Sunday, February 26, 2012

Reserve's Chef Matthew Millar Named Semifinalist for James Beard Foundation 2012 "Best Chef"

Reserve Wine & Food’s Executive Chef, Matthew Millar, has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef: Great Lakes Region” Award. He is one of only three Michigan chefs to make the list this year; the two other chefs are from the Metro Detroit area. This year’s list of 424 semifinalists was assembled from more than 57,000 online entries – more than double the 28,000 submissions received last year.

“Some communities that rarely are heard from made this year’s list, including Grand Rapids, Mich.,” Bret Thorn, editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, wrote on “Chef Matthew Millar of Reserve restaurant in Grand Rapids is a semifinalist for best chef in the Great Lakes region”

Chef Millar has been with Reserve since its opening in September 2010. A 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry, he’s honed his skills at several West Michigan restaurants. He became enthralled with regional farmers and artisans during his years as owner and chef of the former Journeyman Café in Fennville. Cooking with locally-raised and seasonally-sourced foods remains part of Chef Millar’s philosophy.

“Every day we fill our kitchen with food that is raised and grown by our friends and neighbors. I choose to cook this way because I want to share the story of what it means to eat from this region,” says Chef Millar. “To be nominated as a Semi-Finalist for the JBF, it’s just a humbling experience. I’m on the same list as a number of chefs I’ve grown to admire – that’s just great.”

Five finalists in each category will be unveiled on March 19 at The Venetian and the Palazzo Las Vegas. The award winners for chef, restaurant and design will presented during a gala awards ceremony at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City on May 7.

“Here at Reserve, we set out to share the things that we love so much: great food and wine,” says General Manager, Peter Marantette. “I couldn’t be happier for Matt; he’s truly deserving of such recognition. To see Chef’s name amongst some of the top chefs in the nation is encouraging – it’s affirmation that we are cooking the right way.”

The Beard Awards were established in 1990 and are the most prestigious honors given to professionals in the food and beverages industry in North America. Often called the “Oscars of Food,” the award and foundation take their name from pioneer foodie James Beard, a cookbook author and teacher, dubbed the “of American cookery” in 1954 by the New York Times, who established the James Beard Cooking School the following year in New York. He died in 1985 at age 81.

Held the first weekend in May, the Beard Awards honor the finest chefs, restaurants, wine professionals, journalists, cookbook authors, restaurant designers, and other food professionals in the United States. The awards are voted on by more than 600 culinary professionals. Recipients receive a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard and a certificate from the Foundation. The Foundation also administers the “Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America” awards. The Foundation maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village to showcase visiting chefs. For more about the James Beard Foundation:

Located in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids at 201 Monroe Avenue NW, Reserve Wine & Food offers a world-class menu fully embracing the West Michigan farm-to-table philosophy, paired with over 100 wines available by the glass and 200 wines by the bottle, in an elegant yet casual fine dining setting. In 2011, Reserve was named a winner of OpenTable’s Diner’s Choice Awards for Top Wine Lists in the United States – one of only two restaurants in Michigan to make the list.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Traverse City Utility Lights Way to new Home for Tall Ship's Schooner Manitou

After 25 years of tall ship sailing in Traverse City, it looked like the end of the line for Traverse Tall Ship Company and the schooner Manitou, yet another victim of the wave of foreclosures plaguing the nation. As tenants of the dock and property owned by failed developer Westbay Partners, LLC, the Tall Ship Co. – along with two other commercial tenants – was served with an eviction notice in July 2011. With very limited berthing options for Manitou, the situation looked bleak for one of Northern Michigan’s most popular destination attractions.

Enter Traverse City Light & Power and Discovery Center Great Lakes. Having a space available at its coal dock, TCL&P saw an opportunity to save this sailing icon, which welcomes some 10,000 people each year, many of them school children, for a chance to experience sailing on the waters of Grand Traverse Bay. Earlier this month, TCL&P entered into a license agreement with the Tall Ship Co., allowing them to rent a small portion of the coal dock to conduct operations – just a few hundred yards up M22 from Manitou’s previous dock.

