From the Grand Rapids Magazine August 2018 issue. Available on newsstands now or via subscription.
Foodies, rejoice! Grand Rapids’ ninth annual Restaurant Week, held by Experience Grand Rapids, will run for 12 days this month, kicking off Aug. 8. If you’re in the mood for an exciting, intriguing or just plain tasty meal, look no further than Restaurant Week’s many participating eateries, which will be crafting a range of special menus for lunch and dinner throughout the event.
Wondering what to expect? For this year’s iteration, restaurants will choose their offerings from three options: a two-course lunch or dinner for $15, a two-course dinner for $25 or, new this year, a “chef’s choice” dinner with two or more courses for a price of the restaurant’s choosing. Kate Lieto, director of marketing for Experience Grand Rapids, hopes the change will add a new level of creativity and excitement to the event’s offerings.
“We’ve listened to consumer and chef feedback to structure Restaurant Week GR 2018,” Lieto said. “We hope that the new structure allows consumers to get more out of Restaurant Week while giving the chefs more creative flexibility to showcase their skills.”
Restaurant Week, which has more than 60 participating venues this year, has a devoted group of restaurants that have taken part in the event every year since 2010.
Molly Kopen, owner of longtime participant Divani, said she is excited to take advantage of the flexibility allowed with this year’s meal options. The restaurant, which boasts a globally inspired menu and intimate atmosphere, will feature a three-course chef’s menu for $39, including options such as a Thai curry stir-fry, deconstructed beef Wellington, and a lemon and honey panna cotta.
Kopen said she and her team are looking forward to engaging a broader audience during Restaurant Week and encourage everybody to try Divani. “You don’t need to be a wine connoisseur to come in here, you don’t need to be a foodie to come in here,” she said. “We have PBR, and we have an amazing burger. We treat guests as family in our home; that’s our deal.”
In addition to loyal participants like Divani, Restaurant Week also highlights new or lesser-known restaurants around the city every year. The owners of Linear, a riverfront eatery that opened in the city’s Belknap Lookout neighborhood this May, are eager to use Restaurant Week as an opportunity to show the community what they’re all about.
The restaurant, serving modern American fare, places an emphasis on sustainability and healthy living, which is demonstrated by the abundance of plants in its light, airy space, and the lettuce growing out of a hydroponic wall that spans the length of their dining room.
“One of the main things that we wanted to do in our restaurant that we think is a little different from everyone else is to put a healthier spin on everything,” co-owner Todd Hoort said. “Our goal is to send people out of here happy and content and full, but without a to-go box.”
With culinary teams across the city looking forward to bringing their best showings to the table and a community full of food lovers, Restaurant Week is poised to be a hit once again.
“To put our menu out there and get people that condensed list of restaurants with all these entertaining, fun menus, I love it. I think it’s great for the city,” Kopen said. “The culture we have here right now with restaurants is just amazing.”
A list of participating restaurants and menus can be found at Restaurant Week’s website.
*Main photo by Michael Buck