Tag Archives: The Grange Kitchen and Bar

Restaurant Hosted Local Food Charity Events: It’s a small wins for Local Food

I have listed two local food charity events this month on my Events page. One is on March 29th host by Seva in Ann Arbor, a vegetarian restaurant landmark. The other is at The Grange Kitchen and Bar on March 30th. Both will donate a portion of the nights proceeds to benefit a Local Food organization. The Grange is donating to  Growing Hope. These are starting to become ongoing events, and an opportunity to support local food institutions, while having a great meal.

Lake Perch at the Grange Kitchen and Bar

I wrote a post a few months ago about how charity/fundraiser dinners say in the form of secret supper clubs like Bona Sera, privately hosted tasting menu events like Tammy’s Tastings, and “Breakfast Clubs,” like fridays@selma provide an opportunity to enjoy locally sourced prepared meals. My hope was that other local food cooks would take up the call and start more of these local food venues to create a grassroots locally sourced and prepared meals. The idea was to transform our kitchen tables into micro, one time or ongoing, local food restaurants.

But I never thought about the obvious, which is why not also ask an already established restaurant to host a charity meal night? The Grange Kitchen and Bar for example donates 10% of their Tuesday sales to a local food organization.

"Pig's Head appetizer at the Grange Kitchen and Bar

I love this idea for a few reasons. For one it does not take that much extra work in order to set these events up. A simple posting on the restaurants web site and say an announcement by the organization receiving the charity is about all the promotion that is needed. 

The other factor is the price. Many charity/fundraiser meals tend to be on the pricy side, and for good reason. The idea is to raise money, and in order to do that expenses and more have to be met in order to collect funds for donation. Some of these local meals can range from $50-$150 or up to $500, which can price me out of these dinners especially if I want to bring Emily along.

I try to attend a few of these events a year to have a special food experience, but more often I do not because of price. I still regret being priced out of the Portland Oregon Farmers Market dinner every year when I lived there.

 I do not want to be negative about these fundraising dinners. There are plenty of people who can afford to attend these dinners, and provide their yearly charitable donation dollars with their attendance. And the meals at Tammy’s, Bona Sera and fridays@selma are better than what can be found at even the best restaurant, and the money collected goes to worthy causes.

What stands out with the Restaurant charity/fundraiser dinner model for me is the minimal/average cost. A meal at Seva can run $10-20 per person, and at the Grange $20-35 for say an entree. I feel these price ranges may open up more people to attend a charity/fundraiser dining event. There may be less money raised per diner, but there may be more diners participating to perhaps equal things out.

Spicy Fried Chick Pea appetizer at Grange Kitchen and Bar

I see the restaurant charity/fundraiser dinners movement as a great small start win for the local food movement. I tend to think of the BIG WIN like an entirely locally sourced restaurant, bigger farmers markets, or better yet a locally sourced region restaurant chain. But in thinking of the big win, I over look the small win like a restaurant hosting a once a month locally sourced menu, or even just featuring a locally sourced weekend dinner special.

Asking a restaurant or a chef to go all/mostly local can be an overwhelming proposition. But asking a chef to take on a locally sourced menu for a night can be a fun challenge, and one which an adventurous chef may take on. And if a local food night is successful and supported, the chef might do it again, even if they are not known as a local food place.

In other words, just about any independent restaurant from large or small, high end or burger/sandwich joint, can be a potential venue for the local food movement charity/fundraiser meal, or at least feature a local menu item like a local sandwich special, or salad.

The big local push in Ann Arbor is for a %10 locally sourced food goal (see 10 percent Washtenaw) A large portion of food is eaten out, so in order to reach this goal, I feel that we will need to get more restaurants to offer some locally sourced food. The charity/fundraiser dinner event can be a way to convince other independent food service establishments to get a taste for going local, while supporting local food/garden organizations. These venues could create a larger demand for locally sourced foods, which in turn will motivate the creation of more locally sourced food suppliers.

