Monthly Archives: July 2009

Mac and Craic


As any parent of young children can attest, macaroni and cheese is a “go-to” meal.  Cheap, fast, easy and bland.  Leftover friendly.  The only downside is that over time, macaroni and cheese becomes synonomous with mediocrity.  When it’s on a restaurant menu, I cringe.  “What the heck! There ain’t no way I am paying that much for macaroni and cheese!”

Enter the Green Well


The Green Well Gastro Pub

Mac and Cheese $15.99
corkscrew pasta•chicken•ham•bacon•peas•
caramelized onions•tomatoes•mushrooms•4 cheeses•

toasted bread crumbs

No question about it.  The best Mac and Cheese I have ever had.

One of the best meals I ever had.  Great texture, great tastes, and a very generous serving that was leftover worthy.

The Green Well is located at 942 Cherry St., Grand Rapids, MI.  A very cool neighborhood.   Near one of my favorite coffee roasters: Rowsters and just a chip shot from Marie Catribs.

Anyone looking for some tasty mac to go with an evening of craic, should check out The Green Well.

Tell them Craic on the Grand sent you (I guarantee a puzzled look)

Honest Fayre. Local Flair.

At the Green Well, an Essence Restaurant Group establishment, we serve honest fayre with local flair in a green, neighborhood setting that keeps customers coming back. Our innovative gastro pub is green beyond its name: Our building is LEED® certified inside and out which means it’s environmentally safe, ultra efficient and leaves behind the smallest possible carbon footprint.

Our creative, ever-changing menu features a global range of eclectic flavors prepared with ingredients from local farmers, and our beverage offering includes a wide array of local craft brews and wines, all to support our local economy.

Our greenness also spills over to our guests who benefit from affordable prices and outstanding service by a fun, welcoming staff.

An American Gasto Pub

“Gastro pub” is a British term for a public house that specializes in high-quality food. The term derives from gastronomy and was coined when the first gastro pub, “The Eagle,” was opened in London, England. Gastro pubs are well known in Europe for offering a relaxed atmosphere with an eclectic menu prepared to the highest possible standards.

And Your #1 Draught Pick…

In the tradition of Gastro pubs, The Green Well offers over 20 draught beers on tap and a vast selection of bottles, ranging from local craft, American craft and traditional European-style brews. The draught list changes regularly in order to give guests exposure to the world of quality craft beers.

Take A Flight

The three-tiered wine list offers a unique spin, featuring flight and tastings that must be experienced with a visit to The Green Well. A carefully selected wine menu will encourage guests to enjoy multiple wine flavors with food pairings. Classic cocktails are also available.


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Grand Rapids Whitewater


Grand Rapids Whitewater.

Of all the great initiatives and organizations (ArtPrize, Downtown Farmers Market, West Michigan Sports Commission, AimWest, Momentum-MI, just to name a few) that are happening in Grand Rapids,  I am absolutely, positively convinced that the Grand Rapids Whitewater project will have as big of an impact over time as all the “big ideas” that are under development.

Transforming a section of the Grand River into a recreational whitewater park (while still maintaining the fishery) will have benefits far beyond the enjoyment of water enthusiasts.

  • Transforming the Grand River banks and boardwalks into a destination for families to hang out and enjoy the water scene
  • The possibility of attracting competitive water sports events
  • The business of hungry and thirsty kayaking and rafting families spending their money downtown after a day on the rapids
  • Ancillary opportunities for entrepreneurs like rentals, concessions, tours, and  lessons
  • Adding another “intangible” benefit for individuals and families to live and work downtown
  • Focusing more attention on the care of the Grand River, water quality, sustainability, fisheries
  • Creating a safer river experience by eliminating the dangerous low-head dams
  • An overall enhancement to the quality of life.


Of course there is a lot to be done.  This project needs both public and private collaboration.  The City of Grand Rapids, downtown business owners, commercial real estate developers, taxpayers, special interest groups (like the Steelheaders) and many other groups are all important stakeholders in this discussion. But let’s keep moving forward.

If interested in volunteering or for more information contact Chip Richards from Grand Rapids Whitewater. You can also join their Facebook page for regular updates; GRWW.

“Help put Rapids back in the Grand! Make the Grand River the deserved focus of your city. This is a non-profit group of individuals, paddling clubs and businesses dedicated to helping Green Grand Rapids achieve the dream of landscaping our river and it’s banks with large rocks, boulders and whitewater features. It is our goal to partner with the city to restore the Grand to a safer, more natural, healthy and aesthetic waterway.”

Snapshot 2009-07-09 07-36-13

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My return to the city — what’s that hammering in my chest?

Last Saturday, I returned home to Grand Rapids after a weeklong writer’s conference on Glen Lake in beautiful northern Michigan. As I approached the city, heading south along US-131, River House rose into view. Almost immediately I felt my body tense and my heartrate jump. I expected the tension to disappear, but it didn’t. It’s still with me, a week later, albeit not as strong as it was.

I’ve read a lot of articles about how living in an urban environment creates stress: traffic, people, noise, activity, air pollution, etc. But I didn’t think that applied to me. Until this week. I’ve paid close attention to my environment this week — noting the undercurrent of traffic noise I hear when I’m at home (a mile from I-196), noticing that there’s never any total darkness at night and that I’m always aware of people being around, even when I’m walking my dog in the early morning and no one is in sight.

Don’t get me wrong — I love living in GR, I’ve been here 14 years and I’ve never been happier living anywhere. In fact, I’d love to live downtown in the heart of it all.

But I wonder, at what cost do I live in Michigan’s second largest urban area?  For all the conveniences of living close to stores, entertainment, fab dining, coffee shops, friends, bike trails and green spaces, is it worth it?

I think that I think it is… but I can no longer ignore the effects of living urban.

So, fellow urbanites, that brings me to my next steps — but what are they? Yoga? Meditation? Prayer? Knitting? What do you do to help yourself cope with living in the city? What brings you the physicality of peace in the midst of the hubbub?

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