“We are so grateful to all of the parties who have rallied around us to find a solution to this unfortunate and difficult situation,” said Dave McGinnis, owner and Senior Captain of Traverse Tall Ship. “We want to thank Traverse City Light & Power, Discovery Center Great Lakes, Elmwood Township and the Traverse City Commission for recognizing the value the tall ship brings to the citizens of this area and working to secure its future for years to come.”

“Traverse City Light & Power looks forward to having the Traverse Tall Ship Company and its Schooner Manitou, a long standing icon on the Grand Traverse Bay, utilize its coal dock,” said Ed Rice, TCL&P executive director. “We are pleased to be able to support its continued operation for the benefit of community members and visitors.”

Additionally, Discovery Center, which is comprised of several local non-profits including Maritime Heritage Alliance, The Great Lakes Children’s Museum, The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay and Traverse Area Community Sailing, enthusiastically invited the Tall Ship Co. to set up a ticket booth and parking on Discovery Center grounds, directly across the street from Manitou’s new home.

“The Discovery Center’s primary goals include increasing awareness of Great Lakes maritime history and fostering an underlying appreciation of the Lakes themselves,” said Mike Wills, the Chair of the Discovery Center Board. “The schooner Manitou and the Traverse Tall Ship Company will make great partners in helping us meet those goals in new ways.”

Owned by Rotary Camps & Services, the Discovery Center - Great Lakes is a campus of nonprofit organizations whose missions are focused on water and the Great Lakes. The Maritime Heritage Alliance operates a boat-building facility on the west side of M-22 and docks its historic sailing vessels across the state highway on the inboard (west) side of the old TCL&P coal dock. The Schooner Manitou will be docked on the outboard (east) side of that dock, creating an expanded maritime destination and making the Greilickville waterfront corridor a regional waterfront destination.

“The tall ship Manitou is an invaluable community resource, both for its recreational and educational value,” says John Noonan, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Children’s Museum. “We are really pleased that they will be our neighbors here at the Discovery Center and are grateful to Traverse City Light & Power, Elmwood Township, and the City of Traverse City for helping facilitate the transition.”

The schooners of Traverse Tall Ship Co. have been sailing out of Traverse City since 1987. In addition to public day sails and multi-day cruises, the schooner Manitou works with Inland Seas Education Association, providing hands-on environmental education to school kids from throughout the region and state.

As one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes, the Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail.

With a 60 passenger sailing capacity (24 overnight capacity), there is plenty of space for sitting and moving around the decks while under sail. While aboard the Manitou, passengers are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), beeper, email and definitely no itinerary.

To make reservations for any of the 2012 Manitou sailing adventures, call toll free 800-678-0383. Gift certificates are also available. For additional information about the Manitou, including its corporate charters, log on to

Friday, February 17, 2012

Jolly Pumpkin & North Peak Beers and Mission Table Chef Paul Olson Featured at Salt of the Earth March 14 "Earth Mission" Dinner

It’s a match made in culinary heaven – as Salt of the Earth Chef Matthew Pietsch teams up with Chef Paul Olson of Mission Table restaurant on Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City, for the third dinner in the Michigan Beer & Wine Series.

“We are proud and excited to get these kindred spirits collaborating in the SotE kitchen,” says owner Mark Schrock. “Mission Table and SotE share core values of presenting the best of fresh and local ingredients. Paired with the best of Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak beers, this dinner is going to be out of this world.”

This six-course dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 12 at 7pm. The cost is $50 per person, plus tax & gratuity. Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 269-561-SALT (7258).

“The joy of putting this food together lies in our ability to cook together and cook in the moment,” says Chef Matt, who opens up his kitchen each month to host a guest chef for this popular Michigan series.