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The Grange Kitchen and Bar

I took the night off from cooking and me and the family went out to The Grange Kitchen and Bar. I have been looking forward towards going there because the chef Brandon Johns has a commitment to sourcing his food locally. When I lived in Portland, Oregon, I enjoyed the growing number of restaurants that did a farm to plate, local and seasonal theme. The meals I had in Oregon were great, so I was excited when there was local themed place opening up in Ann Arbor.

The dining room is cozy seating up to 40.  We arrived at 7:00 and were seated right away. It was a full house, which included a wedding reception in the bar on the second floor. I was glad for the full house because I want to see this kind of place make it. I noticed that the chef was frequently in and out of the kitchen. He even ran out a few plates. Clearly Chef John is not one of those chef’s who hide in the kitchen. I felt like this added to the charm.

I ordered the plate of radishes with butter, salt and crusty bread. Ann Arbor FoodTechnically the bread was a hearty soft dark bread, but I preferred it. The breads were from avalon bakery. The dish was incredibly simple, but great. It inspired me to plant some radishes and have this for breakfast every morning like they do in France.

The combination of the bread, butter, radish and rocky salt worked. Jonathan ordered the spicy fried chic peas, another winner. They were chick peas that were breaded lightly, fried and covered in some spice. The starchiness of the chic peas gave them a potato like flavor. Bill order the Green bean salad, creamy tarragon vinaigrette, pickled eggs, which he enjoyed and Betty had the Salad of greens, basil garlic dressing, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato. Emily just had the bread, which was a dill bread, that we all enjoyed.

Then came time to order dinner. Emily is on a vegan kick now, so she order the pasta. Betty order the chicken, and Bill and Jonathan both order the Grilled halibut, Portuguese style seafood stew, chorizo and potatoes, which what I wanted to order, but I end up getting the grass fed steak with blue cheese to be different.Ann Arbor Food

Emily liked her pasta and asked me to make it for her sometime. Betty thought her chicken was great, and both Bill and Jonathan liked there stew. My steak came with cooked chard and pureed potatoes. The sauce was a nice red wine sauce. My steak was cooked just how I like. The only thing was a comical situation where my steak knife was switched with Betty’s lesser chicken knife, so I had a crazy time cutting into my steak. We finally figured it out and all was well. My only comment was that I felt they could have gone a little heavier on the blue cheese for my taste.

Dessert selections were an apricot cake with berries, a plum ginger almond crisp with ice cream, a chocolate bourbon cake, and peach blueberry cobbler.Ann Arbor Food

Here was tonight’s menu. It changes so it this will not remain current.


Country style terrine, pickled vegetables 8

Plate of radishes, butter, sea salt, crusty bread 7

Spicy fried chickpeas 4

Goat cheese stufed squash blossoms, green tomato marmalade 11

Gazpacho, shrimp salad, basil oil 12

Chorizo, dates, blue cheese 8

Heirloom tomato and goat cheese tart 9

Green bean salad, creamy tarragon vinaigrette, pickled eggs 6

Salad of greens, basil garlic dressing, fresh mozzarella, heirloom tomato 8


Roasted chicken breast, crispy skin, bacon, green bean and potato sauté, grain mustard 21

Pan roasted duck breast, mushroom and whole grain salad, corn jus* 24

Zucchini and squash cakes, wilted greens, spiced tomato sauce 18

Grilled halibut, Portuguese style seafood stew, chorizo and potatoes 26

Grilled pork loin, buckwheat dumplings, pickled rhubarb, fennel sausage* 25

Fresh house made pasta, Farmers’ Market vegetables, lemon, herbs & parmesan 23

Sauteed lake perch, fngerling potato salad, caper brown butter, parsley 26

Slow roasted wild salmon, sweet corn succotash, tomato ginger jam* 24

Grilled grass-fed ribeye, bacon blue cheese crust, potato puree, red wine syrup* 31

* Menu items are either cooked to order or undercooked. Notice: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, sea- food, shellfsh or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness especially if you have a medical condition.