-dog in town might be right around the corner. With the expanding food and drink scene in West Michigan, trying to find the best-of-thebest is getting harder to narrow down. Here are our favorite Bloody Mary bars throughout West Michigan — complete with all the fixings you could ever need. Stella’s Lounge (53 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids): Rehab brunch plus video games is an awesome combo. But it’s even better with one of the best build your own Bloody Mary bars in town for only $5, complete with house-infused liquors. The only thing missing from this Bloody bar is a slice of pizza and a side of breadsticks. The Knickerbocker by New Holland Brewing (417 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids): Not so new to town, New Holland’s Knickerbocker is offering its own version of the Bloody experience — a Bloody Mary Flight. It’s three small glasses of three different kinds of Bloody Marys, all with skewers of food to dunk and enjoy, and then a cold pale ale to top it all off. Birch Lodge (732 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids): Bloody Marys are good. But a Bloody Mary with all-you-can-eat free tacos is perfection. Rockwell Republic (45 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids): The best place to go when your party is a mix between Bloody Mary lovers and haters. Brunch is served 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon and features a Bloody Mary bar and $6 happy hour menu from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Schedule Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene
Hops at 84 East (84 E. 8th St., Holland): When summer season rolls around, Hops is your best bet for a pre-beach Bloody Mary (or Mimosa) bar. Pick your own vodka, plus a beer sidecar, and load up on fixings like pickles, cheese, olives and more. Little Lucy’s Cafe (1747 Plainfield Ave. NE, Gra nd R apid s ) : Creston’s breakfast/lunch hotspot offers a killer bloody bar on the weekends, with all the accoutrements you could ever need (bluecheese st uffed olives, bacon, fresh horseradish, etc.) and a sidecar included in the price.
34 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
Farmer’s Breakfast, Flaky Biscuits and Shrimp & Grits at The Southerner. Photo: Walcott Imaging
Little Lucy’s Cafe 1747 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids Creston’s hottest brunch spot is the neighborhood’s first café and eatery. A go-to for healthy, eclectic breakfast, this café and eatery brings an urban feel to the up-and-coming Creston neighborhood. Menu includes breakfast standards like French toast, omelets, scrambles and more.
Lazy Susan 411 Wilson Ave. NW, Walker This family-owned, tucked-away gem is a modern diner with the comforts of tradition. A menu decked out with “Grandma’s kitchen” classics from around the world, the Lazy Susan is the new brunch spot you won’t stop talking about. Instagramworthy dishes include Aebleskivers (Danish Pancakes) with caramelized bananas and rum-brown sugar syrup, along with the Bigos (Polish hunter’s stew) with kielbasa, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, paprika broth and a soft egg.
Grand Rapids Brewing Co. 1 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids If your crew consists of mostly Beer City nerds, then head out to Grand Rapids Brewing Co. on Saturday and Sunday until 3 p.m. Check out the impressive Brewer’s Brunch, a classic with John Ball Brown Ale sausage from Sobie meats, stuffed with cheese and paired with two eggs cooked to order, bacon and a side of Nantucket Baking Co. sourdough toast.
Bell’s Eccentric Café 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo
This small but mighty brunch menu is served every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feed your Mexican craving with chorizo, avocado and black bean brunch tacos. Or get a taste of home with a comfort classic like Biscuits and Gravy.
The Old Goat 2434 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids The Old Goat is serving up breakfast favorites with a twist on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Ze French Toast is a pumpedup classic with lemon curd, boozy cherries and candied walnuts. The Hippy Hash is a house special that features roasted fingerlings, mushrooms, red peppers, butternut squash, poblano, jalapeno, fried eggs, and tomatillo salsa.
Old Dog Tavern 402 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo In the battle of old animals, Old Dog Tavern puts up a real fight. Have you ever had Breakfast Mac and Cheese? What about a Breakfast Pasty? Or maybe the Muff Burger is more your speed, with an eight-ounce patty, a potato cake, an egg and sausage gravy in an english muffin. It’s time to step out of your comfort zone and into Flavortown.
Terra 1429 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids Terra’s brunch is an unsung hero of weekends in Eastown. Give the Bubble & Squeak a shot, if not for its name then for the seasonal vegetables, mashed potatoes, kale, brown butter bearnaise, and cage-free eggs. If you’re really ambitious, go in on the Breakfast Pizza, with bacon, kale, potatoes, eggs, mozzarella, hollandaise and red sauce. n
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
The Food Issue
Now Open & Coming Soon New Restaurant and Brewery Report By Troy Reimink
Schedule Dining Sights | Sounds | Scene
There is anxiety in Restaurant Industry Thinkpiece Land about a looming food bubble. This is the concern now trickling outward from the big cities, where some dining scenes have grown so large, so fast that there are neither enough customers nor enough qualified workers to sustain them. But if it’s true that it takes longer for big-city trends to find footing in Grand Rapids, then we’re assured at least a few more peak years for West Michigan’s somehow-still-expanding restaurant landscape before a course correction. So eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow… well, you know the rest. We’ll help! Almost a year ago, we ran a list of some of the area’s most exciting new and soon-to-open restaurants, and the Food Issue is a good time to check back in. (You might notice a few “coming-soons” from last year are still coming soon. Stuff happens.) Here’s where you’ll be emptying your trust fund for the rest of 2017. The details herein are subject to change, because obviously.
