The idea behind Bartertown Diner comes from many years in the restaurant business. Over the years we have seen the restaurant world get turned upside down. We have seen huge places opening that serve 50 to 200 people, and cooks working like auto workers on the assembly line to feed them all. We have seen the focus of food get pushed to the back of the room while the focus on cheap labor and low food cost has taken a front seat. We see giant freezers filled with frozen out-of-season food. Tomatoes don’t grow in West Michigan in January so why does every place have them? We as chefs want to take back the food and serve it to you the way it was meant to be: fresh and local. We are craftsmen and want to have the space to perform our craft for you. At Bartertown education is the key. We will not hide recipes from you. We will have classes on cooking raw/vegan and vegi dishes, and what it means to eat this way. Our focus will also be on the having a simple diner atmosphere that will be fun and exciting to visit for all.
Bartertown will also be without bosses and managers. We are worker run, and this means anybody working at Bartertown will be suited to help you in any way possible. We want to create a sustainable working environment for all of us. We believe in collectively working as one to create the best possible restaurant for us and you.
We will also be running different programs to involve the community. One will be our guest Chef program. This will be a program inviting people from the area to come in and do a menu for a day. This is part of the way we will be changing the restaurant all the time. One day you could get one menu and the next another one. One day Indian cuisine and the next a celebration of pizza. We want to keep it fresh, new, and exciting.
We hope this project will be great benefit to the community of Grand Rapids. Please feel free to contact us anytime with any questions. We hope to have the chance to make you some of the best food you ever had.