“People feed themselves in this country, but often overlook that eating is most enjoyed as an event,” says Chef Paul, who along with Charles Psenka, Chief Liaison for Northern United Brewing Company (the parent company for Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and North Peak Brewing Company) will be making the trek downstate to share their culinary expertise.

The “Earth Mission” menu includes:

First Course
Pretzel - Mustard - Watercress - Honey - Sea Salt paired with North Peak Vicious

Second Course
Roasted Prawn - Fresh Sausage - Fresh Yeast Dough - Haloumi paired with Jolly Pumpkin Oro de Calabaza

Third Course
Aged House Made Smoked Ham - Gruyere - Dijon - Poppy Seed paired with North Peak Siren Amber Ale

Fourth Course
Raviola - Local Cheese - Egg Yolk - Pancetta paired with Jolly Pumpkin Fuego

Fifth Course
Leg of Lamb - Anson Mills Polenta - Stewed Fruit paired with Jolly Pumpkin La Roja

Sixth Course
Cherry - Batter - Milk Chocolate - Dark Chocolate - Black Pepper paired with North Peak Darkangel

North Peak & Jolly Pumpkin: Northern United Brewing Co. encompasses the North Peak, Grizzly Peak and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales craft beer brands, as well as the Civilized line of spirits. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. All of the beers and spirits under these brands are produced at either the new 5600-square-foot facility on Old Mission Peninsula adjacent to Mission Table (former Bowers Harbor Inn) restaurant or at the original Jolly Pumpkin facility in Dexter. North Peak beers are born out of Northern lore and are brewed on the Old Mission Peninsula, incorporating locally-grown hops. Jolly Pumpkin focuses on traditional rustic country-style beers brought to life through labor and love, brewed in the traditions of old world craftsmanship.

Chef Paul Olson – Mission Table Restaurant: From culinary direction, food preparation and sourcing to architectural design, hours, and staffing, Chef Paul is the guiding light. Shaping all his decisions is a mission to have the shortest distance between the food source and the table, which means he will always use local ingredients first. He brings along his philosophy of fresh flavors, local ingredients and superbly executed dishes to Mission Table & Tasting Room and Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant, Microbrewery & Distillery. A Michigan native and graduate of both Michigan State University and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Chef Paul honed his skills under the tutelage of Chef Fredreric Perrier at La Cite, La Boheme and Café Luxembourg in Manhattan, where he discovered a passion for classic bistro cuisine. He served as executive chef at Luna in Mount Kisco, NY, a position that resulted in a partnership that allowed him to open five restaurants. Chef Paul has crafted dishes for such notable events as A Tribute to Billy Joel in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Dinner in 1991, and the Aspen Food & Wine Classic in 1995.

Salt of the Earth is a rustic American eatery and bakery, tucked away in a historic building in quaint downtown Fennville – in the heart of the Southwest Michigan’s thriving agricultural region. Under the direction of Chef Matthew Pietsch (protégé of ‘Iron Chef’ Michael Symon), this full service restaurant offers a seasonal menu of made-from-scratch entrees, shared plates, wood-fired oven pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and creative desserts – using fresh ingredients, often sourced locally. Artisan bread is baked in house, served with dinner and available to take home. You’ll also find a bar stocked with an impressive selection of Michigan wines, craft beers, and spirit, alongside other domestic and international selections. Salt of the Earth is also a popular venue for local and regional musical artists, with live house concerts held weekly. Winter Hours: Dinner served Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday 5-9pm, Friday & Saturday 5-10pm. Fresh baked artisan bread is available at the restaurant during dining hours and at select local retail outlets.

What others are saying about the SotE Michigan Series:

“ Salt of the Earth has done so much with their Michigan wine dinner series, to raise awareness of the quality revolution taking place in Michigan's wine industry, that they deserve an award – if one existed,” says Jim Lester, owner of Wyncroft Winery and a three-time series participant.

