A look inside Trillium Haven restaurant in Eastown prior to its re-opening as Terra GR. Courtesy Trillium Haven
Eastown's Trillium Haven restaurant is assuming a new name — and vision.
Next Wednesday, Trillium Haven re-opens as Terra GR.
The restaurant that has been open for about a year is now under the sole ownership of Ken Sung, who previously co-owned the business with Trillium Haven Farm owners Anja Mast and Michael VanderBrug.
The husband-and-wife pair left the restaurant to focus on their Jenison-based farm, according to Sung.
Sung, who also co-owns Gazelle Sports, said that the name change reflects a broader direction for the restaurant, which is in the historic Kingsley building, at 1429 Lake Dr. SE.
“I think there was a conception that we were only using the one farm for the restaurant, and with the name change, it allows us to show that we are not just affiliated with one particular farm,” he said. “We are open to sourcing from a lot of people from the West Michigan area.”
Sung said that reliance on just one farm is not very realistic, particularly given Michigan’s four seasons.
“We feel like this is a better representation of what we can do and in a more honest and authentic way,” he said.
Though the restaurant will not be making any big changes in terms of how it operates, Sung said he wants to bring more attention to the process that chef Joel Wabeke undertakes to bring great meals to patrons.
“We wanted to really highlight the technique that chef Joel is focused on, which is what we call handcrafted,” he explained. “It’s a little bit different in that pretty much everything we do is done on premises.
"We have a butcher that works 40 hours a week," he said. "We take all our vegetables in as whole product and have to clean them, cut them, everything within the restaurant. All the sauces that he makes are made on the premises as well.”
Though patrons won’t notice any big changes to their meals, one new food item that Sung plans to add to the menu this year is homemade pastas.
“That will be the main thing that will be different,” he said about the menu.
Terra GR expects to add classes and demonstrations by Wabeke, which will focus on how to prepare seasonally available products, and the restaurant may add an outreach coordinator to increase education about its food.
Sung said community outreach will be an important focus for the restaurant in its second year.
Sung also said that he's planning an interior renovation focused on highlighting more of the historic nature of the building the restaurant is housed in.
To prepare for the transition, the restaurant will be closed on Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16 and will re-open as Terra GR on Wednesday, July 17 at 11 a.m.