Twisted Vine’s Laura DeWilde ‘always thinking of something new’ A business is never finished with the process of experimenting and evolving, and this is good news for diners in Rockford. Twisted Vine’s owner Laura DeWilde Cummings recently celebrated the one year anniversary of her cafe and catering business located at 51Bridge Street in downtown Rockford. “I am always thinking of new recipes and being inspired to “twist” them up,” she admitted. After a year of finding out what items people have come to crave from her kitchen—homemade Cherry Chicken Salad, Swiss Party Soup, the squired Turkey Sandwich and Laura’s Carrot Cake are some of the most requested favorites. She is also a local supplier of American Spoon products, which are featured on the menu and make wonderful “gifts of good taste.” Along with unique pottery and several northern Michigan specialty goods, the café has much to offer besides great food. DeWilde Cummings opened the doors at Twisted Vine on September 9, 2010, and has been winning fans and making friends during the past year. She expanded her lunch offerings, introduced Bridge Street Picnic Baskets to Go, and built a loyal Saturday morning breakfast crowd by offering crepes, frittatas and French toast after coming up with the idea of shopping for her local ingredients at Rockford’s award-winning Farm Market. “My basket is always overflowing. Next year I’m going to use a wagon so I can buy more and do my share at supporting the local venders,” she said. Recently featured on WZZM “Breakfast on the GO,” one of Twisted Vines’ fans Chris VanderHart prompted the weekend news anchors to come check out the local fare and enjoy a tasty Farm House Tomato Relish Frittata. “We are blessed to have such wonderful customers who like our café and spread the word that Rockford is a wonderful place to eat, shop and stroll,” said DeWilde Cummings. In addition, she is thrilled to be part of a dynamic downtown business “family” that is committed to promoting each other and works on projects that will make Rockford even more special. The Pub and Grub Crawl, plus Posh Parties for young girls are just a couple of fun things that the businesses on Bridge Street (Sweet Tooth, Sassy Pants, The Edge, Studio […]
DreamMaker showrooms, delicious food at networking by BETH ALTENA Bill and Jayne Wolf of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen know how to host a networking event. The September 12 Rockford Chamber After Hours held at the showrooms, 4658 West River Drive in Comstock Park, featured games for prizes and a Mini Taste of Rockford with samples from local restauranteurs and chefs. With a “treasure hunt” sheet directing visitors through the many showrooms at the DreamMaker building, Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) members learned about the options available for kitchen, bath, living and dining spaces and throughout the home. A large flatscreen showed examples of before and after projects completed by the builder and remodelers and show what a difference a new exterior can make on a home’s appearance. Food was provided by Twisted Vine, with owner Laura DeWilde offering her signature Cherry Peach Pumpkin Chili. The Grist Mill provided chicken wings that were a big hit, Herman’s Boy brought two smoked dips and crackers, and Polly VonEschen brought a large selection of her candy confections of Polly’s Passions. Jayne Wolf had cooked up a shrimp bisque that was amazing but, she noted, probably not a good food for those watching their weight. “You don’t want to know,” she said of the ingredients for the base. She admitted it involved cream cheese and milk. It was worth the calories anyway. RCC offers many opportunities for networking and business promotion throughout the year, as well as sponsoring such community-wide events as Harvest Fest, the Start of Summer Celebration and the annual Community Business Expo. Find out more by visiting the Chamber online at Rockfordmichamber.com, or in person at 598 Byrne Industrial Drive, Rockford. DreamMaker specializes in bath and kitchen design and remodeling. They can be found online at dreammakergr.com, in person at their showrooms, open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or by appointment. You can also or call (616) 632-2284 to discuss options for your own home remodel. DreamMaker’s consultants can discuss all types of home improvements, from additions to basement remodel, master bedrooms, sunrooms and specialty rooms.
Candle Shop, Burlap-n-Rags leave location after 32 years by BETH ALTENA Shoppers will no longer be able to find The Candle Shop and Burlap-n-Rags at the little red store at 52 Courtland Street in downtown Rockford, but will soon find the inventory from those two businesses at 27A North Main Street, where Meg Franz has operated BowDacious for just over five years. Franz is excited about the consolidation, although she admitted to having shed tears more than once at the idea of closing the doors where her parents ran the businesses before her. She chooses to see it as an opportunity to streamline business and expand inventory. “We will completely close August 21, 22 and 23 to move and have a grand re-opening Saturday, September 10,” Franz stated. Catered by Twisted Vine, Franz said she believes people will absolutely love the new look of the store as well as the new product lines she will introduce during the grand re-opening. She said the back section of her store will combine wedding and baby items, the middle will be shabby chic and “artsy fartsy,” and the front will be the rest of the apparel, jewelry and home décor. Blended throughout will be The Candle Shop inventory and her mother Sally’s rug-hooking will be in an “earthy” nook. Franz’s husband, Charlie, who has been holding down the fort at The Candle Shop, will now be able to concentrate on his custom candle business, which he has been doing for 38 years. Franz believes he is the only person in the area left who still creates candles with wedding invitations, memorial photos, congratulatory cards or about anything else built into the candle for viewing. The candles can be burned in such a way that they last forever and can be a permanent memento of significant milestones. Franz is sure the transition will be a new era in her business and hopes her loyal customers, and new ones, will be as excited as she is. The hours at BowDacious are 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. or, as Franz likes to point out, “until the last customer is ready to leave. When people are in shopping, I stay open.”
Jeff Lewis, chair of the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) and the idea guy who came up with Rockford’s Art Capsule event, said more people voted on the 30 local art displays in 2011 than in the first year. “We had a thousand votes, which was more than last year,” Lewis said. This year’s event, designed with the theme of Rockford for the art submissions, culminated on Saturday, August 8 with voting and sampling fare from Rockford restaurants in the second annual Taste of Rockford. Art Capsule voting also took place all week long with art offered in a variety of categories and venues all around downtown. Ten restaurants took part in the Taste event, with all money going to RAAC. A total of $1,300 was raised. Local restaurants participated by offering samples from spring rolls to sliders and tasty treats to top off the edible tour of downtown. Lewis said the restaurants were very generous, providing quality and quantity of impressive proportions for just a dollar or two per sample. Art Capsule was also a popular success. Best of Show was taken by Connie Kuhnle for her “Faces of Rockford.” Best Two-Dimensional Art went to local painter Linda Bassford, who presented “Watermelon Kids.” Best Three-Dimensional Art was won by Lois Carpenter with “The Dam Fish.” Best Photography was a tie between Dan DeWard with “Dream, Believe, Perform, Achieve” and Stacy Niedzwiecki with her work “Wash – Rinse – Repeat.” “It wasn’t bad for a wet, rainy day,” said Lewis.
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, […]