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My Town: Local First Street Party is ready to rock on June 7

My Town: Local First Street Party is ready to rock on June 7

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Local First will hold its 11th annual Street Party on Saturday, June 7 outside Bistro Bella Vita from 3 p.m. to midnight.

This year's event is presented by Founders Brewing Company with stage sponsor Celebration Cinema. Last year, more than 12,000 attendees attended the 10th anniversary Local First Street Party and enjoyed Founders beer, local food  and food trucks, family art  and sidewalk chalk art, interactive music, and a great music set. The Local First Street Party is free and open to all ages; there will be music and entertainment for everyone to enjoy at this event.

"The Street Party is one of the biggest highlights of our year. Local First puts on this event to showcase local businesses and talented individuals, celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of our community, and kick off the summer right!" said Elissa Hillary, executive director of Local First.

My Town: Ryan Reardon assumes ownership of two Grand Rapids McDonald's locations

My Town: Ryan Reardon assumes ownership of two Grand Rapids McDonald's locations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  McDonald’s Corporation announced Friday, May 16  that McDonald’s owner/operator Ryan Reardon has taken ownership of the McDonald’s restaurants at 1130 Fulton St. SW and 1240 S. Division in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Reardon, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, has been with McDonald’s throughout West Michigan since 2007.

Reardon, 33, is a 2003 graduate from John Carroll University, where he was a running back on the football team. The assistant coach on that team was his father Tim Reardon, a JCU and Ohio football coaching legend. After he graduated from JCU, Reardon worked in Florida in the fields of heavy commercial construction and civil engineering, and in the Cleveland area working for Pulte Homes.

My Town: Grand Rapids area brewers begin Thank You Tour May 6

My Town: Grand Rapids area brewers begin Thank You Tour May 6

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A group of Grand Rapids area breweries is thanking patrons for putting the city on the craft beer map by winning it the title of Beer City USA.

Grand Rapids won the title outright last year, with more than 27,000 of the 50,000 votes cast I the now defunct online poll.  The vote was organized by Charlie Papazian, founder of the American Homebrewers Association, the Great American Beer Festival and a beer writer for Examiner.com.

To celebrate the final Beer City win, the founders of MIBeers and Momma Needs A Beer are teaming up with area breweries for a Thank You Tour that starts Tuesday, May 6.  Brewers, local celebrities and BeerCity team members will visit each of the businesses on the tour to hand out freebies to patrons.

My Town: Kent County Health Department names 2014 Food Safety Award winners

My Town: Kent County Health Department names 2014 Food Safety Award winners

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—If you’re looking for a clean, safe place to dine out this weekend, the Kent County Health Department has some suggestions- 471 of them, actually.

The KCHD recently announced the winners of its 2nd annual Food Safety Awards.  This year’s 471 winners were selected from more than 1700 licensed facilities that were inspected through 2013.    To qualify, each establishment had to meet the following criteria:

My Town: "Feed A Friend" nets thousands of pantry donations for local families

My Town: "Feed A Friend" nets thousands of pantry donations for local families

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Hungry people living in West Michigan now have more food to fill their stomachs, thanks to a food drive by hundreds of Grand Rapids area SUBWAY restaurants.

All 206 SUBWAY restaurants in the area took part in this year’s Feed A Friend food drive, collecting nearly 7,500 pounds of non-perishables for local food pantries on March 20.  Organizers say overall, more than 60,000 pounds of food was collected statewide.

The Feed A Friend campaign started in Jackson, Michigan 14 years ago.  During the one-day drive, customers who bring in a non-perishable food item and buy a regular 6-inch sub receive a second 6-inch sub for free.

My Town GR West: Mitten Brewing Co. expanding production

My Town GR West: Mitten Brewing Co. expanding production

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—To keep up with high demand, The Mitten Brewing Co. is expanding its production to another facility.

According to the business’ website, The Mitten Brewing Co. has had trouble keeping its taps running since opening in October 2012, despite brewing at full capacity. The business says it was reduced to just one beer this past Sunday, because of demand.  That’s why the owners are expanding production to a facility across the street.  

“Although the problem is a good problem to have, it’s still a problem,” Co-owner Max Trierweiler said. “As we continue to grow, we have undoubtedly turned away patrons due to our lack of product. This upgrade will help us meet that demand.”

Coffee taste test pits pricey cat scat coffee against other brews

Coffee taste test pits pricey cat scat coffee against other brews

HOLLAND, Mich.— Kopi Luwak coffee beans costs up to $600 pound, but is the taste worth the price?

That’s the question a panel of coffee experts attempted to answer during a blind taste test this week.  “The Great Kopi Luwak Cupping Challenge” unfolded at JPs Coffee and Espresso Bar in Holland.  Owner Jack Groot ran the test, pitting Kopi Luwak against other regional Sumatran coffees prices around $16 pound.

During the test, one Kopi Luwak sample rose to the top, scoring 76 points out of 100.  However, two of the less expensive, non-cat poop coffees ranked within a half-point of Kopi Luwak and the others were very close.

“It’s a very good coffee, but not worth $600 a pound.  If you bought it in a coffee shop, it would cost you $50 a cup,” said Andy Timko with Anodyne Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee.