Grand Rapids Magazine Top 10 Restaurant of 2021: Field & Fire Café

Farm-to-table breakfast and lunch spot invests in its future.
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Editor’s note: This is Part 5 of a 10-part series on the top 10 Grand Rapids restaurants for 2021. To see a list of all of the restaurants, click here.

Since opening its doors four years ago, Field & Fire Café has been providing breakfast and lunch options that far surpass the quality of most similarly-focused restaurants. From the presentation to the quality of its ingredients, the café has been a go-to in the North Monroe neighborhood.

The café’s bright interior and natural light also create an inviting atmosphere and you’ll often find diners lingering over lattes or macarons into the later afternoon hours.

As a breakfast and lunch spot, the pandemic brought a unique set of challenges to Field & Fire Café, 820 Monroe Ave. NW, Suite 100. Julie Kibler, who owns the café with husband Shelby Kibler, said the initial days of the pandemic were “uncomfortable” and “chaotic.”

“It felt chaotic, just taking every day as it came, and making decisions to suit that day or the next,” she said. “Staff quickly put together an adapted menu hoping to provide takeout family portions, desserts and dinners. We watched our sales quickly decline over a two-week period.”

The restaurant had to temporarily close due to finances — reopening once PPP money came through. “We adapted as quickly as possible once we were back up and running,” Kibler said. “We purchased new point-of-sale hardware to limit person-to-person contact. We purchased Plexi dividers. We updated our website. We began providing online ordering and delivery through Square. We bought outdoor tables and umbrellas for the summer, and then greenhouses for the winter. The amount of money we spent just trying to stay open seems surreal. We could not have done it without the grants and donations we received.”

Overall, Kibler said she counts the restaurant as “lucky.”

“We’ve been able to stay open since getting funding. We haven’t had to cut corners or reduce our quality in any way. We’ve only raised prices on one product, and that’s our mushrooms, because we started buying better mushrooms. Locally grown, of course.”

And that is an important element to Field & Fire Café’s success. As a farm-to-table restaurant, its own success helps local farms that it sources its ingredients from succeed, as well.

“The farmers that supply us grow their food with flavor and seasonality in mind, not how far can it travel and sit on a shelf. Our chefs are talented. They are making ‘high-end’ breakfast and lunch, if there is such a thing, and they really do deserve the recognition,” Kibler said.

This story can be found in the March 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox each month, subscribe here

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