18th Amendment Spirits Co. — It is hard to think of a new distillery named for the 1920s constitutional act banning the sale of alcohol without remembering the Simpsons episode “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment.” Springfield briefly revives the law, only to be joyously “reunited with Lady Liquor.” Accordingly, the Muskegon establishment will open in midApril in a speakeasy-inspired format. Also: whistle punk. (Yes, that’s how it’s stylized) is making a triumphant return in the distillery, with its big ol’ wood-fired pizza oven and everything. (350 W. Western Ave., Muskegon; 18thamendmentspirits.com)
Just opened: One Bourbon PHOTO: Jeff Hage
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7 Monks Taproom — Joining the influx of established out-of-town pub/restaurant brands seeking a piece of Grand Rapids’ gold rush is the widely-acclaimed Traverse City beer bar. The new Grand Rapids taproom will inhabit
the ground floor of the 616 Lofts mixed-use development at Michigan Street and Eastern Avenue NE. The restaurant will offer gastropub fare, along with 57 taps, some of which are sure to pour ales honoring the European tradition of Trappist monk-brewed beer. The grand opening is planned for April 21. (740 Michigan St. NE; 7monkstap.com/grand-rapids) Allusion Brewing Co. — The twin passions of brewing and nerd culture are driving friends Zachariah Mann and Christopher Crothers toward the opening of their Holland brewery, still in the “eventually” column. (allusionbrewing. com) Ando Asian Kitchen — The “Asian comfort food” concept by Robert Song — whose Maru Sushi & Grill is a Cherry Hill favorite — will join the ground-floor retail tenants in Rockford
Construction’s mixed-use development on Grand Rapids’ West Side. Originally planned for a September 2016 opening, the restaurant now is expected to launch in early May. (405 Turner Ave. NW; facebook.com/andoasiankitchen) Brass Ring Brewing — Breweries are so widespread in Grand Rapids that they’re basically the new neighborhood ice cream shops. That’s quite literal in this case, as the Brass Ring small-batch brewery will open in late summer or early fall in the space that formerly housed the Dog King, an ice cream and hot dog shop in Alger Heights. (2404 Eastern Ave. SE; facebook.com/brassringbrewing) Brewery 4 Two 4 — The long-delayed Holland brewer y inches closer toward realization, opening soon with a diverse offering of beers honed by longtime home-brew enthusiast Dave Miller, including the timely Crazy Putin. (321 Douglas Ave., Holland; brewery4two4.com) Butcher’s Union — Open for just two months, Butcher’s is already packed wall-to-wall every night. Apparently the West Side really loves meat and whiskey, the new restaurant’s specialties. Then again, Butcher’s also has top-notch, well-balanced cocktails (averaging $8) and options for the herbivores. Offerings aside, Butcher’s classic atmosphere and historic building play a big part in its success, giving the feeling of a far-off place in a bygone era. (438 Bridge St. NW, Grand Rapids; butchersuniongr.com) Citizen — Joining the Creston neighborhood’s growing dining and drinking corridor is a “global-style” restaurant on the former site
of the Grand Rapids Karate Academy. (2115 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids) City Built Brewing Company — The eagerlyawaited riverside brewery remains… eagerly awaited. City Built has offered previews of its food (Puerto Rican) and its tap list (idiosyncratic). All that remains is the official opening of its riverside taproom — we’re told “spring 2017,” as in, any day now — in the booming North Monroe business district. (820 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 155; citybuiltbrewing.com) Craft Beer Cellar — While Craft Beer Cellar is a franchise, with multiple locations on the east coast, the newly opened Grand Rapids store feels local. That’s because it’s independentlyowned, and the first craft beer bottle shop in the city’s downtown area, with shelves full of West Michigan brews. But more than a store, it’s also a taproom, serving on draft many of the very beers that are available to take home. Local breweries are already setting up events with the shop, such as free tastings. Also check out Game Night on Mondays from 5-9 p.m. for a $1-off pour. (404 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, grandrapids.craftbeercellar.com) East West Brewing Co. — Eastown’s newest brewery has been open since the end of last year, but word is still getting around. East West is the result of a longtime interest in craft brewing for Balwinder Bal, owner of the neighborhood fixture Bombay Cuisine, with which it shares a building. (1400 Lake Dr. SE; eastwestbrewingcompany.com) Green Well Gastropub in Rockford — The romantic ambience of the former Reds on the River location in downtown Rockford provided an excellent spot to mark an anniversary — or
Coming in mid-April:18th Amendment Spirits Co. and whistle.punk., Muskegon
throw a Hail Mary to compensate for shortcomings (but enough about me). It’s gone now though, and Green Well Gastropub — a favorite in the Cherry Hill district in Grand Rapids for nearly a decade — is set to open a second location in the vacant former site sometime early this summer. (8 East Bridge St., Rockford; thegreenwell.com/rockford) Happy Cat Cafe — It’s been more than a year since Happy Cat Cafe began plans to open in Grand Rapids. The cafe is exactly what it
sounds like: a coffee shop with cats, who all happen to be up for adoption. The goal is to help socialize the cats before they go off to a loving home, but we’re pretty sure the human customers get a little something out of it too. The cafe should be open this month. (447 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids; happycatgr.com)
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales — This is a bit further down the road, but the Dexter-based Northern United Brewing Company — known for its Jolly Pumpkin, North Peak and Grizzly Peak breweries — is joining the club on Bridge Street, already home to second locations for New Holland Brewing Co. and Harmony Brewing Co. The hope is that construction on the site — the former Red Lion restaurant and an adjacent parking lot — will begin this spring and may include a restaurant and beer garden.
Now open: Matchbox Diner & Drinks in Eastown and Craft Beer Cellar in downtown Grand Rapids. Craft Beer Cellar PHOTO: Steph harding
Continued on page 38 >
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Scene | Sounds | Sights Dining Schedule
Hancock — Still in the development stages, this proposed restaurant from Winchester and Donkey Taqueria owner Paul Lee would take over the corner of Wealthy Street and Fuller Avenue long occupied by Wealthy Street Station, which closed in 2015. Presumably this would be Lee’s long-discussed “no-tipping” restaurant, the first of its kind in the city. (1157 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids)
If crepes aren’t love, I don’t know what is.
New Restaurants, continued from page 37
7 Monks Taproom: Opening this month on Michigan Street.
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1436 Wealthy St. SE (Eastown in the "Windmill" building) BrownButterCrepes.com
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(449 Bridge St., Grand Rapids; jollypumpkin. com) Matchbox Diner & Drinks — Finding a decent Bloody Mary on a weekend in Grand Rapids used to be an Odyssean undertaking. But since we’re in the middle of a brunch renaissance (brunaissance?), the Sunday Funday crowd now is presented with an ample selection. In a few short months at the former Brandywine location in the now intensely-competitive Eastown neighborhood, Matchbox Diner & Drinks has asserted itself with a throwback menu of diner-style breakfasts, deli lunches and meaty entrees. (1345 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids; matchboxdiner.com) One Bourbon — Don’t let the name mislead you: The new West Side whiskey bar in the former site of Louie’s Bar and Rocket Lounge will feature far more than one bourbon. Expect more than a hundred bourbons and whiskeys, plus regional wines, craft beers and a menu embracing the farm-to-fork and slow-food movements, in a hip setting full of exposed brick and other faux-industrial accoutrements. (608 Bridge St. NW; onebourbongr.com) Palio — The Medical Mile space formerly occupied by the El Barrio Mexican Grill soon will house an Ann Arbor mainstay’s expansion into Grand Rapids. The new Palio is set to open sometime this spring following a $400,000 renovation. Open in Ann Arbor since 1981, the Italian restaurant is now part of a chain that also operates the Chop House in downtown Grand Rapids. The new Palio location will offer Tuscan-inspired dishes as well as a bar featuring craft beer, cocktails and wines. (545 Michigan St., NE; palioannarbor.com)
Thornapple Brewing Company — “Thornapple” is too good a name for a river to not have a nearby brewery paying tribute. Jeff Coffey and Eric Fouch, veteran beer-makers who met as members of Grand Rapids’ Primetime Brewers Club, plan to open Cascade Township’s first brewpub any day now. Housed in a 28th Street strip mall, Thornapple aspires to community-watering-hole status. (6262 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids; thornapplebrewing.com) Two Guys Brewing — True to its name, Two Guys Brewing is a labor of love for beer-making dudes Tom Payne and Charlie Vanderploeg, who this summer will open a facility near Lamar Park in Wyoming. The taproom will take over a converted 7-Eleven, while the brewhouse is moving into an old fire station. (2356 Porter St. SW, Wyoming; facebook.com/TwoGuysBrewing.Beer) n
More options Now Open: Good Pizza Co. 10 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids Brown Butter Creperie 1436 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids Candied Yam 2305 44th St. SE, Grand Rapids Coming Soon: Georgina’s Fusion Cuisine 724 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids Mazzo Cucina D’Italia 122 Monroe Center NW, Grand Rapids
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Reservations & Information: 616.206.5175 1440 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids | thelocalepicurean.com REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
The Food Issue
PHOTOs: Jeff Hage
Authenticity in Action
La Huasteca transports you to the home kitchens of Mexico
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by Troy Reimink
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“Authentic” is the kind of adjective applied to food so indiscriminately that one forgets what it was supposed to signify in the first place. (See also: “organic,” “natural,” “artisanal.”) But even if the idea of food authenticity hadn’t been mostly marketed into meaninglessness, it’s a slippery concept to begin with.
