Drinks with Pat: Man about town

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Pickleball! If you don’t know what it is, go look it up and try it out.

I was chatting with George Aquino, vice president at AHC+Hospitality, this week for a feature on pickleball later this summer. But while I had him, I wanted to check in with him and what he’s digging in the Grand Rapids hospitality scene.

Here’s his answer:

Right now, the hottest restaurant is MDRD; the waitlist is two months on the weekends. It’s such a beautiful place, designed by Gensler — one of the largest architectural places in the world. A really cool terraced dining room, and we have a balcony on the 27th floor. Imagine what that’s like with the fireworks. That’s been the hottest restaurant right now.

I still go to the Downtown Market. Ruth’s Chris continues to be very busy. I love Grove. It reopened, and that’s been good too. I still go to all the dives.

K-ROK is another one that’s been doing really well. Then we opened a duckpin bowling alley and taco joint. It’s nice and simple. Duckpin, anyone can play it, but it’s a tough game.

We’re excited. Despite COVID and all the changes and challenges that came with it, it’s so good to see the community still growing and the projects still happening.

New Holland’s new whiskey

Earlier this week I went to the release party of New Holland Spirits’ Origin Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey. It’s yet another addition to the rapidly expanding Dragon’s Milk portfolio — one that started with a simple bourbon barrel-aged stout many years ago.

Grand Rapids has several great distilleries, and it’s great to see them all continue to grow and evolve their products as they mature. A young craft distillery can’t do something like a year-round bourbon with a five-year age statement. So, to see New Holland get to the point it can, that’s refreshing. It helps that it was a pretty tasty bourbon, too.

The evolution of a distillery’s products is exactly why we should support local distilleries.

What else I’ve been sipping on

On Sunday, that beautiful spring afternoon before this week’s bizarre West Michigan spring weather set in, I sat outside on the back deck and had a Lindeman’s Kriek. The Belgian beer maker makes some great lambic beers. Other types include pomme (apple), peche (peach) and framboise (raspberry) and they’re all deliciously dangerous, because they taste more like juice than beer.

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