Rockford’s new Cinco de Mayo restaurant has recently opened, peppering excitement for its authentic Mexican food and stunning art murals. Mariano Coronado, whose family oversees a dozen restaurants in five states, owns this new ingredient to downtown Rockford, located at 123 Courtland St., but Mariano brings his own special touch to Cinco de Mayo. “This is the first restaurant I’ve opened on my own, instead of partnering with other family members,” Coronado said. “The Rockford community is very nice and I’m excited to bring a new family restaurant to the area.” Cinco de Mayo’s brand-new 4,800 square-foot building features interior seating for over 100 people, outdoor seating overlooking the downtown district, a large bar, and high ceilings which accommodate the vast, vibrant murals by local ArtPrize artist, Rolando (Roli) Mancera. “I was very excited when Mariano called me about doing the murals for this new restaurant,” said Mancera, whose metal sculpture “Templo Maya” is on display at the DeVos Place. “This has been quite the experience working on such a large wall space instead of canvas.” Mancera is a 26-year-old Grand Rapids based, self-taught artist whose creative works have been featured in various galleries throughout Michigan. His skill with acrylics on paper, oil on canvas, and metal sculptures led him to this opportunity, creating murals depicting various scenes from Mexican history. Cinco de Mayo’s murals feature historical figures that embody the spirit of Mexico’s culture and strong character, as well as murals showing Guanajuato, Mexico (where both Coronado and Mancera were born), silver mine workers, mummies, and the Alley of the Kiss. “Some days I’ve been painting for 13 hours,” said Mancera. “I really appreciate the support of so many people these past weeks—Mariano, my wife Erika, and my fellow artist and friend Carmelo Lopez, who has provided creative assistance with these murals. Being able to combine my passion for art and history has been very rewarding.” Tom Cronkright, owner of Cronkright Ventures LLC and property developer for the Cinco de Mayo project, is equally pleased. “I stood in Cinco de Mayo recently and fully realized the beautiful transformation of this location. Mariano’s restaurant is a wonderful addition to Rockford.” Rockford City Manager Michael Young agrees this has been a successful development project and added, […]
by CHRISTINE BIGNEY They say that it’s good to try different things. In Stacey Kowalczyk’s case, she didn’t think that would include drunken shrimp and cow’s intestine for dinner. The 2007 graduate of Rockford High School always wanted to study abroad. So when a trip to China presented itself, Kowalczyk jumped at the opportunity. Never mind that she didn’t know the first thing about the language; she was ready to go. Kowalczyk, currently in her Junior year at Grand Valley State University, traveled to China with two Professors and eight other Grand Valley students from May 5 through June 14, 2009. “I took one class on how to speak Chinese, but I’m not very good at it,” Kowalczyk said with a smile. For the most part, Professors Peimin Ni and Geling Shang interpreted the language for them. That came in handy when they were served a dish called Drunken Shrimp. Kowalczyk’s professors explained to them that the chef would literally soak the shrimp in liquor, and serve them alive to the diners. “My professor would prepare the shrimp for us, and then hold them out to us and say, “Here, eat this.” Kowalczyk wasn’t too crazy about the drunken shrimp, but said at a breakfast buffet they were served cow intestine. “It wasn’t that bad, it tasted like noodles. It was grosser to look at, than eating it,” she said. The students did, however, get an opportunity to visit an Italian eatery. “We were pretty psyched to get a fork.” Kowalczyk explained. “We had to get used to chopsticks real fast,” since other eating utensils were nowhere to be found. The group stayed in Shanghai, but took side trips to Beijing, and Hainan, (sometimes called the “Hawaii of China”), which was on the South China Sea. “The scenery was beautiful,” Kowalczyk said. The most memorable site for Kowalczyk was the Great Wall of China. Kowalczyk explained that they were very fortunate to have their professors, who knew their way around China and its sites. “We were able to visit parts of the Great Wall that most tourists don’t get a chance to see. They took us to parts that were crumbling and overgrown with vines,” she said. “It was magnificent.” While the students were […]
by MITCH HARVATIN Student reporter It took more time than originally thought but Sam Bravata, owner of Sam’s Joint restaurant in downtown Rockford, will be giving the okay to put the condos, located above the restaurant, on the market. The new condos should be ready for sale by the end of this week. According to Bravata, whoever buys the “deluxe condo” for $189,000 will receive full appliances and furniture. The deluxe condo size is between 1,000 and 1,100 square feet. Bravata said that he has spent over $600,000 during this entire process. “The City of Rockford has been very cooperative and easy to work with,” Bravata said. The Rockford Fire Department had to install a new fire sprinkler system throughout the entire building, and EPS installed a new state-of-the-art security system for each condo. The historic building is a Rockford landmark and was formerly the Hotel Maine. It was named after a U.S. battleship and was built in 1898. If you are interested in a condo, you can call ReMax Sunquest at (616) 819-7912 or the Sam Bravata offices at (616) 560-7500.