“We have always enjoyed the food at Salt of the Earth, but, the wine and beer dinners really elevate their take on local cuisine to new heights,” says Brian Cain – Grand Rapids Magazine wine columnist. “The braised brisket served at the Short’s beer dinner is the best I have ever eaten!”

“My wife and I have attended three of the dinners…great food, great wines, lots of friendly folks to meet,” says Bill Koski, manger at Rose’s on Reeds Lake and coordinator of the “Wine School” at the Gilmore Collection in Grand Rapids.

2012 SotE Michigan Wine & Beer Series Schedule
Wednesday April 18
“West Mi WOMP Wine Dinner”
Seven Old Mission wineries, seven courses!
$65 per person, plus tax & gratuity

Wednesday May 16
“Founders Brew and ‘Cue Beer Dinner”
$50 per person, plus tax & gratuity

Wednesday June 20
“Wyncroft Summer Wine Dinner”
$85 per person, plus tax & gratuity

Salt of the Earth
114 East Main Street
Fennville MI 49408
269.561.SALT (7258)

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Love Affair with Michigan Beer - Which Ignites Your Passion?

Craft beer enthusiasts are passionate about Michigan brews…and February is the perfect time to fall in love with rich, chocolately and fruity beers. As you head out with your sweetheart this year for Valentine’s Day, consider ordering up a pint of one of these deliciously romantic Michigan made libations.

Espresso Love is made with cold-brewed locally roasted coffee and oatmeal for a smooth and creamy texture and rich coffee and chocolate flavor without the coffee bitterness. Espresso Love is currently available around the state from February through May, on draft – in limited qualities. Also look for Milestone Cask Porter – a rich, dark, complex, full-bodied porter with hints of dark chocolate, raisins, black licorice, and currents on the palate, and a smoky, sour finish.

The award-winning Cocoa Loco Triple Chocolate Stout gets its rich flavor from Simpson Chocolate, Weyerman Chocolate and Crisp Chocolate malts. The addition of lactose lends the beer a creamy quality- not unlike a milkshake- while the Blackstrap Molasses adds rich, burnt, syrupy flavors. Flavors of baker’s chocolate and espresso dominate, while rich malty flavors and a subtle kiss of hops add nice balance, making this a truly one-of-a-kind BIG beer.

Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale – Craft Beer Lovers and chocoholics unite! This newest offering hits the taps, just in time for Valentine’s Day to compliment the Vanilla Java Porter. A decadent ale that ends with a Dark Chocolate Kiss! Vanilla Java Porter is the featured beer for Valentine’s Day. Vanilla and coffee with chocolate malt is sure to please during anyone’s Valentine’s dinner. Combine this with the sweet taste of a Michigan Cherry salad and the night is almost complete! Or, try Cherry Stout featuring juicy red Michigan grown Montmorency cherries.

BAD BEAR BREWERY (located in Sleeping Bear Winery), ALBION
Honey Wheat – a classic wheat beer with the nuances of Michigan Honey, Orange Peel, and Spices. It was originally developed as a gift by Brewmaster Red Tackett for the love of his life! She inspired him to make a beer that a non-beer-drinking woman would enjoy. And the love affair continues…

Two Hearted Ale is a 100% Centennial hop IPA, grapefruit & pine aromas, solid malt balance. Bursting with hop aromas ranging from pine resins to grapefruit notes, Two Hearted Ale remains one of the defining American-style India Pale Ales. The Cherry Stout is rich and smooth, matching malty dark chocolate flavors with the tartness of 100% Montmorency cherries grown in Michigan’s Traverse City region.

The award winning Schakolad Weizen is a wheat beer made with real chocolate from our neighbors at the Schakolad Chocolate Factory. Also, Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout is a rich stout brewed with chocolate and cherries, purchased from Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor, Michigan!

Kludde is a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, brewed with star anise, green raisins and dark Belgian candi-sugars, and is best enjoyed under cover of night. This mythological beast is dark, complex, and a big 8.5% ABV. Now available for the first time in cans at finer retailers everywhere. Embrace the darkness!

