Since the bygone age of horse-drawn buggies and telegrams mailed aboard horse-drawn buggies, the hotel on Clifford Lake has been housing wayward travelers and feeding escapees from the hubbub of the Grand Rapids metropolitan area. The building has survived the Great Depression, was reconstructed after a major fire in the 1940s, then was given a stone-floor, wood-fired oven in which new owners Larry and Connie McKeown have perfected many a pizza. Artisan pies ($8.95-$15.95) include the Americana topped with Italian rope sausage, pepperoni, shaved ham, and vegetables, and the Maui, a disk overflowing with shaved ham, apple-wood-smoked bacon, and pineapple. Clifford Lake Inn also serves classic American dishes with inventive, gourmet twists; let the flavors of pan seared walleye (served with apple smoked bacon, wild mushroom hash, fried potatoes, and asparagus, $13.50) come to life on your tongue.
In the early 1900s, Winter Inn was a cozy spot for weary travelers to rest their head after alighting from the train at the nearby station. It was renovated in the late '70s to restore it to its 1900s state and turn it into the charming historical hotel and fine-dining destination that it is today.
The hotel still accommodates travelers with intimate guest rooms trimmed with quilted bedding and floral accents. It has been updated to provide modern amenities such as cable TV, WiFi, and robot butlers. In the morning, a complimentary continental breakfast prepares guests for a day spent exploring downtown Greenville and the surrounding area.
At the end of the day, patrons head down to Winter Inn's restaurant for charbroiled USDA steaks and fresh seafood. They can dine among old-fashioned soda signs in the wood-trimmed lounge, in the upscale dining room illuminated with antique lights, at the wooden horseshoe bar, or al fresco in the beautifully landscaped courtyard.
When it came time for him to break out on his own, Riccardo Biella chose not to go very far. After 10 years of working in his family?s restaurants, he opened Olivera?s in 2002, melding the cuisines of Italy and the United States and adding some Mexican touches, in a cavernous space framed by exposed stone and dark brown wainscoting. Pasta dishes with house-made sauce slide onto tables alongside steak and seafood entrees, and pizzas roll into strategically placed and propped-open laptop bags to deliver kalamata olives, feta, bacon, and baby spinach. Signature burritos come drenched in spiced sauce that's made from scratch and paired with sides of sour cream and house made salsa.
Sports games flash across the faces of a smattering of flat-screen televisions, arranged so that almost every seat in the house has a good view of the NBA slam-dunk contest or the NFL touchdown dance-off.
Though Executive Chef Michael Whalen's 57 Brew Pub & Bistro menu embodies global flavors, those flavors always start in the same place: Michigan. Each of Michael's upscale pub dishes—made alongside Executive Sous Chef James Powell—begins with local produce, dairy, and meats. Along with making soups and salads from scratch, Michael and James top wood-fired bison burgers with housemade black-bean salsa and broil handmade brats with Wayne's Green Tractor ale. The ale, like all seven of 57 Brew Pub's on-tap beers and its seasonal specialties, is handcrafted on site by the bistro's resident brewmaster, Victor Aellen.