GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Spectrum Heath is celebrating one year of their new locally sourced, health-conscious cafeteria being open inside their downtown Butterworth location.
The Michigan Street Market and Grill opened on March 4 last year. The idea was born from the popular notion of how horrible the food available at hospitals usually is.
“Surprisingly, 'Michigan Street Market and Grill' is the busiest restaurant in West Michigan, what we consider to be,” said Benjamin Powell, manager of Spectrum Grand Rapids' nutrition services program.
The project has been in the planning process for the last few years, with a focus on finding local vendors to occupy the space.
“It's about bringing the right culinary minds together to create an experience that isn’t hospital-focused, that traditional hospital focus. It's really creating an experience just like you would out of a restaurant,” Powell said.
Walking into the market, you feel as if you just wandered into a high-end health food store. Fresh produce sit atop displays and baskets just inside the entrance.
“You get all five senses when you walk in this door,” Powell said.
The dining options are split up by vendor, with places selling barbecue, sandwiches, smoothies and sushi, among a long list of other items.
The biggest vendor inside the market right now is Anu Sushi, owned and operated by Bawi Lian and his wife. Anu sold over 60,000 trays of sushi last year alone. Lian sends a portion of his profits overseas to help fund an orphanage in Burma.
"It's been extremely exciting from the start. Spectrum is just selling it like crazy. We bring it in fresh daily," said Anu's COO Gina Schierbeek.
Right now, this location at Butterworth is the only market-style cafeteria within Spectrum's medical campuses. Powell says they plan to take what was succesful with this first location and eventually expand out to other campuses.
Powell says enthusiasm for the new style of dining has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from patients, their guests and staff. He says they have even been drawing in a large amount of students from Grand Rapids Community College and businesses nearby.
"Before the new concept was initiated, Michigan Street Market and Grill, we had a traditional streamlined cafeteria with a grill, an entree station and chicken tenders, burgers, french fries, those were at the top of the sales list. But really, now, giving people the right options, they will take the right path and so our number 1 seller is our salad bar,” Powell said.
You can visit Spectrum's website for more information about their Michigan Street Market and Grill.