Redwing Raspberry Wheat Beer is a light wheat beer brewed with natural Raspberry extract and puree. This beer starts with a subtle sweetness and moderate tartness, and finishes with a palate-cleansing raspberry flavor that will leave you begging for more. Honey Porter is a porter with a difference. Dark in color but light in taste. Twenty-five pounds of honey and dark chocolate wheat malt are used to give this beer a refreshingly smooth taste. Give this beer a try even if you don't like dark beers. Or, try Willy's Oompa-Loompa Chocolate Stout. Little more can be said about this beer than these two words: Chocolate and Stout. This brew fills the palate with slightly sweet, super chocolate, malty flavor.

Celebrating its 7th birthday on Valentine's Day, and like every other year, they'll spend a week celebrating it, February 13-17. Among other things, expect the release of at least eight new beers – including 7x7 (made with 7 grains and 7 hop varieties), Spite (a 450 IBU IPA), Super Hoppy Sake (a 200 IBU sake) and Of Course I Love You, Now Get Naked! (a chocolate raspberry stout).

Curmudgeon's Better Half is the latest release in Founders “Backstage Series,” available February 13. Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a re-branding of the beer formerly known as Kaiser’s Curmudgeon, which has only been served at Founders’ taproom and in extremely limited draft distribution. Curmudgeon is an old ale brewed with molasses and aged on oak; it becomes Better Half after aging—for 254 days—in bourbon barrels that have more recently been aging Michigan maple syrup. As a result, Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a bit sweeter than her miserly counterpart. Appropriately, the beer label depicts her holding a pitcher of syrup for the Curmudgeon’s breakfast, and is released at the perfect time of year for you to buy one for the Better Half in your life. Also check out Founders Porter, described as “Dark, Rich and Sexy,” this beer pours silk black with a creamy tan head. The nose is sweet with a strong chocolate and caramel malt presence and no absence of hops gives this beer the full flavor you deserve and expect…it’s cozy like velvet. This 2010 World Beer Cup silver medalist is described as “a lover, not a fighter.”

As February is Harbor Country’s “Chocolate Month” Greenbush is participating in its own, special little way. On February 18, Chocolate takes over Greenbush, with three special experimental chocolate beers, chocolate themed food and chocolate drizzled bacon. The beers include: Cracker Chocolate Stout – with white chocolate, honey graham crackers and a few other treats for a whole different kind of breakfast stout; Hechizo Dolor – a mix of cinnamon, dark malts, and a lot of Terra Spice red cocoa powder, creates a beer that emulates a Mexican hot chocolate, in the best possible way (making you all warm and fuzzy, just like a good Valentine should); and The Velvet Valentine – an English brown, best described as smooth, velvety, with just a hint of chocolate in the background.

Aphrodisiale - A honey chocolate porter with 8% alcohol. Brewed with honey and cocoa nibs, this porter is the perfect Valentine’s date beer!

iO Saison is the latest release to capture the hearts of art and artisan beer lovers alike. Drawn in by the historic elegance of the label design and then held tight by the rapture of flavors, it will be released in limited quantities, appropriately just in time for Valentine’s Day. iO Saison is brewed in a lovely fashion, with rose hips, rose petals and hibiscus. Yet, don’t be easily deceived by her looks, for like love – she can be oh so dangerous.

A collaborative labor of love, the Passion Brew special Valentine’s beer is crafted to benefit local food banks. Each brewery is using the same recipe to create a Warm Winter Brown Ale. This year, the style is more diverse – resulting in dark Belgian style ales with 5.2% ABV and brewed with roasted wheat malt for a robust, well-rounded character. Also brewed into the mix: Old Mission Chinook hops and US Saaz, while three kinds of crystal malt give a hint of candy sugar. Participating breweries will start offering this “Brew with Benefits” on tap Friday, February 10 and it will also be prominently featured that evening at the 3rd Annual Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

Don’t miss the release of Red Velvet on Valentine’s Day, based on the delicious chocolate cake with the rich, red color. Also try Chocolate Covered Cherry, a tap blended mix of our chocolaty Liberty One Porter and Cherry Hard Cider. A very limited release of our award winning Tart Cherry Porter will also be available.

