When you think of hospitality, what comes to mind?
Is it the warm greeting you receive when you enter a place of business?
What about an inviting atmosphere?
Possibly the generosity of the host providing a delicious meal?
Whatever your definition of hospitality may be, mine can simply be defined as what I feel at Ramona’s Table.
Naming a Legacy
The story behind the name Ramona’s Table is a fairy tale in itself. Believe it or not, from 1897 to 1955, an amusement park by the name of Ramona’s Park was located in the heart of East Grand Rapids. This is where Ramona’s Table first opened its doors in 2008 before relocating to Rockford, MI. The amusement park itself gained the name Ramona from an Indian princess folktale. Then the word table. We typically think of a table as an object. Something that we simply eat on or something that accumulates all of our car keys, cell phones, purses, etc. Owners Jackie and Charlie think of the word table as so much more. To them, a table is a place to be together. It’s a place of joy and good company.
Everyone is welcome at Ramona’s Table.
Calling Rockford home
The current location of Ramona’s Table is in the center of a busy and bustling downtown Rockford. Located right off of the White Pine Trail, their beautiful deck makes for an excellent pit stop from a bike ride and gives a stunning view of the Rockford Dam. The inside of the building itself is just as beautiful as the outdoor scenery. Located in a historic grain mill, there is still much-preserved architecture from the original building. Including the floors, woodwork, and beautiful second floor that was opened up when Jackie and Charlie purchased the building. The upstairs space is frequently used for private events, classes, and overflow seating.
In a world where we struggle to decide what food sounds good for dinner. We must not forget that every single day 1 in 5 Michigan kids is affected by hunger. Ramona’s Table has made it their mission to donate at least $6000 every year to Kid’s Food Basket, an organization that helps to provide sack suppers to children in need. By donating $1 for every kid’s meal sold, they have already donated over half of their goal. Jackie and Charlie also helped to give employees of the Corner Bar employment after the fire that occurred during August 2017.
Ramona’s Table is also proud to support the program called R1TS (Region 1 Transitions Services) which supports young adults with special needs in the movement from high school to the working environment. The staff at Ramona’s are proud to help give these young adults the skills necessary to financially support themselves following graduation.
Fresh, Healthy, and Sustainable
The food at Ramona’s Table is made with the utmost love and respect for fresh and local ingredients. There is not just one, but two kitchens in the restaurant. The first can be seen upon entering the building, the other is a pastry kitchen in the basement that was installed when Ramona’s Table moved in. That is where the glorious carrot cake is produced, which just happens to be Jackie’s own recipe. This carrot cake is the most decadent, delicious, and perfectly sweet dessert you could imagine. The freshly grated carrot is prominent and well-balanced with the sweet cream cheese frosting. Not to mention, the “slice” is absolutely massive and is perfect for sharing…or to share with just yourself!
The kitchen is led by Chef John Droghetti, a former chef for the Chicago Cubs. Chef John graduated from one of the best culinary programs in the country, Johnson & Wales University. He not only received a world-class culinary degree but also focused on nutrition studies.
Chef John’s knowledge of food and nutrition make Ramona’s Table a great place to eat for those with special dietary needs and for those watching their calories. The menu features vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. A crowd favorite is the “Naan-Ya Business” which has goat cheese crema, house-made roasted red pepper hummus, pickled carrot, cucumber, red pepper, pickled onion, sundried tomato jam, mixed greens on grilled naan bread. Don’t worry carnivores, there are plenty of delicious meat options too. We recommend the oh so tasty “The McAllister” on homemade tomato and herb focaccia bread with turkey, ham, Cherrywood smoked bacon, Swiss cheese, and a touch of mayo.
Ramona’s Table is proud to offer a full catering menu which is perfect for special events or a catered lunch at the office. Food delivery is now available as well and can even be ordered through the Ramona’s Table website.
Don’t expect to find anything pre-made at Ramona’s Table. From the bread to the side dishes, everything is made from scratch. The food is vibrant with color and the taste is impeccable. Chef John and his culinary team create beautiful works of art that taste just as amazing as they look. Let’s let these pictures speak for themselves.
If you needed one more reason to love Ramona’s Table, look no further than the no straws movement. Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States and it is causing significant waste and harm to our environment. General Manager David Steinmetz is incredibly proud of this effort to reduce plastic straw waste as he explains why the drinks are missing this classic accessory. Ramona’s Table is helping to draw attention to this major issue by simply eliminating one straw at a time. The crew at Ramona’s Table are constantly thinking of ways to become more sustainable. Be on the lookout for more sustainable movements coming in 2018.
On January 25th, Ramona’s Table will host a workshop led by General Manager, David Steinmetz, on healthier versions of cocktails called “Drink Right, Drink Light”. This mixology class includes your own take-home mixology set with shaker, jigger, and bar spoon. Plus, nosh on Ramona’s Table appetizer sampler platter while enjoying the cocktails you make during the class. Tickets for this event may be purchased here.
Ramona’s Table is located at 17 Squires Street Square NE Rockford, MI 49341
Food photography used for this article is courtesy of Andrea Kacsits, founder of Maker Creative Company
Jenn Fillenworth is a Food Blogger for GRNow.com and a Registered Dietitian that has a passion for local eats and sustainable food practices. You can email her feedback or insider story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org