GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A couple hopes their new Grand Rapids storefront will bring your family around the dinner table.
Jason and Kate McClearen are growing the business they started 10 years ago, The Everyday Chef and Wife, and renaming it Partage. They currently offer catering, personal chef experiences and have a food truck, but they are expanding with a storefront that will open in the former Cherry Street Deli spot at 834 Cherry St. SE near Lake Drive.
“We had our feelers out for a while and then we heard that Cherry Street Deli was available; unfortunately they had to shut down. It’s like an iconic place in Grand Rapids and we were sad to see it go,” Kate McClearen said. “We were just like, ‘That’s a pipe dream. Like there’s no way we could get that.’ And then we got it and we were just so excited.”
TO THE DINNER TABLE
‘Partage’ comes from the French word ‘partager,’ which means ‘to share.’ The storefront will offer things like homemade treats, snacks and meals to go. It will not be open late for dinner, the couple explained, as they work towards sustainability in the kitchen and their employees’ personal lives.
“We’re just going to be open long enough for people to come by and get some food to take back to their house and get people back around the dinner table,” Jason McClearen said.
The couple believes that getting people around the dinner table helps grow a healthy community.
“We think that just by simply listening to each other, we can understand where everybody’s coming from, even within your own family,” Kate McClearen said. “We just want to be able to have a part in helping people come back together and really listen to each other and to connect.”
“Food does this magical thing where it breaks down barriers,” her husband added.
Jason McClearen, who said he “fell in love with how food brings people together” at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, said they are trying to change food service to make it more sustainable. Not only do they want to encourage customers to gather around the dinner table, but they want it to be possible for employees to do that, too.
If you are interested in working for Partage, email email@example.com.
While they can’t yet announce an open date due to contracting challenges, Partage already offers ‘sidedoor sammies’: soups, sandwiches and specials that customers can order and pick up from the side door of the restaurant.
The couple said sidedoor sammies was a way to bridge the gap between now and when the storefront opens.
There has been a great response to the business’ expansion and the sidedoor sammies, the couple said.
“People have been responding on social media and reaching out, which has really touched us because you never really know what the response is going to be when you start something like this,” Kate McClearen said.
“This neighborhood in specific, they’ve been chomping at the bit to like, ‘Hey, we are so excited to support you. When are you going to have the front open?’ It’s just people walking by,” Jason McClearen said. “It’s been really awesome. They’ve been understanding and patient and then also encouraging.”
‘BRIDGE ANY GAPS’
The new storefront will allow them to add onto the variety of services they offer. Right now they offer grazing tables that can act as centerpieces for events. Customers will be able to pick up grazing boxes at the store that can be taken out for things like picnics and date nights.
The couple said they hope to offer a wide range of services at different price points to make it accessible.
“We want to be able to help bridge any gaps, fill any gaps that we can for our customers. And so we’re trying to find ways to make our food accessible for as many people as possible,” Kate McClearen said.
The Everyday Chef and Wife has grown over the last few years with the pandemic because of their mobile kitchen and the couple is excited to start the new journey as Partage.
“We’re really excited to get back to serving the general public. We have a real passion for community. We think that food is a community builder and it breaks down barriers and we just want to help people get back around the dinner table,” Kate McClearen said.
For more information about the storefront and the other services Partage offers — including a private chef experience with six- to 12-course meals — go to experiencepartage.com.