Restaurants add extra food space

9:26 PM, Sep 29, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -  ArtPrize has brought thousands of people into downtown Grand Rapids, and most stay to eat.

Some restaurants say business has nearly doubled each year since ArtPrize began, enough so, that a few sought out extra storage space.

It seems the only way to get any ArtPrize entry into a restaurant is to hang it on the wall. Because downtown hot spots like San Chez and Hopcat need every extra inch for their double digit growth.

That's been the story now, four years in a row.

"The first year we were up 20 percent, the year after that another 18, another 15, and so far we're up another 15 this year, so overtime has just completely doubled," said Eli Harper, San Chez Service Manager.

But storage space and cooking capacity at San Chez haven't.
With 3,500 people eating each week during ArtPrize, the food trucks are stepping up, making multiple deliveries, even on weekends to accomodate.

But just down the street, you'll find a permanently parked GFS truck full of extra food for Hopcat, Stella's, and McFadden's.

"All of that is french fries, burgers, and chickens," said Garry Boyd of BarFly Ventures.

Boyd helps manage the restaurants. His business brought the truck in because they can't get deliveries fast enough to keep pace with ArtPrize traffic.

"And we fill it," he said. "Every Friday it comes full, and every Sunday night we take off a couple cases of fries or hamburger buns and that's all that's left on there."

Boyd says business has already jumped 30 percent at Stella's and Mcfadden's from last year's ArtPrize, and with that foreseen expectation and limited food space, Boyd also built an outdoor BBQ food stand next to Hopcat, called BBQ and Taco.

"I call this the ArtPrize bubble. As long as you're doing something good and creative, the city says go for it," he said.

Stella's, McFadden's, and Hopcat all added dozens of extra staff, including hosts, bar backs, and extra security.

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