To start the day off, the Direct Trade Coffee Club coffee we get is now available for $2 a cup, after tax. We’ve talked to the people at DTCC and feel that offering coffee by the cup is best for everyone involved. Those who only want a cup won’t have to pay $3, there will be less waste, and we’ll still be able to offer excellent, fairly sourced coffee directly from farms we can build relationships with.
For smaller bites, we’re bringing back a sauteed greens appetizer. Collard greens are sauteed with grilled onions and tempeh sausage and drizzled with a cajun spiced aioli for $8.
On the sandwich menu, our new breakfasty sandwich is called the Johann Sebrunchtian Bach, and comes with jalapeno peanut butter, a seasonal jam, tofu omelette, tempeh bacon, and dairy or vegan cheese on Little Rooster’s wild rice and onion bread. The Pretzeldential Sweet has marinated tempeh, caramelized onions, creamy coleslaw, vegan havarti cheese spread, and sweet BBQ sauce on a homemade pretzel bun. The Havin’a Panini comes with sweet and smoky marinated tofu, pickled root veggies, vegan cheese and homemade mustard on a hoagie bun with a side of Cuban style black beans. And on the side of all our sandwiches, you get Garden of Eatin’ blue corn tortilla chips (unless you’d like to upgrade to a featured daily side for $1).
You can also count on favorites like the Chickpea Melt, the Michigander, Tofu Rancheros and $2 Tacos sticking around for a while. There will be more raw plate specials showing up on our board, too, now that more fresh veggies are becoming available from our local farms.
We really hope you enjoy all the new items we’ve come up with, just as much as the old standbys. Lunch hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, and we’re extending brunch to 3 p.m. on Saturdays, so expect changes to that menu in the near future, too!
Hello workers of the world!
May Day is a special day for us at Bartertown, as it is for many other worker-run establishments and IWW associated groups across the globe. As such, we will not be open tomorrow In observance of this holiday. We are grateful for all your continued support and hope that you can pass on the love to other workers you meet along the way tomorrow, too. We will see you all Thursday, and Workers of the World Unite!
Did you know It’s VegWeek 2013? John Salley does.
In celebration, Bartertown Diner will be open during our regular business hours all week long, we will continue to offer the same vegetarian and vegan menu, and we will knock your socks off with the specials you’ve come to know and love.
Basically, nothing is changing here, and as if that wasn’t already a great way to support VegWeek 2013, we’ll be offering new punch cards at the front counter for the rest of April!
As usual, the cards are $150 and are good for 30 entree redemptions (one per day) between May 1 and August 31, 2013. They aren’t good for drinks or deli items and do NOT include the tip, but you likely knew that already. John Salley did.
As many of you know, Ryan Cappelletti is leaving Bartertown Diner to open Cult Pizza two doors down. tonight, Friday, March 29, will be his last shift with us, so come on down for dinner to see what he’s got up his sleeve. Here’s a few parting words:
This Friday will be my last shift as head chef at Bartertown diner and It’s been a wild, wild ride to say the least!
I signed the lease on the space back on December 1, 2010 when we scored 6 months of free rent and a chance to make this dream come true. In that time we ripped down walls, we tore up floors, and learned how to make a functioning restaurant one mess up at a time. We went through it all in that time and at points it felt like this just was not going to happen. We had no money and were wither with no jobs or working dead end jobs, and debts to pay. We would get get $50 and we spend half on beer to stay sane and half on paint to get something done. Some days seemed hopeful and some days seemed very bleak. Either way, we knew that if somehow could just stay dedicated we could make this happen.
We had so many ideas; all the talk of change in an industry that desperately needed it. We also built a strong community of supporters that we could not let down. Even during the local protest of Bartertown for the murals of Che Guevara and Mao along with Ronny Reagan, we knew we could not back down. We want and need this in west Michigan. A no bullshit, no front kinda joint; just good food and honest people. We plowed through the local protesters with the help of friends like the IWW union and a strong community that wanted Bartertown diner to open.
After all that, we finally opened on June 23, 2011! On the first day we lost power, on the second day we set off the sprinkler system, and on the third day I think power went out again.