The word’s prevalence raises some questions: What makes food authentic? And what exactly is a person wooed by the promise of authenticity looking for in a dining experience? It could be a checklist of recipes that verifiably recreates the cuisine of a different place, giving you the magical ability to travel, for the duration of a meal, without leaving your neighborhood. It could be nostalgia for something you’ve never really experienced.
Maybe it’s food that is somehow exempt from the passage of time, immune to the processes of assimilation, migration, colonialism, interpretation and economics that evolve and spread a region’s culinary traditions. La Huasteca, a five-year-old Mexican restaurant on Plainfield Avenue NE in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood, offers some illuminating answers. There are the obvious indicators: White cheese, not yellow. Tacos
are served in soft tortillas and contain little besides meat, onions and cilantro. Said tortillas are handmade. While the menu contains dry and wet burritos — those staples of Americanized Tex-Mex — they’re probably a concession to the market and are near the bottom of the menu. The Coke has real sugar in it. The guacamole is potentially life-altering. Ditto: the tamales. The signature recipes are passed down through generations of a single family. You’re also never more than an arm’s length away from bottles of green and red hot sauce. You may need to look up the names of some meats. There’s limited seating in booths whose upholstery has seen better days. The paint is chipped and the intimate room is bathed in the aroma of slow barbacoa cooking.
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(269) 381-5677 | 402 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo MI 49007 hot skillet continued to add a flavor-enhancing char to the meat throughout the meal. La Huasteca’s kitchen staff has a deft command of Mexican staples geared toward both traditionalists and casual diners, emphasizing the southeastern gulf region of the country for which the restaurant is named. We also happily discovered that a meal here felt less like a typical restaurant experience than a visit to the dining room of an old friend. This, as much as the food, validates La Huasteca’s claims to authenticity. It ranks among the best little Mexican restaurants in a city full of very good ones, and in this capacity is virtually alone in the northeast quadrant of Grand Rapids. (Although we were bummed to discover it wasn’t a BYOB spot, La Huasteca is a couple of doors down from Vinny’s Bar, an exceedingly surreal dive.) The restaurant’s menu pays loving tribute to manager Salvador Oliveros’ greatgrandmother, who developed a recipe for pork tamales — plus a top-secret “chilpan” red sauce — that has endured nearly a century. La Huasteca proudly advertises its authenticity, but it doesn’t need to. It spends every minute of your visit confidently demonstrating what that means. n
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After years of hearing enthusiastic recommendations, I made a recent dinner visit to La Huasteca with a couple of friends. We warmed up with an appetizer of chips and guacamole — a bit pricey at $4.99, but so perfectly accented with cilantro and lime juice that it didn’t feel unreasonable. I ordered from the ample seafood menu, which offers tilapia, mojarra and three shrimp entrees, of which I opted for the Camarones a la Mexicana ($13.99). The dish contains 15 — I confirmed it was exactly 15 — plump shrimp cooked with onion, tomatoes and, to keep you alert, jalapeno peppers. The meal came with sides of beans, rice and salad, plus a stack of corn tortillas, which I chose over flour. (Conventional wisdom suggests corn is the more authentic tortilla type, but it depends on the region of Mexico.) One of my guests, Katy, is vegetarian and selected a “pick-two” combination platter, with one meatless tostada and one meatless gordita, along with rice and bean sides. The other options are tacos, sopes and tamales. She was impressed that the vegetarian options contained actual vegetables, in this case buttery-tasting cactus (nopales), rather than redundantly doubling up on the beans. My other guest, Casey, emphatically not a vegetarian, ordered a platter of alambre, a steak dish cooked with onions and green peppers and served on a skillet with sides of rice, beans and salad. He appreciated that the
La Huasteca 1811 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids Open Mon.–Sat. (616) 447-7733, lahuastecagr.com
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
The Food Issue
Strip Mall Sensations Hidden excellence in pedestrian plazas by Elma Talundzic
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When it comes to dining, strip malls get a bad reputation. The universally drab architecture of strip-mall buildings could make you think they hold no culinary gems. However, we firmly believing in not judging books by their covers, even if that “book” is sandwiched between a martial arts academy and a discount tobacco store — we all know it’s what’s inside that counts. With excellent food from all over the world, here’s a few strip mall sensations that deserve a visit.
Sheshco Mediterranean Grill, Family Dish
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Tokyo Grill & Sushi
Pal’s Indian Cuisine
4478 Breton Rd. SE, Grand Rapids 2915 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids tokyogrillsushi.com, (616) 455-3433 palsindiancuisine.com, (616) 957-2271 Open since 1991, Tokyo Grill & Sushi has been You don’t have to book a ticket and travel across providing the Grand Rapids area with quality the globe for authentic Indian dishes packed and Japanese sushi and cuisine for decades now. bursting with flavor — just drive to the strip-mall The restaurant began with a simple vision: to nirvana that is 28th Street. Pal’s Indian Cuisine offer only the best. Now, with multiple awards has 15 years of experience preparing Indian for serving top-tier Japanese dishes, you favorites like Tandoori chicken, vindaloo can tell Tokyo Grill has more than a and pakoras. The restaurant opened few fans. The restaurant offers a its doors to provide customers range of options on the menu, with a local destination for from udon bowls to gourmet true Indian meals. Not sure sushi and exotic fish. where to sta r t on t he Slip your shoes off menu? Come hungry and and get the full Japanese try a variety of dishes at experience by dining in Pal’s lunch buffet, availthe tatami room, a room able from Monday through w it h ju s t h a rd wo o d Sunday. For just $8.99, you floors, mats and traditional can sample a little bit of Japanese-style tables that everything from the menu. sit low to the ground. There’s also the option of taking a seat El Arriero at the sushi bar, where you can 2948 28th St. SE, Grand Tokyo Grill, get to know the chefs a little Rapids Fish Egg Don better as they prepare your rolls elarrieromexicangrill.com, in front of you. (616) 977-2674 Directly across the road from Pal’s lies El Arriero, featuring fresh and authentic Sheshco Mediterranean Grill Mexican food. This place has all the Mexican 2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids restaurant staples — burritos, tacos, quesadillas sheshcogrill.net, (616) 364-0600 — but taken to another level. House specialties Attached at the hip to Celebration! Cinema North, include a slew of plates featuring ribeye steaks Sheshco Mediterranean Grill has been called “a (such as the steak jalisco, topped with grilled true essence of authentic Middle Eastern cuisine.” shrimp and onions alongside rice, beans and The restaurant offers up a solid menu of delicious guacamole) and a solid variety of seafood dishes. and authentic Lebanese food. Traditional meals Also keep your eyes peeled for ever-changing are largely based on a varied assortment of fresh daily specials, including cheap tequila cocktails. vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and a blend of traditional herbs and spices. Be sure to try the house-made garlic sauce that pairs Jamaican Dave’s beautifully with the fresh, hot pita bread that 530 S. Division Ave., Grand Rapids Shescho makes on the spot. jamaicandavesgrandrapidsmi.com, (616) 458-7875 If you’re looking for some true Caribbean cuiLai Thai sine, stop by Jamaican Dave’s. The restaurant 1621 Leonard St. NE, Grand Rapids moved from one strip mall to another after belaithaikitchen.net, (616) 456-5730 ing ousted last year from its previous location at Over on Leonard, the family-owned Lai Thai 1059 Wealthy St. for a redevelopment project. Kitchen serves up traditional Thai meals at a Regardless, Jamaican Dave’s has carried on very affordable price. The restaurant takes successfully, continuing its legacy that began pride in using fresh, locally grown herbs, in 2001. The space itself is truly Jamaican, vegetables and meats. Head chef Sawalee with rastafarian colors all around, reggae music Thamavechmongkol, better known as “Gi,” has bumping through the speakers, and the smell of worked all over the world and found nothing jerk seasoning filling the air. While the meals are quite as satisfying as cooking meals and seeing fairly straightforward (meat with a few sides), happy faces on the people who come in through the individual ingredients are always expertly the door. Try some of the specialties straight prepared. Try the curried goat, jerk wings or from Thailand like the mango seafood delight, even oxtail.n grilled beef salad and more.
