Grove restaurant to reopen this fall

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After closing the intimate, upscale restaurant due to COVID-19 and converting the space into a temporary chicken takeout place and later a private dining experience, Essence Restaurant Group said Wednesday it will reopen Grove this fall with a refreshed interior design and new menu that will focus on sustainable dining. Courtesy Essence Restaurant Group

Essence Restaurant Group is reopening its farm-to-table fine dining eatery Grove this fall.

After closing the intimate, upscale restaurant due to COVID-19 and converting the space into a temporary chicken takeout place and later a private dining experience, Essence Restaurant Group said Wednesday it will reopen Grove this fall with a refreshed interior design and new menu that will focus on sustainable dining.

The building at 919 Cherry St. SE in Grand Rapids currently is undergoing renovations while Jeremy Paquin, Essence Restaurant Group executive chef, and his culinary team work on food sourcing and menu selections.

Essence — which also owns The Green Well and Bistro Bella Vita — first opened Grove in 2007, and it became a destination dining experience due to its farm-to-table focus and commitment to local sourcing. The restaurant won numerous local and national dining awards during its 13-year run.

In March 2020, Essence Managing Partner James Berg announced the company was closing Grove, saying the concept would be difficult to operate due to pandemic restrictions. Berg said he always hoped to revive Grove, even while temporarily implementing other concepts in the space, including a pop-up carryout chicken concept and private dining space.

“Our goal has always been to reopen Grove. We didn’t know how, when or what it would look like, but we knew it was an essential part of our culinary DNA,” Berg said. “Grove is a unique concept for West Michigan, so we had to wait until the timing was right to bring it back. The refreshed Grove will build on its first chapter and take dining to a new level with our enhanced focus on sustainable dining. We’re using all our culinary expertise to create a menu based on taste balance with natural ingredients. This is a real challenge but a necessary one to assist and evolve our food systems.”

When it reopens, Grove will offer a modern take on cuisine featuring intentional and transparent food sources. The updated menu will center on clean diet staples such as vegetables, fruits and sustainably raised proteins and is expected to offer 13 to 15 daily seasonal offerings.

“The new Grove menu will create flavors from the layers of taste,” Paquin said. “Grove will be using plant-based options and local and sustainable proteins.”

The new Grove will have a bar featuring cocktails with the same clean diet theme, including low- and zero-based alcohol options in tandem with traditional offerings. The wine program will be curated by Tristan Walczewski, a level two sommelier.

“Grove has always been dynamic — moving and elevating the dining experience,” said Walczewski, who is Essence’s beverage director and Bistro Bella Vita’s general manager. “With this makeover of the menu and space, patrons will have a completely new experience that still honors Grove’s first chapter. With more natural light, cleaner lines and lighter colors, combined with an intentional focus on sustainable dining options, Grove will once again introduce West Michigan dining to the latest in dining trends.”

More information will be available in the coming days at groverestaurant.com and on the restaurant’s social media pages.

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