What is unarguably one of the best restaurants to hit the Grand Rapids culinary scene, The Søvengård uses its sustainable philosophy and combines it with Midwest living to create a premier destination for any foodie.
How to Hygge
Tucked away in the basement of 443 Bridge Street, The Søvengård invites you to experience hygge (Hoo-ga). What is hygee you ask? It’s the Scandinavian lifestyle trend for being cozy and content. The Søvengård takes this philosophy to heart and has created a clean, cozy, and visually stunning environment. It’s easy to forget you’re in Grand Rapids, MI. Here lies the perfect opportunity to escape from reality and stress to experience a laid-back environment with your favorite people. In this space, we all feel hygge.
A Taste of Scandinavia in the Midwest
Nordic food practices focus on seasonal cuisine and sustainable practices. Food does not travel hundreds of thousands of miles before it finally hits the plate. This holds true to The Søvengård’s mission of bringing the Nordic lifestyle to West Michigan. This is a challenging practice since Michigan experiences 4 seasons with a relatively short growing season for a majority of the produce. This is where techniques such as pickling or canning come into play for preserving summer harvest and serving it in the winter.
“We wanted to create a sustainable business that used the best products from around West Michigan.” -Rick Muschiana, Co-owner, and General Manager
The Søvengård takes pride in being a hyperlocal business and utilizing as many local ingredients as possible. Odds are that your meal is made with ingredients from at least one of the following; Visser Farms, Vertical Paradise Farms, Double L Farms, Dubs Heritage Meats, Louise Earl Butcher Shop, Cherry Capital Foods, Field&Fire, Turtle Island Farms, Mostly Fruits Farm, and Ferris Organic Farm…just to name a few.
It’s not an easy feat to keep things farm to table. Food costs tend to be higher, while the quantity of available product is typically smaller. The Søvengård has managed to make this work. With a rotating seasonal menu, guests can enjoy a variety of different foods. Daily features showcase the skill and creativity of Head Chef Patrick Conrade.
The menu features a variety of shared plates that include everything from smoked trout rillettes to chicken liver pate to Swedish style meatballs. These shared plates are executed to perfection and great choices to share with friends, family, or the table next to you. After a shared plate, get your hands on a Smorrebrod, which is an open-faced sandwich. Served with plenty of local ingredients on top of freshly baked local bread.
There is an excellent selection of craft beer which rotates based on seasonality and even special releases. In the past, The Søvengård has featured tap takeovers during Craft Beer Month. Their Sourgarten event last year featuring sour beers was such a success, that it will be back for round 2 this October. If beer isn’t your thing, the cocktail list has plenty of well-crafted libations. With several cocktails featuring spirits from Long Road Distillers.
Life in the Biergarten
The Søvengård debuted their Biergarten earlier this year, which completely renovated this formally abandoned corner space into a place filled with fun and sustainable features. The Biergarten bar was created out of an old shipping container that is home to a large bar filled with the finest craft beer selection. In the future, Co-Owner and General Manager, Rick Muschiana, would like to pursue growing a variety of foods in a shipping container.
Bringing a Wall to Life
The back barrier wall that separates the neighborhood space from the restaurant is created from a living wall. This living wall is filled with colorful flowers, vegetables, and herbs that are used by the restaurant. Rick has had the pleasure of seeing the living wall put to use and states, “It’s really cool to see our chef heading out to the wall to cut vegetables and herbs for meal service.” The wall even includes its own self-regulated irrigation system. Not only is the wall beautiful to look at, but it also creates cleaner air and demonstrates sustainable practices. The living infrastructures will continue as Rick hopes to create a living roof on top of the shipping container that makes the Biergarten bar. This will help to insulate the building and keep energy costs low.
There are many aspects that make The Søvengård a unique and wonderful place. Everything from the locally sourced food to the best patio in the city. Although, what truly makes The Søvengård great, is the team behind the operation that continues to push what defines Midwest cuisine.
Fall Fun at The Søvengård
All September long, a portion of every Creston GRale sold will benefit Feed American during the Feed America WM’s Hops for Hunger campaign.
September 19th-23rd: Oktoberfest at The Søvengård; a list of old and new world Oktoberfest style beers with beer hall style kitchen specials
September 28th: East Coast vs West Coast IPA; an event centered around the two distinct styles of IPA with DJ spinning 80’s/90’s Hip Hop
October 7th: Sourgarten II: The second installment of this popular event. Sourgarten will feature at least 15 different sour beers from around the world, including a few very special surprises.
Stay tuned for Halloween fun for the entire family at The Søvengård. More details to come.
How to connect with The Søvengård:
443 BRIDGE ST. NW GRAND RAPIDS MI, 49504
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