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The Food Issue
You Can Go Home Again Excellent meals plucked from the family tree by Missy Black
Family recipes on the menu bring back the power of food made from love, magic and a little history. Whether it’s your mom, nonna or uncle’s secret sauce, you can rest assured no one slaps their name on a dish unless it has achieved perfection through generational lore.
of hunting. You’d fill the dish with multiple meats to carry it farther,” Grill said. Venison was mixed with ground beef back then, but today’s version at Public utilizes a combination of pork and beef. Mom’s take on presentation called for the meatloaf to be cut into thick slices, then fried in butter for that culinary contrast of crunchy exterior and moist interior. Before the main course, try snacking on another family treasure: Nanna’s Pub Cheese, gifted to all the grandchildren at Christmas. It has horseradish, dry mustard and onion flavors.
Polpette Della Nonna, $16
Pasta A’ la Chef, $14
Amore Trattoria Italiana, 5080 Alpine Ave. NW, Comstock Park Vittoria Bandinelli’s dish features eggplant and ricotta patties topped with tomato sauce, béchamel and portabella mushrooms. It’s also served with potatoes and a fresh vegetable. When Amore owners Jenna and Maurizio Arcidiacono lived with Nonna Bandinelli in Italy, Chef Jenna made a point to learn from her grandma. “I told her, ‘I know you’ve got recipes up your sleeve you can feed me or teach me to make,’” Arcidiacono said. This menu staple is for vegetarians seeking something extraordinary. So, does a family recipe have a lot of pull when it comes to orders? “Of course. You get that warm cuddly feeling when you think about your grandma, so you want to try that recipe,” she said.
Licari’s Sicilian Pizza Kitchen, 2869 Knapp St. NE, Grand Rapids A Licari family secret, this attraction starts with gemelli pasta and is topped with tomato cream sauce, along with peas, carrots and ham. The recipe comes from co-owner Lisa Licari’s mother-in-law, Angela Licari. It reflects Licari’s Sicilian roots that
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have trickled down into the restaurant’s offerings. It’s revered enough to make the menu and is quite labor-intensive. “Back in the day, it was highly requested because it was only made for special occasions — birthdays or holidays,” Licari said. It’s the ultimate comfort food with velvety sauce, sweet notes and salty and smoky flavors.
Grandma Gigi’s Greek Salad, $10
Mom’s Meatloaf, $14
Public, 131 E. Main St., Zeeland When you go through six or seven pans of meatloaf in a week, you know you’ve got a hit on your hands. Recreating nostalgia is a tall order, but owner Lucas Grill was in the kitchen trenches with mom right by his side. “She’s my inspiration for becoming a chef,” Grill said. The meal comes with mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy and has its roots in stretching ingredients. “My mother grew up in a very modest family that did a lot
Amore Trattoria Italiana Chef Jenna Arcidiacono and Nonna
Pasta A’ la Chef at Licari’s Sicilian Pizza Kitchen
Everyday People Cafe, 11 E. Center St., Douglas Each time owner Matt Balmer even considers removing this iconic salad from the menu, he catches heat. Georgia Giannakopulos, affectionately known as grandma Gigi, invented this salad that still captures hearts. The Greek family matriarch served her signature salad at family meals and holidays. It features the typical Greek salad ingredients with a red wine vinaigrette. “She’d make big bowls always with her Greek dressing,” said Balmer. While it’s a simple recipe, it was a big, important part of family life. “She’d overdress the salad, but we loved it that way,” he said. Balmer put it on the menu about 20 years ago to be something familiar but just different enough to be interesting. n
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The Food Issue
Tarta de Limón, Cygnus 27
Banana Nutella Semifreddo, Mangiamo
The Final Course Exquisite desserts from local eateries by Missy Black
send us your events Did you know?
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You can get a free listing on our online event calendar. Just visit our calendar, click “submit event” and enter the details.
46 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
If you’re the kind to flip immediately to a menu’s dessert page, maybe you can help us settle a score: We’re pitting rich, sensual chocolate against nature’s best to see which one makes for the ultimate sweet treat. These are the kinds of delicacies that warrant a visit all on their own, but you can grab some dinner while you’re at it too, we suppose.
S’more Jar, $7 The Old Goat, 2434 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids Where there’s smoke, there’s fire … and a strong craving for s’mores. Cory DeMint, owner and president at The Old Goat, has been toying around with burnt whiskey marshmallow fluff, Mexican chocolate mousse and house-made graham cracker crumbles to create one more way to enjoy s’mores. You receive a fairly large portion served in a jar, along with cookies to help shovel it all in. This is a dish that appeals to almost everyone. According to DeMint, the best desserts are the ones “you can share with your kids, eat with
your hands and have a touch of nostalgia, but still remain civilized.”
Banana Nutella Semifreddo, $7.50 Mangiamo, 1033 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids I’m all in when I read Nutella on a menu, and the trifecta of banana, ladyfingers and hazelnut whipped cream is sort of like a dream team of ingredients for me. For those who don’t know, semifreddo is a partially-frozen dessert, almost like an ice cream pie. Here, the Nutella is mixed into the cream filling and frozen. Then you’ll find the lady fingers at the back of the pie with puff pastry crust at the bottom. It’s been hanging out on the menu for a while now and is one of Mangiamo’s more popular desserts. Assistant Manager Molly Hale recommends pairing it with “the bartender’s Spanish coffee.”
Zabaglione, $9 Nonna’s: The Trattoria, 584 Ada Dr. SE, Ada This dessert reminds owner Ron Cook of a “summer afternoon under a vine-covered terrace in a restaurant in Italy.” That’s a solid testimonial for this romantic and light Italian
dessert made up of whipped egg yolks, sugar and Marsala wine, served atop fresh strawberries with whipped cream. The inspiration is classic Northern Italy, where “dishes are simple with quality ingredients.” Zabaglione typically is served more in the summer months, often as a drink, but Nonna’s plays favorites and serves it year-round. It’s on the menu thanks to the owner and his wife living in Italy for a total of 18 years and wanting to serve an uncommon dish that Americans would appreciate. Bonus: It also happens to be gluten-free.
Tarta de Limón, $9 Cygnus 27, 187 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids This Spanish lemon tart speaks to those who “want that tart bite from the lemon and sweetness from the raspberries,” said Chef Stephan VanHeulen. “It’s a home run.” Thickened lemon custard is shaped into a mold and set atop a short dough crust, surrounded on all sides by toasted meringue, raspberry coulis sauce made with fresh raspberries, and a graham-cracker crumble. There’s even a fleck of 24-carat gold leaf so you feel like royalty. It’s pretty visually extravagant, so foodies should remember to take that picture before you dive in. n
The dessert you’ll want to make the main course.