The Poet is a romantic offering for Valentine’s Day. This beer reveals a rich, smooth malt character enveloped in tones of roast and chocolate. A soft mouth-feel brings luxurious flavors and a soothing aroma. The Poet is as versatile as it is delicious – the perfect accent to any chocolate dessert.

Darkangel Cherry Porter is the antithesis of Archangel – the concept that it simply describes the dark side of you that succumbs to temptation. It is your shadow side that insists on not being connected to the light. Darkangel is robust and dry with a finishing touch of tart cherry. The roast barley quickly gives way to subtle chocolate malt and rich Crystal 30. Chinook and Centennial hops put forth a sharp clean bitterness that is followed by a medium-malt body balance with Challenger hops, ending with a smooth-dry, tart finish and strong Galena nose. It is brewed on Old Mission Peninsula, incorporating locally-grown hops.

Chocolate, Cherry, Vanilla Porter. Organic cocoa nibs, dried Michigan cherries and bourbon-soaked vanilla beans are added to the traditional Brown Porter, for this sweet Valentine’s beer. Available in Cask Ale only.

Paint Creek Porter is a robust beer that features a rich, velvety chocolate malt flavor that will compliment any chocolate dessert.

Vanilla Nutmeg Oatmeal Stout is brewed with fresh ground nutmeg and pure vanilla extract. The vanilla, nutmeg, and oatmeal flavors play off of each other to make this a very surprisingly drinkable beer…perfect for sharing with your sweetie.

Aorta Ale - Originally a part of our Imperial Beer Series, this is the first time that we have brewed and bottled this epic Imperial Red Ale since the inaugural release of the series in 2007. Aside it being a delicious ruby red masterpiece of luscious caramel and toasted malts, balanced with tons of classic American cascade hops, this beer was also a tribute to a good friend and avid Short's supporter who had open heart surgery back in 2006. An active member of "Team Huma" cycling and overall outdoor enthusiast, we nearly lost someone close to us who seemed incredibly healthy, and the last person we would have expected to require something as serious as this. Aorta Ale should be a reminder to all humans who occupy the earth. It represents the beauty and awesome power of the human body and mind, and their abilities. Aorta Ale is also a symbol of life and goodness. It’s a beverage for the people around us who enhance our lives and add value to it. Appropriately released in February, Aorta Ale is the perfect way to honor and thank those who love us, and show them that they are loved in return. "Modest Essential Benevolence of Humanity"

This year, serving up Cobain’s Double Dark IPA – a Gold Medal winner and Best of Show at the 2010 World Expo of Beer – this beer is a nicely balanced black IPA for the hop-head love birds. Java Brown is a nice winter-time treat combining coffee and beer. A malty, brown ale infused with Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Coffee, this local winter favorite pairs greatly with chocolate desserts on Valentine’s Day!

The MBG board oversees the organization’s administrative and promotional affairs, including four annual public events: Winter Beer Festival in February in Grand Rapids, Summer Beer Festival in July in Ypsilanti, UP Fall Beer Festival in September in Marquette, and Detroit Fall Beer Festival in Detroit in October, as well as its annual Winter Conference in January. Currently, the Guild represents 92 member breweries – the highest number since the organizations inception in 1998.

Michigan’s thriving brewing industry conservatively contributes more than $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #5 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”

The Michigan Brewers Guild exists to unify the Michigan brewing community; to increase sales of Michigan-brewed beer through promotions, marketing, public awareness and consumer education; and to monitor and assure a healthy beer industry within the state.

