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My Town: Local restaurants named winners of wine

My Town: Local restaurants named winners of wine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—At least half a dozen restaurants in West Michigan have made the cut for the corks they pop.

They are among 3,748 restaurants worldwide to make Wine Spectator’s 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards.  For the first time this year, top honors went to Clos Maggiore in London, La Toque in Napa, Nice Matin in New York, Saison in San Francisco, The Stonehouse in Santa Barbara and Studio in Laguna Beach.  They join 68 other winners of the Grand Award, which honors restaurants that generally offer guests 1,500 or more wine selections and for superior cellars, service, ambiance and cuisine.

The program’s entry-level Award of Excellence went to 2,791 restaurants; another 883 restaurants earned the Best of Award of Excellence for typically offering a list of 350 or more quality wine selections.  Locally, the following restaurants made the cut:

Caught Being Safe program launches statewide

Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and Michigan’s Field Neurosciences Institute have teamed up with McDonald’s of Michigan to once again launch “Caught Being Safe,” a statewide bicycle/scooter helmet safety program. Kids wearing helmets and “caught being safe” by participating law enforcement officials will treated to a free ice cream cone or Apple Dippers at McDonald’s. 

According to the Field Neurosciences Institute (of Michigan): “Caught Being Safe! has shown a significant increase in both helmet utilization and public awareness regarding the critical importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. This program has impacted not only children but adults as well.” 

My Town: Taste of Muskegon returns June 20 and 21

My Town: Taste of Muskegon returns June 20 and 21

MUSKEGON, Mich.-- Muskegon’s Hackley Park is the place to be this Friday and Saturday for the annual Taste of Muskegon event.

The community is invited to kick off the celebration Friday, June 20 with a Party in the Park.   The event runs from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and includes a live performance from Fiddle Face at 5 p.m. and  Deni Hunter & the HouseRockers at 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, June 21 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., visitors can sample popular food from more than 20 of the best locally owned Lakeshore restaurants. There will be live music, a car show, a bike ride, and a Kid’s Zone from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The Kid's Zone will feature bounce houses, a portable luge track and  paint, chalk and lunch sack decorating with Kids Food Basket of Grand Rapids. For more information, visit www.tasteofmuskegon.com.

My Town: Outdoor Farmer's Market to feature more than 50 vendors

My Town: Outdoor Farmer's Market to feature more than 50 vendors

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— The Outdoor Farmer’s Market in downtown Grand Rapids will open for its second season this weekend.

Grand Rapids Downtown Market says the new season of outdoor shopping will start Saturday May 3.  The outdoor market will be open every Saturday in May, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The market will host its inaugural “Chefs at The Market” demonstration at 10 a.m.  A chef will showcase simple recipes you can follow using food available at the market.  This weekend’s demonstration will feature rhubarb.

Inside the market, visitors can take part in a free yoga session and enjoy live jazz music by Hugh DeWitt.  At noon, shoppers can also enjoy microgreens grown in the market’s greenhouse as part of a $5 tasting bar.

This year’s outdoor market will feature food and products from more than 50 vendors, including:

My Town: New restaurants to replace shuttered sports bar

My Town: New restaurants to replace shuttered sports bar

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—A new set of restaurants will soon replaced a shuttered sports bar, plagued by police calls.

Gipper’s Sports Bar and Grille was auctioned off last year.  The bar lost its liquor license in January 2012, shortly after two shootings within three months at the bar.

My Town: Sams Joint restaurants closing; memorabilia auctions planned

My Town: Sams Joint restaurants closing; memorabilia auctions planned

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.—The owner of Sams Joint restaurant is closing his remaining restaurants.

Sam Bravata plans to auction off all of the vintage and collectable items that decorate the four restaurants online, beginning Tuesday, March 25.  The first auction on Orbitbid.com will feature more than 600 items from the Sam’s Joint in Coopersville.  Subsequent online auctions will include memorabilia from the Middleville, Plainwell and Norton Shores restaurants.

Bravata opened the first of his nine Sam’s Joint restaurants in Caledonia in 1977.  The collectibles he used to decorate each restaurant came from all around the state of Michigan.

My Town: Muskegon instructor wins pastry chef of the year

My Town: Muskegon instructor wins pastry chef of the year

MUSKEGON, Mich.--  Baker College of Muskegon is home to the pastry chef of the year in the 2014 Great Lakes Regional Masterpiece Chocolate-Pastry Competition.

This is the second consecutive year Justin Raha has won the honor.  Raha is an instructor at Baker’s Culinary Institute of Michigan.  He’s also the owner and executive pastry chef of Grand Finale Desserts & Pastries in Grand Haven.

All competitors had to create a chocolate display piece, a chocolate anniversary cake and plate presentation and a petite four presentation with eight bonbons, in honor of the event’s 25th anniversary.