I’m hoping those of us who long for more healthy, sustainable and kind meals will find their way to Cherie Inn to vote with our dollars.
On October 12, long-time Cherie Inn owner, Michael Kulczyk, unveiled a new menu that includes an additional 100% plant-based, oil and gluten-free menu. Developed with chef Alex Schulte, formerly of fine dining restaurants such as The French Laundry in California, Ristorante Caterina de’ Medici in New York and Canlis in Seattle, the soft opening was enthusiastically received by more than 100 patrons who have been waiting for more health-oriented food options when eating out.
Chef Schulte has a soft spot for the Cherie Inn where he got his start as a dishwasher at 14 years old. “After all my travels, I hope to settle here in west Michigan. It feels like coming full circle. I love the Cherie Inn and I love Michael, who has been like a father to me. I want to help him pursue his dreams and be successful and I know that with all the knowledge and experience I’ve gained we can take his restaurant to the next level so that he can realize his new vision of serving the most amazing healthy food the city has to offer.”
Spurred by his own almost 100 pound weight loss in the last year (97 pounds at press time), Michael is hoping that diners will put aside previously held beliefs about ‘health food’ and see how delicious and filling the dishes are.
To create the plant-based menu, Michael and Alex consulted with me and I worked with Alex in the kitchen to create dishes that were plant-based and oil-free yet still delicious and filling. As many of you know, most plant-based or vegan food in restaurants contains lots of oil–we never know how much. The dishes we’ve created with cashew-based cream sauces and luscious seed and nut-based cheeses are delicately spiced and made from whole foods—fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes. These dishes are appropriate for people eating with any number of dietary concerns. And Michael’s original menu means you can satisfy all the diners in your party, which is no easy feat these days.
The Cherie Inn is one of the city’s oldest continuous restaurants, begun in 1924, with a view toward providing Grand Rapids’ diners with a European café experience. Michael wants to honor that original vision while creating a menu for modern times.
“On every level, people are more and more concerned with their health and realizing that what they eat has an enormous impact on how they feel,” he says. “I want the Cherie Inn to be considered a delicious haven with our customary excellent service and lovely atmosphere, and food that leaves you feeling both full and energized.”
Look below for some photos and menu items. The beautiful photographs were taken by our friend, Jeremy Kuhn.
Kiwi Twister Smoothie Bowl Non-dairy yogurt with strawberries and chia seeds topped with kiwi, pineapple, and hemp hearts.
Avocado Kamau A blend of Caribe’ Spices with red quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower, bell pepper, fresh avocado and alfredo.
Spartan Spuds Broccoli, spinach, green peppers on organic marble potatoes topped with boursin cheese. Go Green, Go White!
Sweet Potato Hash Root vegetables, bell peppers, portobellos, spinach and honey roasted cashews.
Chunky Monkey Smoothie Bowl Non-dairy yogurt with chocolate and bananas topped with coconut, peanuts and more bananas.
Other delicious items include:
Avocado Benedict A whole avocado on tomatilla salsa with herb tofu, healthy sprouts and jalapeno.
Wolverine Waffle Golden waffle covered in cinnamon spice cream cheese and topped with a blueberry compote and candied walnuts. Go Blue!
Superfood Steel Cut Oats Red Quinoa, goji berries, raw almonds and hemp hearts.