by BETH ALTENA The Christmas Taste of Ric’s—complete with Santa Claus’ arrival on a horse-drawn carriage—was all it was cracked up to be, from the full-sized breakfast egg sandwiches to the kielbasa with the secret recipe. Store Director Dave Brickner said he was proud of his team and all the vendors who were on hand to share the excitement of the day. Ric’s Food Center, 6969 Belding Road, also celebrated four years serving Rockford—time that has flown by. The family-owned store is one of several here in Michigan. Ric’s hosts periodic tasting events with free samples from vendors, many located right here in the state, as well as giveaways and live music. Repeat popular vocalist Bismark Sequeira impressed listeners as he sang and played the guitar, and the Rockford High School choir shared holiday tunes. “We always love to host these events. They are so much fun and we feel the excitement building up weeks ahead,” said Brickner. “Our customers have come to look forward to these, and we hear them ask all the time when the next one is going to be.”
Those of us lucky enough to call Rockford and northern Kent County home may have grown accustomed to the many positive changes in our local landscape over the past five years. But talk to a newcomer or someone who hasn’t visited in years and you may just view our quaint, Norman Rockwell-like town through a different lens. Rewind the tape and you’ll see much has changed: the picturesque Peppler Park in full floral splendor, a boardwalk meandering north along the west bank of the Rogue, a packed Garden Club Park and bandstand for year-round festivals, new family-owned shops, and the catalyst to much of the development, the Promenade building and river walk. Perched along the bank of the Rogue River, the Tuscan-designed Promenade was built in 2005-2006, replacing the inoperable Water Treatment Plant and creating an award-winning gateway to our city. On August 11, 2011, Reds on the River, located in the north end of the Promenade, will celebrate its fifth anniversary with special thanks to the City of Rockford, Rockford Public Schools, Rockford Chamber of Commerce, the Heart of Rockford Business Association, and the many guests it has had the privilege to serve since opening its doors. Glenn Forgie, Reds’ executive chef who has been on board since before the restaurant opened, noted, “We are extremely blessed to be a part of such wonderful community. There are very few places like Rockford with tremendous community support, a vibrant downtown, picturesque landscape, great schools, an excellent work ethic, and local farms offering organic fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy. The past five years have been tremendous, despite a challenging economic downturn, and we are really looking forward to the next five years—and beyond—in Rockford.” Since Reds opened, it has been a tremendous community partner and spokesperson for Rockford. Milestones include: • Voted Best New Restaurant by Grand Rapids Magazine, January 2007 • Winner of fine dining awards, Grand Rapids Magazine, 2008-2011 • Chef of the Year, Grand Rapids Magazine, 2011 • Voted #1 Outdoor Dining and Notable Wine List—Open Table • Founder of Heirloom Tomato Festival and Rockford Ice Festival • Co-founder of the Rockford Community Gardens • Partner with Rockford Public Schools for student internships • Active member of the Heart of Rockford Business Association […]
Family roots planted in Kent County fruit farming 150 years ago In the restaurant industry, timing is everything. Just ask Reds on the River Executive Chef Glenn Forgie. Forgie recently announced that Lance Climie, CCM, will be joining Reds on August 9 as Reds’ front-of-the-house manager. Climie’s arrival could not be better timed. On August 11, Reds will celebrate its fifth anniversary. Climie’s more than 25 years of experience and management expertise “will take Reds to the next level ,” according to Forgie. “He knows food, wine, and how to deliver exceptional service. We are so excited to have him on board.” Climie will oversee front-of-the-house operations, ensuring the service and facilities exceed guests’ expectations. “To become a part of this exceptional restaurant with its sophisticated and casual welcoming style, wonderful ‘from scratch’ cuisine and one of the finest wine lists in Michigan—well, I can’t wait!” commented Climie. “To be able to partner with a Chef of Glenn Forgie’s caliber and work in the spectacular setting that is Reds on the River in downtown Rockford seems like a dream come true. West Michigan has always been home to me and I am so excited to be back.” Climie’s family traces its roots to the Rockford area back to the mid 1800s. The original Braman farm is now known as Robinette’s Apple House, built by Climie’s great great-grandfather Harvey Braman. Climie’s grandfather, Russell Braman, operated his fruit farm on the corner of Hoag and 4 Mile Road. His grandfather also helped found Northview Public Schools as an alternative to either Rockford—where his mother, Mary Braman, is an alumni—or Creston in the 1950s. Climie’s family is all in the Plainfield Township, Greenville, Belding and Metro Grand Rapids area and is proud to return to the area that his family has been part of for 150 years. He and his wife enjoy spending time with their two grown sons and volunteering with various organizations. He loves to ski, golf and fly fish on the Rogue River.