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Photo: Entrada Photography
The Fast Supper Kalamazoo heats up late night with Food Truck Rally
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reach for the
Sun - Wed: 11AM - 12AM | Th - Sat: 11AM - 2AM
48 | REVUEWM.COM | April 2017
355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49007 269.382.2332
ager to feed the demand for reach out to millennials, college stuafter-hours eats and pop-up dents, second-shift workers and other excitement in Kalamazoo, local downtown denizens. Each event in food trucks last year hosted the city’s the series features a theme, area food first-ever Food Truck Rally. trucks, local artisans, photo booths, Now, the five-event series has live music, contests, giveaways, and just announced another run for 2017 more. The event’s covered location was following the mouthwatering praise it chosen to help improve walkability in earned during last spring and fall. The downtown, while also reimagining the Rally will take place on the first Fridays spot as the perfect place to pop in for in April, May, July and September, along a bite, play games, listen to music and with a special Halloween-themed rally really get into the city. on Oct. 27. All five rallies will take place Currently, organizers estimate beat the same location on Water Street, tween 10 and 14 different food trucks, between Church Street and Rose Street. carts, trailers and other vendors will “What so many people forget is participate in bringing this year’s event some of the best chefs can be found series together. behind the window of a food truck,” “I think it is an amazing celebrasaid Deb Droppers of the Kalamazoo tion of community at a grassroots level,” Experiential Learning Center, who is said Noel Corwin of Gorilla Gourmet. managing the event series. “These Corwin, 40, opened Gorilla Gouramazing entrepreneurs are passionate met in 2010. It was the first food truck about their food, their creations and of its kind in Kalamazoo and he’s since their community. The Food Truck Rally helped establish the food truck commuconnects the chefs and nity in the city, including owners in a really great helping to organize the way to new and current Food Truck Rally. customers. The food truck “To have more than Kalamazoo Food foodies will travel and 1,000 people on t he Truck Rally follow their food trucks, street in a positive and Water Street because the food is just peaceful way is really April 7, May 5, July 7, that good.” inspiring to witness,” he Sept. 1, Oct. 27 Modeled after other said. “It just makes us 9 p.m.-midnight, FREE successful food truck want to cook harder.” eventkalamazoo.com, events in other cities, —Eric Mitts (269) 388-2380 the rally is designed to
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GRAND RAPIDS • GRANDVILLE HOLLAND
Signature ”Gandered” Tots
866.672.6627 • ANNASHOUSEUS.COM
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A N N A’S H
A new restaurant for Southeast Grand Rapids. At Ganders, we’re passionate about Michigan.
VOTED #1 BEST BREAKFAST IN MICHIGAN! GLUTEN FREE • DAIRY FREE • ALL NATURAL MEATS C A G E F R E E E G G S • V E G E TA R I A N • V E G A N
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28th Street SE at Patterson Ave. doubletreegrandrapids.com/ganders
MICHIGAN GROWN MICHIGAN MADE MICHIGAN BREWED Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Restaurant listings arranged by region
marrow. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The Burger (2nd place Best of the West).
Angel’s Thai Café 136 Monroe Center NW. 616-454-9801 THAI. This downtown restaurant makes your order fresh, fast, and hot. You can order your entree with your choice of meat and spice level, or create your own. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Thai Steak and Yum Talay.
Chapbook Café 2660 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids. 616-942-0595. CAFE. Take a break from browsing the shelves at Schuler Books with a homemade selection of soups, sandwiches and quiches. Soups are prepared in-house daily and served with fresh baked bread to accompany a small-but-elegant sandwich menu. Try a quiche or traditional Italian Panini grilled on fresh ciabatta bread, or for a quick bite, grab a bagel or scone from the dessert case. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days GO THERE FOR: Homemade soups and sandwiches
Big O Café 80 Ottawa NW. 616-451-1887 ITALIAN. The downtown (and downstairs) restaurant has a reliable menu featuring pizza, pasta, and sandwiches that are Italian and Cuban influenced. A great spot for lunch or a quick glass of wine and plate of pasta before a downtown event. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Dead Head Vegetarian Pizza, Cuban dinners on Friday nights. Bistro Bella Vita 44 Grandville Ave. SW. 616-222-4600 ITALIAN. One of Grand Rapids’ best dining experiences, featuring Mediterranean-inspired country cuisine, a swanky yet comfortable downtown atmopshere and personable service. BBV’s culinary team creates authentic, housemade recipes made with locally grown produce, fresh seafood and rotisserie roasted meats. Specialty gluten-free menu, and can prepare custom dishes for lactose intolerant, vegetarian, and vegan diets. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Mediterranean Country Cuisine and Martinis.
CitySen Lounge 83 Monroe Center St. NW. 616-608-1720 AMERICAN. CitySen Lounge, located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, is a bar with a big-city feel, offering exciting options for lunch, dinner and breakfast on the weekends. The focus is on fresh ingredients and a full bar with local brews, wine and creative cocktails. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner (Breakfast on weekends). OPEN: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Daily happy hour The Corner Bar 31 N. Main St., Rockford 616-866-9866 AMERICAN. The downtown Rockford tavern serves a solid menu of burgers, burritos, salads and sandwiches, but it is best known for hot dogs — serving almost 1,000 per day. Its hot-dog-eating challenge has been conquered by more than a few, but it raises the question: Why would you want to consume Corner Bar dogs in a hurry rather than savor each bite? » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Hot dogs. The Cottage Bar 18 Lagrave Ave. SE. 616-454-9088 AMERICAN. The Cottage Bar is the oldest operating restaurant and bar in downtown Grand Rapids. Come in for the Cottage Burger, smothered with green olives, bacon, lettuce, tomato, hickory mayonnaise and Swiss and American cheeses. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sundays GO THERE FOR: The Cottage Burger.
