Restaurant group replaces gastropub in suburb

The Quarter-Pound Burger. Courtesy Rockford Riverside Grille

A restaurant group is converting its riverfront gastropub in the area into a more “family friendly” concept.

Grand Rapids-based Essence Restaurant Group said today it is putting the finishing touches on a renovation of the former Green Well Rockford, at 8 E. Bridge St. NE, to convert it into Rockford Riverside Grille.

The new restaurant will open tomorrow.

“Over the course of our first year of operations in Rockford, we collected a lot of honest feedback from our patrons, so we took that to heart and decided to offer a new concept that we feel will be a better fit for the area,” said James Berg, managing partner, Essence Restaurant Group.

“We love Rockford and want to continue establishing our roots and be here for the long haul, so we’re hopeful this re-imagining of the space will help drive more traffic to this destination in downtown Rockford.”

The venue will feature live music on the patio during the warmer months.


Rockford Riverside Grille will offer a kids menu and “American-inspired comfort dishes,” such as nachos, bacon-wrapped meatloaf, grilled salmon, sandwiches, salads and more.

Staff and hiring

Long-time Essence chef Jeff Finan will serve as the head chef at Rockford Riverside Grille.

Finan most recently served as head chef at The Green Well Gastro Pub in Grand Rapids.

Current staff will be retained, and Essence plans to hire additional employees.


The restaurant will be open noon-9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

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