After years in the pizza business Jim Sebree decided to strike out on his own. He and wife Karen opened Fireside Pizzeria at 8460 Algoma Avenue in Rockford 16 months ago and have been happy with their family-owned business ever since. “We selected this location because of the proximity to the growing side of Rockford and because it is close to our house,” said Jim. The small business is typical of a family-owned operation, with quality and consistency as the motto and a team effort put forth to ensure an enjoyable and satisfying experience for every customer. Karen and Jim do all the prep work in the kitchen and doing all deliveries. Regular employees Allison and Calli are also on staff with two other on-call employees for busy times. Enjoying their mom and pop reputation, Fireside invites diners to stop in for pizza by the slice for a quick lunch while watching the news or enjoy the Fireside service anytime for a leisurely meal. The couple enjoy being away from the mall pizza business and serving the community where they live. Their children attend Lakes Elementary and one of their reasons for going into business here was to become more involved in community. Known for signature pizzas, the restaurant features sauce and dough made from scratch, freshly-cut cheese and generous toppings, including fresh vegetables and cut meats. In addition to pizza, fresh hot ten-inch subs are available, along with hot pasta, fresh salads, hamburgers and plenty of side items. “We want to make sure that every customer gets a lot of topping in every bite,” said Karen. “We feel very fortunate to have the customers we have, especially in this “” said Jim. “They’ve been consistently showing their own care by asking us how we’re doing and that they keep spreading the word. In turn we’ve brought back our $6.99 pizza on Mondays to give back to the community.” Fireside Pizzeria is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 for lunch. On Sunday through Thursday they are open for dinner from 4 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 to 10 p.m. Call at (616) 866-9675 or visit online at firesidepizzeria.com.
Every industry has its “Super Bowl” of sorts. For those involved in the culinary arts in West Michigan, the ultimate stage is the annual Grand Rapids Magazine Dining Awards, held this year on Wednesday, February 18, at the Grand Rapids Community College Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. This event honors the top restaurants in West Michigan, as well as acknowledges the accomplishments of the American Culinary Federation and the Greater Grand Rapids Chefs Association. Grand Rapids Magazine, underwriter of the event, presented awards in the following categories: Fine Dining; Casual Dining; Ethnic Dining: European; Ethnic Dining: Mexican; Central/South American; Ethnic Dining: Asian; and Restaurant of the Year. Reds on the River in Rockford, a relative newcomer, won its third award in three years. Honored as best new restaurant in 2006 and a 2007 Fine Dining Award winner, Reds again received honors with the fine dining award. Reds’ Executive Chef and General Manager Glenn Forgie accepted the award for his talented staff, noting he was “extremely honored to represent Reds.” Forgie credited the strength of his staff. “Our team takes a lot of pride in what they do, working hard every day to prepare and serve their best to Reds’ guests.” He also thanked Grand Rapids Magazine for hosting the event and recognizing the industry and all the efforts of the nominees. “We are proud to be nominated in the fine dining category, and to win our third award.” The fine dining category is defined by Grand Magazine as: “top quality ingredients, well presented, somewhat innovative – a complexity of flavors, using the highest quality product. Excellent service and knowledgeable staff.” The 1913 Room won top restaurant of the year. Forgie noted his congratulations to the 1913 staff, as well as the other award winners and nominees. “There is an incredible group of talent represented at this event, and it is an honor to be acknowledged along with them.”