Brewery Vivant 925 Cherry St. SE. 616-719-1604 FRENCH/BELGIAN. Housed in a refurbished funeral chapel, this brewery won Best Ambiance in Revue’s Best of the West with its stained glass windows and European beer hall setup. Along with farmhouse style beers, the LEED-certified BV is known for its French-Belgian cuisine, from duck nachos to roasted bone
Erb Thai 950 Wealthy St. SE #1A. (616) 356-2573. Additional locations at 4160 Lake Michigan Dr. NW, Suite B, and 820 Michigan St. NE. THAI. Food rooted in traditional Thai cuisine, but also made to accommodate health conscious and special diets. Not too strong, not too weak, like harmony and melody. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE
FOR: Peanut Curry Noodles. Founders Brewing Company 235 Grandville SW. 616-776-1195 BREWPUB. A beer-lover’s paradise with a national reputation for flavorful, awardwinning beers. Likewise, the brewpub’s menu consists mainly of flavorful handcrafted deli sandwiches that can stand up and complement the beers (or vice versa). » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Award-winning beer, handcrafted sandwiches. Graydon’s Crossing 1223 Plainfield NE. 616-726-8260 TAVERN. An authentic take on the English Pub, with a huge selection of beers on tap and a menu that includes classic English dishes like Fish & Chips, Shepherd’s Pie and Irish Stew, as well as Indian specialties like Tandoori Chicken and Tikka Masala. A great casual atmosphere for drinking and dining. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer and authentic pub food. G.R.P.D. (Grand Rapids Pizza and Delivery) 340 State St. SE. 616-454-9204 ITALIAN. The current location opened in 2004 as the first established pizzeria in Heritage Hill A common meeting spot for local folks, business professionals and college students, a place where one could gather for a quick meal or a reflective lunch. It offers both hand-tossed pizza and Chicago-style stuffed pizza, as well as pasta, sandwiches, salads, and wings. Online ordering, too. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza. Grand Woods Lounge 77 Grandville Ave. SW. 616-451-4300 AMERICAN. The restaurant’s interior exudes a warm, casual ambiance reminiscent of the great eateries of the Pacific Northwest; the outdoor porch features two outdoor bars and a fireplace. Menu stocked with affordable appetizers great for sharing, plus salads, sandwiches, and entrées. Lots of domestics and microbrews, plus an array of martinis including the “Woodstini,” a tasty mix of Stoli Orange Vodka, mandarin oranges and raspberries. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Cocktails. Harmony Brewing Company 1551 Lake Dr. SE (616) 233-0063 BREWPUB. Harmony features 12 craft-brewed beers in addition to signature root beer for the kiddos. Named one of the top-five brewpub menus in West Michigan by yours truly, Harmony offers 10” rustic wood-fired pizzas and great soups and sandwiches. Check
out their new location, Harmony Hall, at 401 Stocking Ave. NW. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza and brews. Marie Catrib’s 1001 Lake Dr. 616-454-4020 ECLECTIC. The East Hills eatery makes everything from scratch with local ingredients, and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Get there early for lunch, as there is almost always a wait. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Salads, soups and sandwiches. One Trick Pony 136 E. Fulton. 616-235-7669 AMERICAN. One Trick Pony unveiled a new menu last April with the tagline “Fresh, Local Fare with a Beat.” The restaurant is a part of FarmLink and supports local growers and remains focused on sustainability. Connected to the Cottage Bar, the menu spans pizza, salads, homemade soups, smoked prime rib and more. Pair the food with live music, which OTP features weekly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Eclectic pizzas. The Pita House 1450 Wealthy SE, 3730 28th Street, 4533 Ivanrest SW (Grandville). 616-454-1171 MEDITERRANEAN. Gyros so big you can club someone with them, the smoothest hummus in town and other Mediterranean fare, including kibbe, kafta and falafel. Additional locations on 28th Street and Kalamazoo SE. Sandwiches are made to order with fresh vegetables and ingredients. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh pita wraps. Reserve Wine & Food 201 Monroe Ave. NW (616) 855-9463 ECLECTIC. With 102 wines available by the glass and more than 300 by the bottle, paired with an ever-changing food menu influenced by West Michigan grown foods, Reserve promises diners a unique experience. Cocktails and craft beers add depth to the primarily wine-centered menu. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN ON: Closed on Sunday GO THERE FOR: Wine and food pairings, charcuterie, happy hour. Rockwell-Republic 45 S. Division Ave. 616-551-3563 ECLECTIC. Menu offerings range from sushi to burgers and everything in between. The craft cocktail menu runs the gamut from classics like the Manhattan to more modern concoctions and the beer and wine menus are nicely curated. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Specialty cocktails, broad menu, lively atmosphere.
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
Scene | Sounds | Sights Dining Schedule
The B.O.B. 20 Monroe Ave. NW. (616) 356-2000 ECLECTIC. If you’re not sure what kind of dining you want, you can just head into The B.O.B., where you can choose from one of its several venues. Go into Gilly’s, where you can dine on seafood or B.O.B.’s Brewery, the restaurant’s in-house brewery. You can dress down for some pizza at Bobarino’s or dress it up for a steak at Judson’s Steakhouse. For after dinner, take in a show at Dr. Grins or enjoy live music at H.O.M.E. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer and numerous dining options.
REVUE’s dining listings are compiled by staff and minions. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of restaurants in the region. For an expanded list, be on the lookout for new and improved dining changes on our website, revuewm.com. The listings are not intended to be reviews of West Michigan restaurants, although we will inject some opinions into the listings based on staff experiences and personal preferences. To submit or to correct information in a dining listing, e-mail editor@ revuewm.com.
San Chez Bistro 38 West Fulton St. 616-774-8272 SPANISH/ECLECTIC. San Chez is both a café and a Tapas Bistro, now both housed in the same room. This is a social setting where people can remember the one rule of kindergarten: sharing. Featuring small, delicious dishes, San Chez can satiate your desire for variety. It’s also a hidden secret for breakfast in downtown Grand Rapids, offering a great start to any day. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 Days. GO THERE FOR: Tapas, Breakfast, Sandwiches
Stella’s Lounge 53 Commerce Ave. 616-356-2700 TAVERN. The Chicagostyle whiskey bar has more than 200 varieties of distilled spirits, old-school video games, and a menu filled with vegetarian and vegan bar food — and stuffed burgers. Did we mention you can sip cans of PBR and other classic beers out of a mason jar? » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Whiskey, vegetarian and vegan bar food.
Wolfgang’s Restaurant 1530 Wealthy St. SE. 616-454-5776 BREAKFAST. The bustling Eastown breakfast spot is home to some of the heartiest breakfast dishes and funniest menu descriptions. Courteous staff never fails to offer a cup of coffee to go after we’ve finished breakfast. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Breakfast all day.
SchulerBooks&Music 34 years as your local, independent bookstore! APRIL 2017
WEDS 04/05 7PM
Girls’ Night Out presents #1 NYT Bestselling Author Emily Giffin! Schuler Books is very pleased to welcome beloved, internationally bestselling author, Emily Giffin, for the paperback release of her #1 New York Times bestselling novel First Comes Love! A pair of sisters find themselves at a crossroads in this dazzling new novel from the author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only. This will be a ticketed event. Visit SchulerBooks.com for details.
Poetry Month Celebration: The Fearsome Foursome, Michigan Women Poets THURS 04/06 7PM
Join us in a celebration of Michigan women poets with the Fearsome Foursome, as they present a reading and book signing. The Fearsome Foursome includes Linda Nemec Foster, the author of nine collections of poetry, and former Grand Rapids Poet Laureate; Hedy Habra, a six-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, and author of two poetry collections; Miriam Pederson, Professor Emeritus of English at Aquinas College and author of the chapbook This Brief Light; and Daneen Wardrop, recipient of an NEA Fellowship and a Poetry Society of America Robert Winner Award, and author of three books of poetry.
Talk and Signing with Acclaimed Author Thrity Umrigar FRI 04/21 7PM
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THURS 04/27 7PM
We are honored to be able to welcome acclaimed, award-winning author Thrity Umrigar to the Schuler Books studio! Thrity Umrigar is the best-selling author of numerous novels, including The Space Between Us, The Weight of Heaven, and The Story Hour. She is also the author of the memoir, First Darling of the Morning. Her books have been translated into several languages and published in over fifteen countries. Her newest title is the gorgeous picture book, When I Carried You In My Belly, illustrated by Ziyue Chen.
Record Store Day! Join us in a celebration of independent record stores as we take part in national Record Store Day! We’ll have special edition vinyl only available through participating Record Store Day stores available when we open at 9am.
Local Author Night Join us for a panel presentation by accomplished authors from the state of Michigan. Featured authors are Valerie Clarke (Two By Two: Courtship by Design); Susan English (The Shadow of Death); Josh MacIvor-Anderson (On Height and Hunger and Rooted); Judith St. King (Incomplete Diary of Good and Evil); and Terri Whitney (Any Rhyme at All).
