Group converting suburban restaurant into event space


The Quarter-Pound Burger. Courtesy Rockford Riverside Grille

A restaurant group is closing a suburban eatery and turning it into a space for banquets and events.

Grand Rapids-based Essence Restaurant Group said today it is “permanently closing” Rockford Riverside Grille, at 8 E. Bridge St. NE in Rockford, for regular restaurant and bar service and re-opening it as Rockford Riverside Grille Banquets & Events, beginning Oct. 1.

Essence Restaurant Group secured the space, formerly occupied by Reds on the River, and opened the Green Well Rockford gastropub in May 2017.

After deciding a more family-friendly concept was needed, the company re-branded the location as Rockford Riverside Grille in April.

It will now only host private functions.

“Our location overlooking the Rogue River will provide both indoor and outdoor space for folks planning events of all occasions and party sizes,” said Lauren Jaenicke, marketing director, Essence Restaurant Group.

Jaenicke said the group envisions the space “accommodating occasions like business luncheons, weddings, showers and holiday parties.”

James Berg, Essence Restaurant Group managing partner, said the move comes as a result of the company spending several months evaluating the Rockford market and determining where demand was headed.

“Moving forward, we will be able to focus more of our resources on our other three locations in Grand Rapids to continue providing extraordinary dining experiences for all our guests,” Berg said.

Essence Restaurant Group also owns Bistro Bella Vita, The Green Well and Grove, all in Grand Rapids.

Following Rockford Riverside Grille’s closure, patrons may redeem any of the brand’s gift cards at the restaurant company’s three Grand Rapids locations.

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