By Dana Kroll, Uptown Marketing and Communications Specialist
For the third insallment of our interview series, we sit down with Matt Smith. Together, he and his wife Cindy co-own Louise Earl Butcher Shop. Theirs is one of West Michigan’s most respected and renowned spots for locally raised and grown meats. In their shop you’ll find everything from both classic to specialty meat cuts, housemade sausages and brats, pates, and more – and all that alongside an impressively stocked boutique gourmet grocery selection as well: Charcuterie staples, sauces and marinades, wine, beer, and the list goes on. The shop also includes an adjacent event space that can be booked for your next private gathering. Check out more about Louise Earl and their commitment to sustainable and ethically sourced meats here, and find them at 1106 Wealthy Street in the heart of Uptown’s Wealthy Street district.
With that intro, we hope we’ve impressed upon you that Matt Smith definitely knows “what’s good”. Take his following Uptown suggestions to heart – here they are:
You have a free afternoon, where are you going for happy hour or lunch?
Says Matt: “We love going to Terra in Eastown! They are a great restaurant that focuses on a farm-to-table mentality.”
Terra GR indeed focuses on sustainable, locally-sourced, farm-to-table cuisine in a casual yet upscale setting. Located at 1429 Lake Dr SE, they are especially known for their wood fired pizzas, homemade pastas, and unique cocktails (try the feisty beet margarita – it looks as gorgeous as it tastes!). Their patio game is strong and is a fave amongst the GR brunch crowd. This is the perfect restaurant to go to whether you are looking for a cozy meal with your loved ones or a quick bite to eat with your co-workers.
You have a sweet tooth, where are you going for dessert?
“One of our favorite places to go to is Mokaya Chocolates. Smitty and his son Max are the Proprietors there and they are just incredible artisanal craftsmen. They source the best chocolates, and they make the most unique desserts.”
Mokaya Artisan Chocolate and Confections is certainly not your average candy shop. All of the delectable artisan chocolate confections offered here are made in-house, by hand and in small batches with fresh ingredients. No preservatives or artificial flavors are used. Its proprietors select couverture from US and European companies that source cacao ethically and sustainably. Find their sweet little space nestled in the heart of our Wealthy Street district.
“If I were going to give a gift to somebody who is new to the neighborhood, I would go to Paddle North. The Proprietor there, Issaac, has an incredible selection of things for everybody who’s interested in the outdoors.”
Paddle North, per their website, “designs, makes and sells paddle boards, kayaks, utility docks, lake floats, gear and apparel that is fun to use on water.” Their brand is focused on offering nature devotees of all skill levels the opportunity for unparalleled experiences in the great outdoors. Originally based in Minnesota, the brand recently expanded to join us on Wealthy Street. They began by fully renovating a once shabby historic space that had fallen into disrepair, into a stunning brick and mortar presence that makes for a really lovely spot to showcase their beautiful goods. Like so many of our small businesses, their investment in our district has made ours a shopping go-to for both passers-by, and for destination shoppers, such as the outdoor enthusiasts they seek to cater to.
Someone’s new to town, where are you sending them next?
“If someone is looking for kind of a unique experience, I would send them to Sacred Springs Kombucha, they have really incredible product with the kombucha that they make. They also make some hard/alcoholic items; they make a mead themselves. They also have a lot of live music!”
Sacred Springs Micro Taproom is a fabulous must-stop, for lovers of all sorts of things to sip. Their core product offerings include a roster of meads and kombucha beers (alcoholic) as well as traditional kombuchas (non-alcoholic). Their master brewers pride themselves on creating beverages that are infused with intention + sound. In fact, you’ll find that sound plays a big role in the ethos of this brand, and thus, you’re likely to find plenty of opportunity to enjoy both traditional and non-traditional live music and sound experiences, while visiting the tap room for a drink. The taproom is located at 1059 Wealthy Street SE.
What do you love about being in Uptown?
Matt: “When we first decided to open a butcher shop, we looked around Grand Rapids and really fell in love with Uptown since it’s one of the few walking true walking neighborhoods in the area. We love being in such an incredibly diverse neighborhood that is rich with all different types of culture and experiences.”
And Uptown loves having you here with us, too Matt. Thanks for sitting down with us and sharing about your favorites with us and for helping to introduce our followers to their next best places to visit, when they’re in our district. To watch Matt’s short interview video – click here.
Whether it’s an upscale night out, a casual day of strolling and shopping, or a brunch date with friends, Uptown always has something exciting to offer. Uptown consists of four vibrant districts: Eastown, East Fulton, East Hills and Wealthy Street that are full of character and personality. Whether you are visiting us for the first time or the hundredth, there is so much in our district for you to explore and enjoy. Plan your next visit to Uptown today.