GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - The freshest, tastiest meals you'll find in Grand Rapids will pop up in 60 different restaurants in just six days.
Grand Rapids Restaurant Week kicks off Wednesday, August 15th.
The 10-day eating experience was moved from November to mid-August to coincide with the West Michigan harvest.
So instead of the late fall root vegetables, you'll see fresh summer produce like zucchini, squash, green beans, watermelon, and blueberries mixed into dishes.
"There's just a number of great, great products out there that you can utilize. Lots of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, there's just so much coming up this time of year, it's just wonderful to be able to take advantage of it," said John Taylor, sous chef at Blue Water Grill.
Experience GR VP of Marketing Janet Korn says the concern has been the summer's record heat and lack of rain, which raised havoc on the crops.
But after talking with restaurants, Korn says though quantity has been affected, the quality of produce hasn't.
She hopes that will entice people to come out, and feed the local economy.
"(Restaurant Week) tends to drive over $1 million worth of restaurant business, and one of the exciting parts of our program is for the last two years, every $1 for every restaurant meal has actually gone to form a scholarship at the Secchia Institute for Culinary Arts Community College," she said.
Korn says if last year is any indication, the event will show benefits far beyond the 10-day feast.
"Some of the restaurants have reported really great, extended sales into future months. But I think the restaurant industry as a whole is overall doing really well," she said.
Korn is expecting a different crowd of people because it's still summer; she says friends and relatives are visiting, and there's still tourists traveling along the lakeshore.
If you haven't done so already, you're encouraged to make reservations at your favorite spots because space will fill up quickly.
Click below for a list of all 60 restaurants and their menus.
Grand Rapids Restaurant Week