We only had one choice and that was to move forward and keep putting out awesome food. I recall the first complaint: the caller asked for a free coupon for a sandwich that she said was awful and I said, “Well let’s talk about this,”
“No, I just want a free sandwich,” she replied.
So, I said, “Well we don’t just hand out free coupons, lets figure this out and discuss it like normal people.”
This blew her mind and she had no idea how to react. We wanted people to understand that we are humans, we are servers not servants, and we don’t think the customer is always right because that makes no sense to us nor should it to you. We’ve supported the idea of worker rights and treating workers with respect for the entire time we’ve been open, and still do, but Bartertown is lucky because it started with a group of people who truly understood it!
For the most part, I truly love the people who come into Bartertown. I feel like you are all family and I truly loved feeding you all.
Bartertown is living proof that your dreams can come true even in a town where it seems that money rules and churches trump everything, we are still winning! If want to make change in your city, then do it. If you have a crazy idea, just follow through with it. People will tell you you’re crazy and they will just push you aside but you just have to keep pushing back. I always said since the start of Bartertown, I never cared about making it, I just cared about being remembered. I am no business man, I just have passion and that is worth more than money.
To all who thought this idea would fail or never work: well, simply put, you’re wrong. It did work. Che is still up and we are still open. To all those who have supported this since day one, I thank you so much!
Some people who this would have never happened without:My girlfriend Onya Jackson for getting laid off for 6 months and, instead of looking for a job, painted and scraped walls, this would not have happened without you.John Bauer who was the first person to hop on board. Diane Capen and Matt Graves and the entire Graves family for constant support throughout this, no matter what. Scott Steiner for your support, help and friendship. My wife Claire Graves for simply believing in this and supporting us all while we built Bartertown. The Haltemans; without this family, vegan food in GR would not be the same. The Wolpas; another source of constant support, and another great family. Charlie Ham for all the inspiration in the world and to our future together, you keep growing it and I will keep cooking it. Devon and Green Wagon farms. Brian at Vivant for all the beer. Brian Edwards for believing in this for some reason. Chad Morton for all you do and still do. Mark and Jude, the worst customers Bartertown ever had!! Angela Topp for all the help and support. Mike Bussler and Dylan Putman for your hard work in the beginning. Even vegangr.com; Jon and Kolene, even though you protested it at first. Jeremy from Deliciosity, the most consistent dessert maker in the business. All the inaccurate journalism that GR may be known for. No worries Tommy Allen, I still love you. Naomi for all the awesome book work and keeping me out of jail. And finally to all the workers at Bartertown, you all rule! Thanks for dealing with all my shit and the craziness which is Bartertown. To the future owners, Matt Russell, Kate Krause, Megan Shannahan, Onya Jackson, and Tara Inso, I love you all so much and know you will take this to the next level. To all the vegans, veg heads, meat eaters, suit and tie guys, Christians, Catholics, Commies, Capitalists, queer, straight, trannies, punks, hippies, freaks and normals: Thanks for all getting along and eating at Bartertown, and I hope to see you all in Cult Pizza in a week or so. In the mighty words of Rowdy Roddy Piper, “you haven’t seen nothing yet!”
Do you know how it was prepared?
Do you know where to get those ingredients yourself?
These aren’t questions we expect every guest to be asking when they eat at Bartertown Diner, but they are easily answered. Food education has always been a main focus at Bartertown, and some of our workers are extending that focus beyond the dining room.
Collective member Matt “Dubs” Wrobleski, has been hosting “Cooking with a Bartertown Chef” classes at 6 p.m. Sundays at Tree Huggers, located at 947 Wealthy St. SE, for a few months now. More recently, Dubs has been holding similar classes at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, located at 100 Sheldon Blvd. SE.
“No fees, no sign up. Just show up, watch, learn, snack, ask me anything, offer to buy me a beer or a food truck,” he said. “They’re pretty casual. Classes at the Adventist church are more of a here and there thing, though I’m working towards making them more consistent.”
Dubs’ main focus in each of these classes is to show how simple and efficient eating a plant-based diet can be, along with eliminating the ideas that a vegan diet requires a lot of work or that only rich people can afford it.
“When I was jobless, I survived off of potatoes, onions, rice, and beans,” he said. “I had to budget.”
But even those with gainful employment can appreciate the benefits of anchoring meals with basic mainstays.