Independent Bookstore Day Celebration! SAT 04/29
Independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent. Join us in celebration of everything that makes us great with treats and surprises throughout the day, and exclusive Independent Bookstore Day books and literary items that you can only get on that day! Long Live the Indie!
Visit www.SchulerBooks.com for a complete list of events. All events are subject to change. 2660 28th Street SE 616.942.2561
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Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Arcadia Brewing Co. 103 Michigan Ave., Battle Creek. 269-963-9520 BREWPUB. You’ll find some of the usual suspects on the Battle Creek brewpub’s menu, including wood-fired pizzas and some of the best barbecue in the region. But you’ll also find some delightful surprises — Osso Bucco in a brewpub?! — on the menu, courtesy of award-winning Chef Sean Kelly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Handcrafted ales and barbecue. Bell’s Eccentric Cafe 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave. 269-382-2332 BREWPUB. The Eccentric Café features eclectic fare sourced from sustainable local ingredients, inspired by and designed to complement Bell’s award-winning beers. On tap, you’ll find 30-40 different beers, many exclusive to the Café and brewed right next door at the original brewery. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The Beer Central City Taphouse 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall. (269) 492-0100 TAPHOUSE. If Central City doesn’t have the kind of beer you want on tap, you’ll probably find it with the 75+ bottles. OH, you say you’re not a beer drinker? Well, Central City offers 20 wine ‘taps’ and a full bar. If you’re not the drinking type, that’s cool too. There are a number of food options to pick from, including a raw menu, a pizza menu and the all-day menu, which features burgers, soups and entrees. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Diverse beverage selection. Fieldstone Grille 3970 W. Centre St., Portage. 269-321-8480 AMERICAN. Lodge-retreat atmosphere overlooking the Moors Golf Club natural wetlands. The “field-to-plate” menu features burgers, pizzas, steaks and some eclectic items like quail. Try the FSG chips, a combination of potato, beet and sweet potato chips. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Blue Burger, Almond Crusted Walleye, FSG Chips. Food Dance 401 E. Michigan Ave. 269-382-1888 AMERICAN. Food Dance is committed to building a thriving and sustainable local food system, supporting artisans who practice craft food processes. It’s about the connection with people and places the food comes from. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, private dining space, catering and delivery, while an on-site market offers humanely raised meats, artisan cheeses, fresh bread and pastries. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Fresh Local Foods.
Old Dog Tavern 402 East Kalamazoo Ave., Kalamazoo. 269-381-5677 AMERICAN. The food at Old Dog Tavern is just about as eclectic as the entertainment offered. The menu has so much on it that it might even bring some harmony between picky and adventurous eaters. » SERVING: Brunch Lunch Dinner. OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: The eclectic menu options. Olde Peninsula 200 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo 269-343-2739 BREWPUB. Downtown brewpub serves up the expected (e.g., steaks, ribs), the authentic (e.g., London Broil)
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For a list of events visit
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a r 20 th y Da
by Joe Boomgaard, Revue Beer Czar
Michigan-made New England-style IPAs take the market by storm
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or many craft beer drinkers, the Great IBU War of the Early 2010s has started to fade into a distant memory. And not a moment too soon. Drinkers’ tastes in IPAs have started to evolve from the bitter, palate-wrecking hop bombs toward a gentler, juicier flavor. And where they once demanded a “clean” beer, many drinkers have started to embrace — if not seek out — the haziest offerings. You can blame/credit that shift to the cult-like popularity of New England IPAs like Heady Topper from The Alchemist, Sip of Sunshine from Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and King Julius from Tree House Brewing. Not ones to cede a niche market, craft brewers in Michigan have turned their attention to making juicy, hazy IPAs, too. In a nutshell, that means using fewer hops in the boil and instead focusing on really aggressive dry-hopping during and after fermentation to lock in the signature juicy flavor. The choice of hops also typically focuses on the varieties that have “fruitforward” tropical characteristics. In our experience at Revue, the better New England-style IPAs have a certain “softness” to them. They’re not harshly bitter like a traditional IPA because of their “juicy” nature, and most typically feature a creamy or “pillowy” texture — often related to the addition of various calcium salts and oats to thicken the body and create that signature haze. Juicy IPAs can vary in appearance from looking like orange juice or pineapple juice, to more along the lines of a hazy/unfiltered IPA. The style has been gaining in popularity recently, but has really ramped up among Michigan producers since late last year. In the case of Old Nation Brewing Co. in Williamston, east of Lansing, the brewers decided to investigate New England-style IPAs after a bit of a rocky start for the company.
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Co-owner Travis Fritts and head brewer Nate Rykse opened the brewery in 2015 with a mission to move away from IPAs to more traditional style beers. “We had been making so much for so long and we were so bored with it,” Fritts said of IPAs. “We weren’t anti-IPA. We both like to drink them, but it just felt like it was played out.” While the traditional styles won the praise of awards judging panels, they didn’t resonate with consumers — at all. “If you look on Untappd, we got kicked in the teeth for making those beers,” Fritts said. Both Fritts and Rykse, technical brewers by training, were familiar with the New England style, initially passing it off as “lazy beer.” But the more they read into it, the more nuanced they realized it was, especially in terms of the brewing techniques needed to make them, Fritts said. That research set the stage for the sought-after M-43, a 6.8-percent ABV New England IPA, which is made with three different kinds of malt and four different hop varieties. Drinking the beer is a multisensory experience, according to Fritts. “It looks different, it smells different, it drinks different,” he said. “It was just an aligning of the stars. It was the right beer for people to get turned onto. IPA had been fading anyway, not because people didn’t like the flavor of hops, just because they were looking for a beer they didn’t have to deal with. They could just drink it. “I think people are responding to the fact that this is a drinking beer, as opposed to a beer you have to confront.” Revue tasted six examples of New England-style or juicy IPAs, with Old Nation’s M-43 leading the pack along with two beers from Bridgman-based Transient Artisan Ales: Flightless, a double dry-hopped American Pale Ale, and The Juice Is Loose, a double IPA. (Thanks to Brandon Finnie for the hook-up on all three!)
Highly Recommended M-43 New England India Pale Ale
Old Nation Brewing Co., Williamston 6.8% ABV This beer pours hazy AF — like OJ with no pulp added. The aroma and flavors are dominated by juicy citrus, with a smooth body. Perfectly balanced and easy to drink.
Transient Artisan Ales, Bridgman 5.5% ABV Hazy, yellow and juicy, with a load of citrus that lingers well into the slightly dry finish. It’s on the lighter side, but incredibly flavorful and drinkable.
The Juice Is Loose
Transient Artisan Ales, Bridgman 8% ABV Total citrus bomb, and the alcohol comes through with a slight sweetness. This wasn’t quite as hazy as the others (a batch-to-batch variation?), but its flavor was spot-on.