Cutler Mr. Dale “Bruiser” E. Cutler, age 63, of Rockford found peace with God and died on Monday, July 27, 2009. Dale was a graduate of Rockford High School. When the call of his country was heard during the Vietnam War, Dale answered. Self was forgotten and, as a brave young man, he marched away to serve his country in the U.S. Army. He had a fierce loyalty to his men and stuck up for them whenever necessary. On every Memorial Day, you would find Dale proudly marching with his flag. Dale had a way of taking responsibility for everyone’s safety, often times endangering his life for the safety of others. He was the most decorated Native American from Michigan during Vietnam, earning two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and one Army Commendation Medal for Valor. Dale was a member of the elite Wolf Hound Unit when he was awarded his first Bronze Star in Vietnam by General Westmoreland. After the war he became a member of the Merritt Lamb Post #102 American Legion and was well-known for his loyalty. He worked in construction as a drywall installer. Dale was one of the most kind-hearted individuals you could ever meet, always focusing on helping others who were in need. In his leisure time he loved listening to country music and following NASCAR racing. Dale is survived by his children, Dale Cutler Jr., Kyle Cutler-Hess and her husband Tony Hess, and Kit Cutler and his fiancée Rosemary; his grandchildren, Dominic Cutler and Corrie Cutler; brothers and sisters, Clifford (Phyllis) Cutler, Robert (Judy) Cutler, Elma Jean Wakeman, Shirley (Al) Firovich, Floyd (Georgia) Cutler, John Cutler; sisters-in-law, Mrs. Arlene Cutler, Mrs. Marion Cutler; nieces and nephews; and many special friends. He was preceded in death by a son, Corey; his siblings, Monroe Cutler, Susie Miles, Donald Cutler, Patsy Lee Cutler, Angie Pyne, and an infant brother, Richard. The service for Mr. Cutler was Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the Pederson Funeral Home. Military honors were under the auspices of the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard. Interment is in Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider Friends of Michigan Veterans Homes Inc., P.O. Box 150251, Grand Rapids, MI 49515-0251. Arrangements were made […]
Gillen-Koch Jennifer Koch and Joseph Gillen were united in marriage at Wesley United Methodist Church on May 9, 2009. The bride is the daughter of Bob and Sue Koch of Rockford. She is a 2008 graduate of the University of Illinois and is currently employed by Carle Clinic. The groom is the son of Phil and Sue Gillen of Lincoln, Ill. He is also a 2008 graduate of the University of Illlinois and currently employed by Carle Clinic. Maid of honor was Tracy Turner. Bridesmaids were Christine Lesicko, Katy Grant and Laura Gillen. Best man was Brennan Simpson. Groomsmen were Peter Gillen, Bob Koch and Seth Koch. The couple honeymooned in Manzanillo, Mexico, and reside in Urbana, Ill.