Restaurants offer special ‘experience’

Bone-in ribeye from Margaux. Photo by Teri Genovese

Grand Rapids Magazine has been selecting the city’s best restaurants for 40 years now, and it never gets easier. This year, the keyword was “experience.” Whether you are a millennial, Gen Xer or baby boomer, you want your night out to be special.

And restaurants are catching on. This year, several of the city’s newest restaurants are focused on bringing you something unique, whether it’s a different type of cuisine, a specific theme or detailed interior design concept, or a style of cooking. Restaurants know that with social media and more foodies than ever, they have to attract diners with more than just the food. Restaurants need to be sustainable, socially conscious and offer something you can’t get anywhere else.

Our picks for Restaurant of the Year and Best New Restaurant embody the new expectations for restaurants. Sovengard’s Scandinavian-inspired farm-to-table dining promises a consistently changing menu with everything from approachable comfort foods to creative culinary creations that will give the most seasoned foodie something new. The restaurant also offers a unique experience with HOST, a program that offers a daily-changing menu; a street-level dining room; the original garden level dining room; and its outdoor biergarten.

Meanwhile, Margaux, at the JW Marriott, is bringing classic French techniques back to the kitchen and combining it with a modern plating style. This combination creates just the right mix of approachable food with a hint of luxury. The former dining room was redesigned to bring more vibrancy into the room. This backdrop allows diners a comfortable atmosphere to enjoy classic French cuisine.

Food isn’t the only focus of this month’s issue. We also spoke with local artist Erick Picardo about his flourishing career in Grand Rapids. Picardo has painted a dozen murals downtown over the course of his career. He reflects on how Grand Rapids has become more supportive of local artists and discusses what’s next.

Outdoorsman Tom Werkman also shares his passion for fishing on the Grand River in this issue. Werkman and his son, Max, operate Werkman Outfitters, which takes groups out onto the area’s rivers for fishing excursions.

Bon appétit!

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