Recommended Dirty Dank Juice
Odd Side Ales, Grand Haven 6.5% ABV
Wheezin’ The Juice
Grand Armory Brewing Co., Grand Haven 6.5% ABV
Cellar Brewing Co., Sparta 8% ABV
Other Michigan Examples We couldn’t get our eager mitts on these beers for this report, but you can try them for your damn self and let us know what you think. • Oatside Lookin’ In, Pike 51 Brewing Co., Hudsonville • Stormy Oat IPA, North Peak Brewing Co., Dexter • Jus, Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids (a New Englandstyle IPA made with Galaxy, Nelson, Mosaic and El Dorado hops launching March 30) • This Guy, Witch’s Hat, South Lyon n
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CANS AVAILABLE MARCH 2017 17 S. 2ND ST GRAND HAVEN, MI 616.414.7822
WWW.GRANDARMORYBREWING.COM REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
and some pleasant surprises (e.g., extensive vegetarian offerings, Italian food). Offers a range of beers brewed on the premises and served on tap, plus a full bar. Check out the seasonal porters on tap right now, including the Vanilla Porter (5.5% ABV) and Stout Chocula (5.25% ABV). » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer-B-Que Ribs, London Broil.
Union Cabaret & Grille 125 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo. 269-384-6756 AMERICAN. A partnership with WMU, Union features eclectic food and cocktails, plus live jazz music performed by WMU faculty and students. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Closed Sunday. GO THERE FOR: Portabella Fries, Bloody Maries with infused vodkas.
Lakeshore CityVu Bistro 61 E 7th Street, Holland. 616-796-2114 AMERICAN. A distinctive rooftop dining experience in downtown Holland with fresh gourmet flatbreads and an array of seasonal entrees. The contemporary-yet-casual atmosphere, full bar and unique menus make it the ideal spot for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. » SERVING: Breakfast Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: flatbreads
Everyday People Cafe 11 Center St., Douglas. 269-857-4240 AMERICAN. REVUE Publisher Brian Edwards calls Everyday People Café his favorite restaurant along the lakeshore. The atmosphere is casual and upbeat, the staff knows its stuff about wine and food, and the seasonal menu is filled with meticulously prepared, eclectic comfort food like Butternut Squash Risotto, Braised Lamb Shank and Ahi Tuna. A great wine list and tremendous desserts. » SERVING: Brunch (Weekends) Lunch Dinner OPEN: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Gorgonzola Pork Chop, Greek Salad with Grandma Gigi’s Dressing (Edwards).
Fricano’s Pizza Tavern 1400 Fulton Ave., Grand Haven. 616-842-8640 ITALIAN. Claims to be the first pizzeria in Michigan, but customers care less about its longevity than the amazingly crispy thin crust and simple ingredients atop its much-lauded pies. Four other locations around West MI, including Comstock Park, Muskegon, Holland and Kalamazoo. » SERVING: Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Pizza. Hops at 84 East 84 East 8th St., Holland. 616-396-8484 TAVERN. A beautiful taproom sporting reclaimed wood and copper. With 60 beer taps, two English beer machines, eight wine taps and an extensive spirits menu, Hops has a special beverage for everyone. The menu includes brick-oven pizza, burgers and sandwiches, chicken wings and a rotating special of
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the day. There are also gluten-free options, including their famous pizza. Several large-screen TVs adorn the restaurant if you’re in the mood to watch the big game. » SERVING: Lunch, Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days GO THERE FOR: Craft beer and brick-oven pizza. Kirby House 2 Washington, Grand Haven. 616-846-3299 AMERICAN. Formerly a historic hotel, The Kirby House retains its oldworld charm while providing all the pleasantries of new world fare, with a diverse but primarily American-influenced menu. Check out the new island bar with 5 HDTVs and walk to Lake Michigan right after. The Kirby House also hosts The Grill Room and a pizzeria (complete with pool tables) called K2. The lower level has also been renovated to include a wine cellar and a premier nightclub, Dark. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Nightlife. New Holland Brewing Company 66 E. 8th St., Holland. 616-355-6422 BREWPUB. One of West MI’s premier microbreweries serves up better than average pub grub, including savory sandwiches chock full of Michigan ingredients, plus a seasonal entree menu. Also try their artisan spirits. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Mad Hatter IPA, Dragon’s Milk.
Saugatuck is one of those unassuming spots you might easily overlook, though locals in Saugatuck will tell you about their love affair with Phil’s. Eclectic menu is all over the place, but in a good way, and the staff is super-friendly. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: Open 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Portabella Mushroom Fries. Salt of the Earth 114 East Main St., Fennville. 269-561-7258 AMERICAN. Salt of the Earth is a farm-to-table-inspired restaurant, bar, and bakery located in the heart of SW Michigan farm country in Fennville. Focuses on fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients whenever possible. Also serves up live music on weekends. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: House made rustic cuisine. Saugatuck Brewing Company 2948 Blue Star Highway. 269-857-7222 BREWPUB. Enjoy a traditional Irish-style pub that features quality beer, wine, food and service. Try one of 12 unique brews that are served in the pub and bottled and distributed throughout the Midwest. » SERVING: Lunch Dinner OPEN ON: 7 days. GO THERE FOR: Beer in a family friendly pub environment.
To submit or to correct information in a dining listing, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phil’s Bar & Grille 215 Butler St., Saugatuck. 269-857-1555 AMERICAN. This cozy (some would say “small”) bar and grille in downtown
SPRING FUND DRIVE! APRIL 21 - APRIL 28
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CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF SERVING CRAFT BEER, CREATIVE COCKTAILS AND ECLECTIC COMFORT FOOD IN A CASUAL ATMOSPHERE.
CELEBRATE 30YRS OF COMMUNITY RADIO! POWERING WEST MICHIGAN SINCE 1987! 600 Monroe Avenue NW | Grand Rapids, Michigan | Phone 616.458.3125
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HOURS MONDAY-SATURDAY 11:30 AM - 2:30 AM SUNDAY 7 PM - 2:30 AM
SHOWGIRLS 3525 MALL DRIVE SE GRAND RAPIDS | 616.940.0100
RIGHT BRAINâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S NATURALLY FLAVORED ANSWER TO UNATURALLY FLAVORED SHANDY BEERS.
REVUEWM.COM | April 2017 |
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Blue Magic is an easy drinking ale brewed with organic lavender from Light of Day Organics. Prepare for an intriguing floral aroma and light body, followed by a strong lavender finish.
Last Call by Nick Macksood / photo by Katy Batdorff
Butcherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Union, Grand Rapids For being a rather unfussy cocktail to make, the PT1 has plenty of complexity at a closer look. The fennel and mint notes of the Strega liqueur (whose yellow color comes from its saffron) mingle well with the artichoke-based Cynar liqueur and the smoky sweetness of the Monte Alban Mezcal, leaving a tremendously balanced cocktail to help carry us out of another Michigan winter and into April, a.k.a. Winter Lite.
1 1/2 oz Monte Alban Mezcal (smoky agave) 3/4 oz Liquore Strega 3/4 oz Cynar (artichoke based amoro) Cedar chips, for smoke
Ignite cedar chips and place snifter over the smoldering wood to catch the smoke. In an iced strainer, stir the Monte Alban, Strega and Cynar, then strain into smoked snifter. Check out revuewm.com for an exclusive video tutorial on how to make the PT1 with Butcherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Union Bar Manager Nick Hindley.
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west michiganâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greatest patio
grooves April 7th
TRIXY TANG April 14TH
AVON BOMB April 21
COLLEGE CAMPFIRE THURSDAYS 8pM-close
all good in the woods Monday-Friday 2-6pM 2-6pM Monday-Friday
$3 Select Drafts $3 Well Drinks
funkle jesse saturday
DJ DANIMAL // 5 WOODSTINIS $ 5 MOSCATO
$4 Woodstinis $5 Grub Menu
5 Loaded Bloody Marys $ Ladi es 3 Select Drafts $ Night 5 Munchies $
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