New Home – Webster’s Prime!

My sincere thanks go out to the entire Webster’s Prime staff, as well
as the loyal guests of this wonderful restaurant. I have been welcomed
with open arms and feel right at home here. So far, my experiences at
Webster’s Prime have been fantastic! The opportunity to learn a new
menu and work alongside such an amazing team has been great. I am so
excited for all that is still to come in my time here.

        Over the past eight years, I have had the great pleasure of working
for Greenleaf Hospitality Group. My employment here has given me the
chance to work in a variety of roles throughout the food and beverage
department of the company. Without a doubt, my time here has given me
a great number of opportunities to learn and grow in my career.

        My journey began with the opening of Zazio’s in 2004. I came to
Greenleaf as a Western Michigan University student, simply looking for
a kitchen job to learn about cooking and help pay the bills. However,
it was through my experiences here, that I developed a love for the
hospitality industry, as well as a love for Kalamazoo. After
time spent working as a line cook under Zazio’s Executive Chef John
 Korycki and Webster’s Executive Chef Stefan Johnson (who
was then Zazio’s Sous Chef), I decided to make the move to the
front of the house at Zazio’s. Within my new role, I was fortunate
to experience everything that world class hospitality has to
offer. After graduating,I spent time serving, bartending, planning
and executing events, creating bar menus, and eventually managing.

        As my career path led me to different parts of the company, I have
had the opportunity to experience a great number of the things that
our downtown Kalamazoo location has to offer. Here, world class
hospitality is combined with a wonderful hotel, four restaurants, a
salon and spa, retail outlets, banquet facilities, and much more all
under one roof! With recent renovations, the property is looking
better than ever; brand new guest rooms, a new grand ball room, and
new lobby features are just a start. These improvements are a
testament to the constant growth and improvement our company strives
for.

        Working in a restaurant allows me to experience new people, foods and
beverages daily. Each day brings its own unique triumphs and
challenges – no day is ever the same. Through the busyness of it all,
I strive for improvement each day, always keeping the goal of
delivering great and memorable experiences for each and every guest in
mind. We hope to have you as a new or return guest in Webster’s Prime
soon so that you can experience for yourself all that this amazing
restaurant has to offer. Stop in and say hello!
 
Cheers!

Ryan Cunningham
Restaurant Manager

Claim triumph over the Tasting Room beer list…

As a prior bartender I cannot believe I did not think of this sooner!  Inspired by a recent regular, young professional, and now friend, Andrew, I have decided to make my way through the Webster’s Prime beer list.  He did it over the course of a few weeks, stopping in on Wednesdays and Fridays, during Hoppy Hour.  He is the only guest (to my knowledge) who has claimed triumph over the Tasting Room beer list, and I intend to seize the challenge! 

The Beer List Title Holder, Himself!

Now I did the math, if I were to stop into the Tasting Room twice a week, during hoppy hour, I could drink my way through the list in oooohhh, about ten weeks.  That would be enjoying four microbrews a week.  Here’s the crazy part, it would only cost me $91.00 in total.  That number may seem large, but it really isn’t!  It’s $9.10 a week on Michigan Craft Beer (and not all of them are 12 oz!)

Excluding the domestic brews, I will focus on the Michigan Craft Beer & Hard Cider list that the Webster’s Prime Tasting Room has to offer.  The current beer list has 41 brews, ALL from Michigan!  Arbor, Arcadia, Atwater, Bell’s, Brewery Vivant, Dark Horse, Dragonmead, Founder’s, Mt. Pleasant, New Holland, Saugatuck, Short’s, and Tri-City to name a few of the breweries that they feature!

Ahhh…I’m salivating just thinking about a nice, juicy, house cured,
Pastrami sandwich, and an ice cold Michigan beer, in the Webster’s
Prime Tasting Room.  It really is the simple things in life.
Siiiggghhhh 🙂

So, here we go, I started at the top of the list, with Arbor Brewing Company.  Brewed in Ypsilanti, MI.  I enjoyed their Brasserie Blonde Ale, and their Espresso Love.

The Brasserie Blonde Ale was 12 oz of pure joy, definitely my type of beer.  Even the photo on the label made me smile.  I can picture myself enjoying this ice cold brew on the shores of Lake Michigan, on a hot summer day.  Verrrryyy easy to drink, light hops, almost reminded me of a Belgian Pale Style.  What is a Belgian Pale Style, you might ask?

