Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Paul’s Block

I remember looking for a Grand Rapids apartment in the 1980s and a friend telling me to not rent on a street with a man’s name. This meant Henry, James, and Charles in the inner city. Fast forward past 30 years of hard work, and the area is now hip.

Restaurateur, Paul Lee has something to do with it. He opened The Winchester restaurant in 2008. Soon after, he and staff transformed an empty lot across the street into the restaurant’s kitchen garden. In 2010, he opened the first Grand Rapids food truck: What the Truck. Now in Spring 2013 he will rehab a historic and vacant service station to open a taqueria bar across the street. The taqueria will have patio-oriented seating and feature Latin inspired food from Mexico, Central America, and South America. They will break ground on the new addition to the existing building in Winter 2012.

I visited recently with Winchester staff Bryan, Wes, and Curtis who told me about the local foods and beverages available at the restaurant. They serve one Michigan wine and several Michigan craft beers. The menu features produce, such as kale, jalapenos, lettuces, carrots, green onions, and tomatoes, from their summer garden from other local and Michigan farms. They rent a greenhouse in the city to start the plants early. They also used local eggs, only all natural meat, and cheese sourced from Michigan Amish farms, as well as locally baked bread and buns. The restaurant menu outlines the current local options.

Wonderful Historic Building
Pouring One of the Many MI Craft Beers

Future Taqueria
The Kitchen Garden in Autumn


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