You don’t have to order a friendly smile and welcoming comment when you stop in to enjoy a breakfast or lunch special at Cedar Rock Cafe, 4615 14 Mile Road, Rockford, in the Cedar Rock business district. Partners Joe and Diane Seyfert and Karri Creveling are uniquely qualified in their roles at the restaurant they opened June 15 of this year. The three have worked together in the past and Creveling was the person who first introduced Joe and Diane to each other. Today the pair are newlyweds and consider Creveling as family. “Collectively we decided to bring our friendship and teamwork to service the Cedar Rock community,” said Diane. Cedar Rock Cafe offers traditional fare with some unique items such as cheesecake-stuffed French toast and “Cedar Fries” as an alternative to French fries. Diners will be wonderfully pleased and have Joe’s 30 years as chef to thank. Joe’s extensive experience in the field of food began with his studies toward his associate’s degree in culinary arts. He also completed a bachelor’s degree in hotel/restaurant management. Diane has over 10 years of experience in accounting and serves as the businesses administrative manager. Karri is front-of-house manager and brings over a decade of experience as service manager. “Diane and Karri have a specialized talent of creating a warm experience for our customers,” said Joe. “They have set a high standard of cleanliness, attention to detail, and speed of service.” All three are strongly motivated by their love of satisfying their “friends, who are also our customers,” said Joe. “We enjoy developing those relationships. We would like the community to know that this is more their restaurant than ours, and would like them to enjoy it by expressing their needs.” Diners can find daily breakfast and lunch specials at the cafe’s Facebook page. In addition to regular menu items and specials, the eatery features made-from-scratch soups. Cedar Rock Cafe also offers a “mug club.” Leave your mug at the restaurant and enjoy 99-cent refills or bottomless cups for $1.35. Karri jokes, however, “Don’t bring a mug that if I break it we can’t be friends anymore.” The three are very proud of the quality of the breakfasts and lunches the cafe serves, and believe the menu items […]
Twisted Vine to offer complete picnic basket bundle What could be more hometown America than an afternoon picnic complete with a tablecloth to throw down on the grass, delicious food, beverage and dessert? Now Rockford shoppers can take a break from finding great deals downtown and enjoy a relaxing meal from Twisted Vine, complete with the basket and tablecloth to settle down onto. Laura DeWilde, of Twisted Vine, located at 51 E. Bridge Street, is now offering an old-fashioned but gourmet picnic to go. Bridge Street Baskets will offer a variety of lunch or dinner choices geared for two, although special requests will gladly be accommodated. See the red and white checked tablecloths by the dam, at Picnic Pops or anywhere else patrons care to carry them. The meals, in whicker collapsible baskets, fit nicely into the bicycles available for rental at Double Take. “I hope people will enjoy them and then bring them back,” said DeWilde. DeWilde also hopes to work with other “downtowners” to drop little extras into each basket—a coupon for a free classified ad in the Squire, or a coupon or giveaway from one of the shops. “We try to help each other and make the best experience possible for each person who visits our downtown,” DeWilde noted. Twisted Vine has been open since September 2010, and DeWilde said she looks forward to her first summer in business in Rockford. The restaurant/deli offers kitchenware as well as meals and products, such as American Spoon gourmet jams and jellies. DeWilde is also expanding her offerings to branch into light brunch items on Saturdays, geared to the Farm Market shoppers. “It won’t be the eggs, bacon and potato hearty breakfasts that Peppermill Grill offers,” DeWilde noted. Like other merchants, she hopes to compliment, not compete, with her fellow business owners, and will be offering lighter fare—egg casseroles, quiche, French toast, crepes. She plans on offering her gourmet jams on the crepes, so diners can see for themselves how delicious the Michigan-made American Spoon preserves are. “It will be light food. If people like it, we might offer the brunch items every day of the week,” she said. Stop by and check out the new Bridge Street Baskets, sample an early brunch on Saturday, […]