ArtPrize Brings in Big Business for Restaurants

Posted at 8:13 PM, Sep 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-18 21:49:35-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- McKay’s Downtown restaurant opened it’s doors in July and the co-owner tells us ArtPrize is putting their restaurant through the test.

“It’s kind of like a baptism by fire,” Michael Santo, executive chef and co-owner of McKay’s said. “If we can make it through this we can make it through anything.”

Santo has been a chef for the past three ArtPrize events. He says that although it has helped him prepare for this year, every year is different.

“I was a chef downtown during the last few of them. The first one was obviously the scariest because no one knew what to expect it was this event and then everyone’s out of food day one,” Santo said.
Santa said running out of food is still a concern for the restaurant, but that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“What I tell myself and my staff is when we run out of things that means we sold a lot of things, so there is a plus side to that,” Santo said.

In fact, Santo tells us just on weekends alone during ArtPrize, most restaurants average $20,000 to $40,000.

According to a study from the Anderson Economic Group, ArtPrize 2011 added $15.4 million to the city.

Aside from money, Santo says ArtPrize is a great way to kick-start his new restaurant.

“I think all restaurants in town, as much as we worry about it, we’re all very thankful for it and we’re all excited for it,” Santo said. “It’s probably like the same feeling these artists get: you make something and now all these people are going to come check it out.”