By Kennedy Mapes
With Grand Rapids Community College’s campus opening up and students and faculty quickly learning how to adapt to this new idea of normalcy, The Secchia Institute for Culinary Education has decided to reopen The Heritage, Secchia’s fine dining restaurant, located in the GRCC Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center at 151 Fountain St. NE (with parking available off of Ransom Ave.) The restaurant is staffed by culinary students guided by chef and hospitality professors.
The restaurant closed in March due to the pandemic, but is now reopening it’s doors to the culinary students as well as the public.
“I think we are all excited to reopen the restaurant, especially after the last six months or so of being closed,” said Holly Vanryn, an assistant professor for the culinary institute. “The end of the winter semester was so abrupt that we are all just very excited to open again and to begin serving our guests.”
While the restaurant is reopening, there are limitations put in place to allow the students time to learn as well as to ensure the safety of staff, students, and guests.
The restaurant is working hard to follow the health guidelines implemented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the state, and the Kent County Health Department. The Secchia faculty and staff redeveloped the curriculum in order to best adapt to these new guidelines. The restaurant has limited seating capacity of four tables per night with only a total of four guests at each table so that proper social distancing can take place.
The restaurant also has limited dining times in order to accommodate the students’ class time.
“The hours we have right now aren’t going to open up this semester, but they also aren’t much different from the ones we normally have,” said Vanryn. “Because we are a classroom environment, our classes run for five hours at a time, we can only take reservations during a certain time period so that by the time the guests are finished eating, we can make sure we get the entire restaurant cleaned up and the students out of class on time.”
The Heritage’s lunch hours are limited to faculty and staff only, but dinner reservations are open to the public and can be made between 6 and 7 p.m. No walk-ins are allowed, and reservations for the fall semester can only be made over the phone. To make a reservation, call (616) 234-3700.
The fall semester’s dinner menu includes many delicious entrees. For example, a few of the dishes that will be served are Ishi Yaki Buri Bop, Monkfish Osso Bucco, Stuffed Quail with Cornbread, Foie Gras Stuffing, Benton’s Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon, along with several other options.
Vanryn also shared a message for the community and the supporters of the restaurant.
“We would like to thank you for your support,” said Vanryn. “We have so many guests who support us year in and year out and this year is not any exception, so we just thank the community for their continued support and we look forward to serving them.”
The Secchia Institute’s Art and Bev Cafe will also be open for the first half of the fall semester for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-1 p.m. All meals will be limited to takeout and the capacity of the cafe will be limited as well. The Fountain Hill Brewery will remain closed for the fall semester.