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venue was challenging. Everything here was so huge or so small.” For this venture, the Vanden-

Bergs are taking on some additional help as well. Mark Sellers, owner of downtown hotspots HopCat, The Viceroy, and Stella’s Lounge, “identified the same vacuum in the market, so after some negotiation we decided to partner with him,” Tami said. Aside from an excellent music

venue, patrons of The Pyramid Scheme should expect the same fun atmosphere and strong drinks that regulars of The Meanwhile and the Seller’s bars have come to enjoy. Construction on The Pyramid

Scheme began in mid-November and the bar should be open by spring 2011. By Nick Manes

u 68 Commerce SW, Grand Rapids

NEW BAND The Little

Village Some bands are too poppy and could use a little weirdness to make their songs more innovative. Others are just too weird and could use a little more poppiness to make their songs catchier. Fortunately, Grand Rapids-based rockers The Little Village have healthy doses of weird and pop, resulting in a sound that’s not only creative but utterly infectious. The Little Village consists of

frontman/guitarist Rob Froh, lead guitarist Dan Fisher, bassist Mat Churchill, and drummer Dan Vocino. Its scorching, sometimes abrasive guitar riffs take on their own strange rhythms, making for a sound that would do Frank Black of the Pixies proud. Yet, The Little Village also has traces of ‘60s surf rock, garage rock, and even some Pet Sounds thrown into the mix. The band played its first

show at the Division Avenue Arts Cooperative immediately after offi- cially forming, and has been playing ever since. The Little Village will be releasing its full-length, self-titled debut in early 2011. Band members have been fairly

hush-hush about the album thus far. Still, Churchill assures listeners that there is plenty to look forward to. “I just really hope that people can have fun with the album, you


know, listen to it in their cars on the way to the beach in the summer or out on their bikes or at a party.” By Justin Stover

u Sounds like: Pixies, Black Lips, Pavement /


Brewery Vivant Husband and wife duo Jason and Kris Spaulding opened Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids’ East Hills neighborhood at the end of December. Jason, who also co- founded New Holland Brewing Company, had been searching for an ideal space for a neighborhood brewery that would specialize in Belgian and French beers since leaving NHBC in 2005. The Spauldings found a home

for Brewery Vivant in a former fu- neral home chapel. Jason describes the building as very “Belgianesque,” with a high, wood-beamed ceiling and an archway that evokes the dark coziness of a Trappist monastery. “Lots of breweries make one or

two, but we’re focusing on exploring that style of beer,” Jason says of his focus on Belgians. “It’s what we’re most passionate about.” The brewery offers 10 to 12

Belgian and French brews on tap, including Triumph, a Belgian-style IPA brewed with American hops, and Farm Hand, a lighter-bodied French farmhouse-style ale. “There’s a lot of things we can

do within that constraint to get very creative and push style guidelines,” Jason says of the artisanal brewing style. “It’s going to be fun.”

Brewery Vivant PHOTO: TYLER CARD The microbrewery also collabo-

rates with Michigan grape growers to produce its own wines, and chef Drew Turnipseed built a full menu with dishes created specifically to complement and enhance the brews. “Belgian styles have nuances

and undertones that lend them- selves to food very well,” Jason said. “People are used to matching wine and food, but don’t necessarily grasp the same concept with beer, which can actually be paired much better with food.” By Kelly Quintanilla

u 925 Cherry St., Grand Rapids

NEW DISTILLERY Beverage Solutions

Technologies Craft brewing is here to stay, but whether local, artisanal distilling

LaFontsee Galleries moves from its Monroe Ave. location (pictured) in 2011.

will grow similarly is still up for debate. A few enterprising businesses are ahead of the curve, but none is as versatile or innovative as Amir Haririan’s new venture. Beverage Solutions Tech-

nologies, or BeST, is poised to fill your small-batch liquor needs as Grand Rapids’ newest distillery. BeST is different from other area producers in that customers can have a role in crafting a product. Spirits, sports and energy drinks, enhances waters, even ready-to-drink cocktails can be customized with their Private Label service. Customers can decide exactly

what sort of liquor they want and in what quantity, and BeST will craft a bespoke product. BeST takes care of all the dirty work, from market research, to distilling, to legal fil- ing, caring for your special brew from start to finish. Should one be looking for the perfect gift for the savvy drinker, or planning an event around a signature cocktail, BeST fills large and small orders to fit any need. As exciting as one’s own, per-

sonalized liquor may seem, even more interesting is BeST’s ready-to- drink service. BeST will craft custom drinks including spirits and mixers prepackaged together as a complete beverage. Any cocktail can be pre- mixed and individually packaged. Not only does this remove error from mixing drinks, but makes per- fect cocktails 100 percent portable, making mixed drinks as easy as popping open a beer. Camping and tailgating may never be the same. BeST can be contacted online at

NEW BAND: The Little Village PHOTO: RYAN PAVLOVICH By Lydia Clowney


Miky Johnson Miky Johnson crafts gourmet pub grub food that is savored and enjoyed regardless of circumstance, so much so, people should be punished for referring to it simply as “pub grub.” A homegrown local, Johnson may be remembered for his previous excellent edible indel- ible endeavors at Till Midnight. Drop by the casually classy Salt & Pepper Savory Grill & Pub — only open since September — and cram your maw with spicy Italian sausage and boursin cheese-stuffed ‘shroom caps baked in au jus, basking in the afterglow of Lobster Mac & Cheese, or a 14 oz aged Waukazoo rib eye topped with gorgonzola. By Matt Simpson Siegel

u Executive Chef, Salt & Pepper Savory Grill & Pub / 11539 E. Lakewood Blvd., Holland /, (616) 355-5501

NEW GALLERY LaFontsee Galleries/ Underground

Studio LaFontsee Galleries/Underground Studio is planning a spring/summer 2011 move to join the tight-knit group of East Hills businesses. Owner Scott LaFontsee anticipates what the move will bring to the gal- lery and the community.

Continued on page 34 8


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