Michelle Miller, the marketing manager and event planner at Food Dance, was our hostess. We also spent time with Chef Robb Hammond and met owner Julie Stanley. Not only is Food Dance a fabulous restaurant located in downtown Kalamazoo, it is also a bakery, and they butcher hogs, cure meat, and makes some cheeses. For the bar, they make their own infused syrups, vodkas, and bitters. Classes are available on topics such as soup, grilling (on their rooftop), and popsicles.
The restaurant, which opened 18 years ago, was one of the first in Michigan to source ingredients from local farms. The tour included visits to three farms that supply the restaurant: Carlson Farms (chicken, eggs) Mattawan Creamery (yogurt, goat chevre cheese), and Kirklin Farm (black beans, melons, heirloom tomatoes).
In addition to caring about their staff, Food Dance runs open book management. “The employees know everything,” said Miller. “We are all financially responsible – everyone has a line item.” The employees are empowered to make suggestions and take charge of making changes.” Miller continued, “We are honest with applicants; it’s not just a job.” Employees are all provided with a wellness benefit; full-time employees have a full benefits package.
Keeping with their values, the business waste is tracked in pounds, multiple community gardens pick up food waste for compost, and two people take their used vegetable oil.
The first day of the trip we toured the three farms in the afternoon with dinner at Food Dance capping off the day. Look for more blog posts coming soon!
|Food Dance Restaurant is in downtown Kalamazoo, MI|
|Fresh eggs! - at Carlson Farms|
|Goats at Mattawan Creamery|
|Vegetables at Kirklin Farm|
|Food Dance appetizer|
|Food Dance decor|
|Art on the walls - Food Dance|
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