It has been just over a year since Salt of the Earth – a rustic American eatery -- started serving its unique and locally-flavored cuisine in downtown Fennville. And what a year it’s been! Tucked away in the heart of Southwest Michigan’s growing agricultural region, Salt of the Earth has quickly gained a reputation as one of the hottest restaurants in the region.
“We’ve seen a very large number of guests this summer,” says Mark Schrock, co-owner of Salt of the Earth. “Our sales projections for June and July were each exceeded by almost 40 percent. About half of that summer business is attributed to the tourists – many from the Chicago area who have vacation homes in the area or others who may be staying at the area bed-and-breakfasts in tourist towns who make the drive to dine with us.” He adds, ‘We also have a very strong local following.”
The average diner at Salt of the Earth travels about 25 miles for the experience, with Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo residents making up about 15% of the business. Groups range from two to 20, with an increasing number of large groups coming in for special events and family gatherings.
Under the direction of Executive Chef Matthew Pietsch (protégé of ‘Iron Chef’ Michael Symon) and Chef de Cuisine Jesse Hahn, Salt of the Earth delivers a seasonal menu of house-made entrees, shared plates, wood-fired oven pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and creative desserts – using fresh ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible.
The bakery café features pastries, artisan breads, coffee and espresso drinks, lunch offerings and free wi-fi for their guests. The bar is stocked with all the standards, as well as an impressive selection of Michigan wines, craft beers and spirits.
A widely popular “Michigan Wine & Beer Dinner Series” was held during the winter months, giving locals and regulars a family-style culinary experience like no other. In all, four Michigan wineries and four Michigan breweries were featured which helped bring in many guests to the restaurant for the first, but likely not the last, time. The series will be held again this winter, January through April.
“There’s a growing interest in the farm-to-table concept,” says Pietsch, who takes pride in the number of regional growers and producers who provide him with the freshest ingredients. “More and more guests are seeking to dine and drink local product, even going as far to choose these types of restaurants over others. That just reinforces our philosophy here at Salt of the Earth.”
Featuring an attractive warm and homey décor, paired with a chic and modern menu, Salt of the Earth is also a popular venue for local and regional musical artists, with live music every Friday evening. House concerts are held on selected Sunday evenings as well.
“Special events like the first annual Fennville Art Jam and our summer concert series “Tuesday’s in the Park” help to draw people to the area and through our doors,” Schrock says. “We also see visitors who have been to nearby Fenn Valley Winery and Crane Orchards, who are looking to add our culinary experience to their visit. Families visiting the Children’s Museum of Fennville are also finding us and enjoying our kid’s menu”
Salt of the Earth is open year-round, currently seven days a week – from 7am to 9pm, Sunday thru Thursday and 7am to 11pm, Friday and Saturday. Hours may be seasonally adjusted. The restaurant is located at 114 E. Main Street in downtown Fennville, just 10 miles from Saugatuck, 50 miles from Grand Rapids and 140 miles from Chicago.
Salt of the Earth114 East Main Street
Fennville MI 49408