Art of the Table Sells Craft and ComfortBy Jane Whitttington on March 6th, 2016 /
Walk into Art of the Table in Grand Rapids, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by all the things you need to bring a touch of grace and style to food preparation and presentation. The store, co-owned by Amy and Steve Ruis, has been open since 2003 and has become the go-to place in Grand Rapids for everything food and drink related. The wide range of products offered by Art of the Table has been carefully selected for superior quality and impeccable design.
Besides a carefully curated selection of wine, they also carry over 200 beers and hard ciders (many of which are Michigan-made), mixers and a variety of spirits including such unique varieties as Crème de Violette, a liqueur made from violets grown in the Alps. With a good selection of cheeses, olives, pickles, mustard, bar accessories and the like, cocktail hour is a pleasure to contemplate.
Art of the Table hosts Thursday night (and occasional Friday) wine tasting events to introduce their customers to newer selections as well as reintroduce them to long-time favorites.
Art of the Table also offers all kinds of kitchen implements to make cooks shine. Cookware, utensils, pots and pans, cookbooks and interesting soup and pastry mixes line the shelves of the bright and colorful store and bring browsing to a high art. Seasonal displays change frequently, and there’s always something new to see.
Amy Ruis says, “When we opened in 2003, we skyrocketed right out of the gate. When the recession hit, we kept growing. Despite people not going out and spending as much during that time, they were willing to stay in and ‘nest’ and prepare and enjoy great meals with friends and family. We’ve continued to grow every year and appreciate the community support we receive.”
She continues, “I think our success is based not only on our unique products but on our staff who are all filled with passion and enthusiasm for what we sell here. I work really hard to diversify our options from the mainstream and that diversity works well for us!”
As one of the first shops in an area which has since rapidly gentrified, Art of the Table was in on the ground floor of the revitalization of the Wealthy Street neighborhood in SE Grand Rapids. The store employs 12 people, most of whom are part-time.
Ruis says, “Our most popular products are wine, chocolate and metal serving pieces. We also have several niche products that sell well like herb shears, local pottery, Michigan-made items and Schott Zwiesel stemware.”
Ruis also co-owns Aperitivo, an upscale cheese and charcuterie shop and restaurant in the Grand Rapids City Market. She and business partner Kate Leeder sell imported and domestic cheeses, charcuterie (cooked meats), wine, beer and cider. It includes a sales counter as well as sit down service with an open air patio during the summer months. Joint catering with both Art of the Table and Aperitivo is available. Holidays and summer weddings mark their busiest seasons, but business is strong throughout the year. Aperitivo’s website is available at www.aperitivogr.com
For more information about Art of the Table, visit their website at www.artofthetable.com.