“…like making meatballs or burgers out of a grain, a bean, a binder, and flavor. Or cheese sauces made from oats, wheat flour, and sunflower seeds,” he said.
Eating healthfully is important, too. And when it comes to nutrition, Dubs maintains that sprouted grains have a lot to offer. He has led demonstrations in sprouting everything from garbanzo beans, to lentils, to quinoa.
“I recently did a demo in long sprouted wheat and we got into an open discussion about its versatility,” he said. “You can take that sprouted grain and eat it as is, or you could grow it into wheat grass and use it in smoothies or feed it to your cat. You could dehydrate it at 104 degrees and grind it into sprouted flour. You can even submerse it in water and make a ferment called rejuvelac.”
Kombucha tea is growing in popularity, and often sells out quite fast in the diner’s front deli case. Dubs has held one kombucha class in the past that he intends to expand into multiple workshops, providing attendees a SCOBY for starting cultures of their own.
The classes Dubs has led and those he and other collective members have planned for the future aren’t aimed at scaring up any business for the restaurant, selling you some sort of product, or playing off your emotions to encourage veganism, although most of the products used are available within Tree Huggers, harvested from local farms, and used in dishes at Bartertown. The main goal is to educate people on food and turn them on to the benefits of an efficient, plant-based diet, purely through rational demonstration.
“We have approached a point in mankind’s development where we have to switch to a more efficient method of resource consumption,” Dubs said. “It’s about humanity as a whole, whether you love animals or not. On the personal level, learning to cook a vegan diet will give you a better understanding of food, and how little you need if you prepare it in a fashion that maximizes nutrition.”
Of course, saving money, time and the earth’s resources aren’t the only benefits with this sort of diet.
“You are limiting or eliminating your risk of dying from a number of degenerative diseases,” Dubs said. “Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, etc… plus all these other problems developing as we slowly slip away from nature.”
It was Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, who once entertained the idea to let food be thy medicine. Dubs maintains that this opinion works both ways: treat your food with care and knowledge, and it will offer the same to you.
If you’ve been by our restaurant in the past few weeks, you may have noticed that the space south of Bartertown is starting to change. The Bloom Collective, “an infoshop and lending library providing resources to inspire radical social change,” is settling in nicely, and has a grand opening planned for March 9.
Before the infoshop opens, the Bloom Collective is hoping to raise money to pay down some rent and construction expenses. They’ve hit over 40% of their fundraising goal and recently received a promise of up to $2,000 in matching donations for every donation that comes in this week. Watch their video and learn more about what a donation means to them here.
Bartertown is very excited about this new neighbor, and our collective hopes that many others will come to use and appreciate the Bloom Collective often, once it is up and running. Memberships are offered for a sliding scale of $15 or more per year, allowing members to check out materials. The Bloom Collective also organizes, facilitates and/or cosponsors radical events in the community and provides a safe space for radical political ideas to form, evolve, and circulate.
There will be more details to come on how to help the infoshop out.
We’ve rolled out a new winter menu today. Keeping the focus on locally grown, organic produce, we’ve had to leave out items like squash and greens for the time being, but there are still plenty of root crops, different types of cabbage and other fruits and vegetables to take their places. Find the full text of the menu on our “menu” page.
Not only will you get a delicious deal by buying one of these 30-meal punch cards (good for one entree a day, 30 times, between Jan. 1 and April 31, 2013), you’ll help us make some improvements to the diner, and expand next door with Bread Square Bakery! We’ll be opening West Michigan’s first all-vegan bakery, from which you can expect to see breads, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, baking classes, cookie of the month clubs, a cookbook and more. These punch cards go on sale today for the usual price of $150 each. We will be selling them until New Years Eve, so snag one for yourself, for a gift for someone else, or for the BEST RESOLUTION EVER!
Expect to see more perks for Bread Square being offered soon, but in the mean time, get your punch card and come eat some of the best tasting, most healthful and cruelty free food Michigan has to offer!
We’re going to be closed Monday, Oct. 8. Art Prize really pushed us to the limit and, although we are so happy to have been so busy the last few weeks, we are exhausted and we’ll be taking Monday off to recuperate and stock up on some essential supplies.
See you Tuesday!