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Matthew Corrin was fashion designer Oscar de la Renta's marketing manager, which meant a lot of long hours and a lot of hurried lunches. After his umpteenth greasy sandwich, Corrin began wondering why there weren't more convenient, waistline-friendly lunch alternatives. This rumination?and a resignation letter to de la Renta?begot Freshii, a fast, casual eatery that serves healthy meals and has graced the pages of various publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Inc.?s 30 Under 30 list. Environmental awareness also plays a big part in the business model as the food packaging is made from eco-friendly vegetable starches.

Every Freshii kitchen is stocked with the base ingredients of brown rice, romaine lettuce, field greens, spinach, and rice noodles; toppings such as carrots, broccoli, grilled tofu, and candied walnuts; and an array of dressings and sauces. Using these ingredients, the chefs create bowls, wraps, salads, soups, and burritos for lunch and dinner. During morning hours when the sun is still busy curling its rays, they scramble eggs, serve housemade oatmeal, and top fat-free frozen yogurt with a choice of fruit. Customers can bring their own bowls, and the staff will wash and fill them with fresh ingredients hailing from environmentally responsible farms that fairly compensate their workers.

146 Monroe Center NW, Suite 160
Grand Rapids,
MI
US

Sweet Mellisa's fulfills dessert-related dreams with the more than 10 traditional and unique flavors on its menu. Mellisa's cupcakes run the gamut of tastes, from the chocolaty junior mints of Midnight Mint to the marshmallow frosting and graham-cracker cake batter of s'mores. The cupcake creators fill custom orders for parties of all types, such as bridal showers or People Against Full-Size Cake conventions, and customers can supply Mellisa with their own flavor ideas to receive personalized cupcakes. Sweet Mellisa's also offers both pour-over and French-press coffee, all of which is ethically sourced via direct trade and individually brewed. Guests who prefer savory to sweet can dine on a variety of cafe-inspired lunch and dinner options. Boars Head meats and cheeses fill paninis, while soups and salads use fresh ingredients to satisfy diners.

2404 Eastern Ave. SE
Grand Rapids,
MI
US

The Michigan Brewers Guild wanted something very specific when it turned 15: it asked the state’s breweries to concoct a 15th-anniversary ale for its summer beer fest. Chef and home brewer Amy Sherman, host of Great American Brew Trail, went behind the scenes at the celebration, where she interviewed local breweries’ staff members about their celebratory brews. Reports like these are typical of her show, Great American Brew Trail, for which she travels to microbreweries across the country and unveils the creative and culinary processes behind beer.

1814 Breton Rd SE
Grand Rapids,
MI
US

Kitchen 67 features fresh Michigan ingredients while infusing fare with high-quality Michigan distilled beverages. The modern American menu honors the heritage of the Brann family, who's patriarch, John Brann, Sr., sold his first sizzler steak in 1967. Today, the eatery offers a unique food and dining experience and calls upon locally sourced ingredients and spirits to create burgers from USDA Choice, grain-fed, native Michigan beef and prepare all-natural jumbo chicken wings with no hormones added.

1977 East Beltline Avenue Northeast
Grand Rapids,
MI
US