For more information, including a list of Michigan breweries, log on to

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Kent County Hotels & Businesses Unite to Fight Breast Cancer

This February, local hotels and businesses will be rolling out the pink carpet to educate the community on breast cancer through Susan G. Komen West Michigan

Local hotels and businesses are taking action to end breast cancer by partnering with Susan G. Komen West Michigan for the entire month of February in an endeavor titled Experience Pink. Every 74 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone dies from breast cancer. Experience Pink will spread awareness and raise needed funds for the ongoing fight to end breast cancer.

Show the love – make an impact. The community is encouraged to enjoy a night out at one of the 16 participating Kent County hotels or 30 downtown businesses, knowing a portion of their evening will go towards funding grants to local hospitals and community organizations that provide breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs.

“Many families in Kent County are affected by breast cancer as well as many families coming into Grand Rapids’ Medical Mile,” states Doug Small, president Experience Grand Rapids. “Experience Pink is a great collaboration with Susan G. Komen and our tourism industry to give back to the community and help in the continued dedication to finding a cure and providing hope.”

“We are thrilled by the generosity of the community and being afforded the opportunity to bring awareness and an end to breast cancer. 75% of the funds raised by Susan G. Komen West Michigan stay right here in West Michigan, helping women who need it the most. It's a vital service for the 1 in 8 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime,” said Emma Powell, executive director of Susan G. Komen West Michigan.

“The JW Marriott considers it an honor to be taking part in this endeavor and as President of the Kent County Lodging Association we felt it was vital to do something to make a difference and bring the community together. I lost my mom to breast cancer and ever since then my family and I have been very passionate about making a difference. The Experience Pink event allows us all to create awareness, fundraise and change lives, together we are stronger,” said Brian Behler, director of Rooms at the JW Marriott.

“Downtown and its merchants are happy to support this important campaign that is working to end breast cancer and will welcome survivors and their families and friends to Grand Rapids. Our merchants will participate in several ways to show their support and turn the downtown pink,” said Nicole Weichelt, marketing coordinator for the Downtown Alliance.

“We are thrilled to be able to participate in Experience Pink by offering special discounts to breast cancer survivors while also collecting donations for Susan G. Komen West Michigan. We hope to see this campaign grow every year with more businesses and hotels participating,” said Gina VanGessel, owner of Gina’s Boutique.

For a list of participating hotels and businesses go to For more information on how you can join the fight to end breast cancer visit

About Susan G. Komen West Michigan
The West Michigan Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® is dedicated to combating breast cancer at every front. Up to 75 percent of the Affiliate’s net income goes toward funding grants to local hospitals and community organizations that provide breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment programs for medically underserved women. The remaining net income (a minimum of 25 percent) supports the national Komen Grants Program, which funds groundbreaking breast cancer research, meritorious awards and educational and scientific programs around the world.

The Komen West Michigan Affiliate’s services area covers Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, and Ottawa counties. Thanks to the thousands of people who participate in the Susan G. Komen West Michigan Race for the Cure® and other Affiliate events each year, dedicated corporate partners and generous donors, Komen West Michigan is playing a vital role in fighting breast cancer in our community.

About Experience Grand Rapids the convention & visitors bureau
Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan located in the heart of Michigan’s West Coast. This destination provides a remarkable combination of urban sophistication and smalltown warmth in a region of abundant natural resources. Start your experience of Grand Rapids, Kent County and Michigan’s West Coast at

Participating Hotels:
For a list of the packages the 16 participating hotels are offering go to,

1. Amway Grand Plaza
2. CityFlats Hotel
3. Comfort Inn Airport Grand Rapids
4. Courtyard by Marriott Downtown
5. Hilton Grand Rapids Airport
6. Holiday Inn – Grand Rapids Airport
7. Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown
8. Hyatt Place Grand Rapids - South
9. JW Marriott Grand Rapids
10. Peaches Bed & Breakfast
11. Prince Conference Center at Calvin College
12. Radisson Grand Rapids Riverfront Hotel
13. Ramada Plaza Hotel
14. Residence Inn by Marriott Grand Rapids West
15. Springhill Suites North by Marriott