Restaurateur Tony Griffin, owner of B.C. Pizza Belmont, isn’t timid about telling people how great his food is. “Our gourmet pizza selection is untouchable,” he said, “…Greek-Mediterranean pizza, Southwest Portabella and Steak, and the fan favorite Chicken Parmazeti, just to name a few. People rave about our crust. It’s a little on the sweeter side, which consequently makes the best bread sticks you’ve ever experienced.” But Griffin strives to make his restaurant more than just a place to eat. Located in the center of town, B.C. Pizza Belmont has become a fixture in the local nonprofit scene, offering fundraising opportunities to youth sports teams, churches and schools, and hosting an annual block party called the Heart of Belmont. The latest nonprofit to collaborate with B.C. Pizza Belmont is Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank, headquartered in Comstock Park. When Griffin learned about Feeding America West Michigan’s Million Meal March campaign—a six-month push to send a million meals to families in need from Benton Harbor through the Upper Peninsula—he quickly arranged a two-night benefit at his store. On August 15 and 16, B.C. Pizza Belmont donated 20 percent of every purchase for customers who mentioned Feeding America West Michigan. In the 40 counties that Feeding America West Michigan serves, one in six people is food insecure, and in Kent County alone, nearly 85,000 people don’t know where there next meal is coming from. B.C. Pizza Belmont is the first restaurant to host a benefit night under Feeding America West Michigan’s Million Meal March campaign. This multifaceted campaign will showcase the hunger-relief efforts of local restaurants through March 2013, channeling West Michigan’s passion for top-flight cuisine into a passion for feeding the hungry. Participating restaurants include Brick Road Pizza (Aug. 22), Honey Creek Inn and Grist Mill (Sept. 22) and Reds on the River (TBA). “Nothing beats throwing a pizza dough in the air and spinning it around like a tilt-a-whirl,” Griffin rhapsodized. But making pizza to help struggling families—that might come close. For more information about Feeding American West Michigan Food Bank, visit www.feedingamericawestmichigan.org. For more information about B.C. Pizza, visit www.bcpizza.net.
“This is a great community event and a way for our businesses to give back to the community,” said Erin Wallace of Snap Fitness, located in the heart of Belmont business district at Belmont Center Drive. The first Heart of Belmont celebration proved that the business community in Belmont cares tremendously about serving their neighbors and showing how very much the area has to offer in the way of goods, services and business owners who care. Tony Griffin of B.C. Pizza and other organizers used the community celebration as a chance to help others by working with Michigan Blood and holding a community-wide blood drive and national bone marrow registry. Despite a drizzling downpour of rain throughout the event, plenty of residents enjoyed Belmont Grocery’s hotdog, chips and a beverage for a dollar, face-painting, live music, giveaways and more. The Plainfield Fire Department brought out a special truck for tours and demonstrations, and smiles were abundant. “Belmont is easy to overlook, because if you blink you miss it,” said Wallace. “There is so much going on here, though.” She was excited to be part of an event the area business owners will host annually and in her opinion, will continue to grow. “It is exciting. We are establishing our own community and identity.”
Blood drive, free activities highlight many merchants by BETH ALTENA “Remember when I said to expect this group to do big things in the community? This is one of those big things,” said Tony Griffin, owner of BC Pizza in Belmont, referring to his great expectations of the Belmont business community, which he believes is a unique and diverse group that will surprise many. Participants in a first Heart of Belmont family festival and blood drive on Saturday, August 6 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. should prove his point. Activities take place on the closed street of Belmont Center Drive and in and around the nearby businesses. Although Belmont seems a smallish business community, its members collectively are impressive, and over a dozen merchants and service providers will pitch in to make a day of fun for those who come out to see what Belmont has to offer. Participating stores, salons, restaurants, medical and dental care providers and others will have free giveaways to anyone who donates blood through the Michigan Blood bus. Michigan Blood, in turn, will donate $10 for each donor to local Boy Scout Troop #283. Participants can also be on the National Bone Marrow registry. For those who choose to donate or not, the day has something for everyone, from free health assessments by Snap Fitness, to a car show located at Milestones Child Development Center and organized by Belmont Grocery. All car show participants receive a free small pizza from B.C. Pizza. Invited to sign up ahead of time or at the 10:45 registration are owners of old cars, classic cars, race cars, fast cars and just plain cool cars. Trailside Treats, a seasonal gem tucked away a short jog from the White Pine Trail, will provide music with the live band Retrospect. A bounce house provided by the Blast Factory Eccentric Entertainment will keep the little ones hopping, and massages—free to donors or for a dollar a minute to others—will soothe adults. Griffin said he admires all blood programs, but is really excited about Michigan Blood, because all donations stay in the area. He also explained that donating bone marrow also has the potential to save the life of another person, an amazing gift to be able to […]
Belmont B.C. Pizza under new ownership by BETH ALTENA The good news, bad news about being very good at something is that you are likely to be doing a lot of it. That’s all good to Tony Griffin, who has a degree in culinary management from the program at Grand Rapids Community College—the third-ranked program in the nation—knew even before his college days that he liked to cook. “I made dinner for my dad one night and after that I was responsible for dinner at least one night a week,” he said. He was about ten at the time. It was only four years later that he took a job at a B.C. Pizza, and he was hooked. Now, just at age 22, he owns two B.C. Pizzas, employs 28 people and knows how important it is for businesses to be community involved. “In a big town it’s harder to have much of an impact on a community,” he said of his choice to purchase B.C. Pizza in Belmont, located at 2350 Belmont Center Drive (a quarter mile from the YMCA). Griffin considered purchase of restaurants in Grand Rapids, but chose the Belmont area because it is close to Northview and Rockford and is a growing community. “We work closely with the schools and churches in our area,” he said. The restaurant offers a Point of Excellence program for schools, where B.C. Pizza provides gift certificates that teachers can award to children for kindness to others or other qualities of character. The restaurant offers a deep discount to hometown heroes—teachers, paramedics, police and firefighters. “That’s to thank them for taking care of us locally. That’s what they are doing,” Griffin said, noting there is a fire station just up the road from the Belmont B.C. Pizza and a Rockford Ambulance substation just down the road. For a restaurant, there are other important elements to success. “Plus our food is phenomenal,” Griffin noted. The first pizza he ever made was a chicken Parmazeti, ironically B.C. Pizza’s biggest fan favorite. The trick behind the best food is using as many fresh, high-quality ingredients. Whether diners are hitting the daily 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. pizza and salad buffet, or grabbing a grinder, chicken wings sub, wrap or […]