Brasserie Blonde Ale

Belgian Pales were originally designed to compete with Pilsner style beers, Pilsner being your more common American beers, such as Budweiser.  They are light, fruity, and very drinkable.
They also have more of that “cloudy,” deep color to them, likely from the starch or the yeast used in the brewing process.

This Blonde Ale was beautiful inside and out, cloudy in appearance and a nice amber hue.  Very good, very smooth, a little sediment in the bottom of the glass, overall I highly recommend stopping in and having a pint of this!

The Espresso Love, not so much my style.  This beer is a Breakfast Stout, using oatmeal and coffee in the brewing process.  Stouts are your darker, heavier beers, like the oh so popular, Guinness.

The 12 oz. Espresso Love was dark black in color, like a dark cup of coffee. But is it just me, or do some stouts taste like steel?  I swear I had the taste of steel, and metallic on my palate the entire time…with a slight hint of coffee.  This beer even smelled like Iron.  I’ve tried some other stouts in the past, and they had the same affect on me.  Who knows, maybe I’m crazy, but I probably won’t be ordering this beer again.  Maybe Stouts are your thing?  If they are, give it a shot, at least the name is very cool!

Espresso Love

All in all, the moral to the story, is Hoppy Hour in Webster’s Prime, is where you should stop after a long day at the office.  Monday – Friday 5:00 -7:00 p.m. ½ Off all beer!  That includes the ever changing draft selection.  Stop in today, and start your own, beer list challenge.

Alana Fisher
Event Coordinator

Chefs still cook at home…

As chefs, we are always trying to sharpen our skills, expand our base of knowledge, and fill our bag of tricks to meet any challenge that might present itself in the restaurant. We are always thinking of new ways to improve what we currently cook, new techniques to make our food better, and new dishes to grab the attention of our guests. But not all of this is done in the restaurant, as being a chef and a cook involves way more than actual cooking while at work. Much of this brainstorming and experimentation (at least in my case) is done at home, and our loved ones are subject to our successes and failures. I still love to cook at home, the pace of the restaurant and the grind of a job in the world of hospitality have not changed my love of playing with food…

“Grill Wok” best invention ever?

I purchased a cheap grill wok a while back (maybe 15 dollars or so) and have never looked back. The simple grill “wok” is a perforated metal basket which allows the heat, smoke, and char of a hot grill to get to your small food bits without them falling through the grates. Take, for instance, onions. You want to grill a couple sliced onions for your steak, what do you do before the magic of grill wok? You slice them uniformly, carefully salt and pepper each side and brush with a little oil, artfully arrange them on the grates and are very careful to turn each one and not let them slinky apart into little onion rings which love to fall through to their fiery end. All of this careful tong work, fingertip burning, and inevitable loss of precious onion goodness and what are you left with? I would venture 60-70% of what you started with if you are really good, the rest of your delicious onions are going the way of the coals* below. Onions are cheap, yes, but the eye burning, smelly fingers, and attempt at perfect slices should merit at least a 95% success rate on the grill.

This dream is now a reality with grill wok. Just sliver the onion, no slicing necessary. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and dump haphazardly into the hot wok. Toss, turn, or stir frequently with tongs until your desired level of charred awesomeness is reached. Your family will love you for your abundance of grilled onions, whose uses are endless and versatility unmatched. Many chefs say bacon makes everything better, maybe they have not met grilled onions. Please don’t limit the usefulness of your grill wok to just onion, it is great for fajitas, stir fry, roasted tomatoes, sausage and peppers, meatballs, Brussels sprouts, you name the awkward item that you want grilled, the grill wok will deliver. Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already, and stop grilling in the past… get a grill wok.


*(yes, coals, like on a charcoal grill, different discussion.)

Jud McMichael
Sous Chef

Webster’s has dry aged beef!

We are excited and proud to offer 28 day dry aged beef in the restaurant.  Working with Striploins of both Prime grade and Certified Angus, cutting steaks in house and enjoying the journey.  Ever had dry aged beef?  We’ll put it side by side with 21 day wet aged (normal grocery store range) so you can taste the difference.

We’re sad to say that summer is coming to an end, but you can still stop in and say hello to our friends at the outdoor K’zoo Farmer’s Market, maybe see you there some Saturday.  Lucky to have local Michigan heirloom tomatoes finally, pairing them with a true Mozzarella di bufala from Campania, Italy, a dash of smoked sea salt, artisanal balsamic and first pressed olive oil.  A sprinkling of Michigan organic sweet basil and the Caprese salad is complete.

 

 

 

Stefan Johnson
Executive Chef
General Manager

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