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The 11th annual Local First Street Party, presented by Founders Brewing Company, will be kicking off summer this Saturday. The festival of local food, drink, entertainment and music will begin at 3 p.m. outside of Bistro Bella Vita.
Small business owner, Torrence O’Haire, will be providing East Asian cuisine from his newest business, The Bandit Queen.
“Our focus is on a traditional Japanese ramen,” says O’Haire. “We’re setting it up like a traditional Japanese ramen bar but we’re using local and seasonal ingredients.”
Though The Bandit Queen will be serving food at the Street Party, the location is not yet open. O'Haire plans to open early this summer next to his other business, Propaganda Doughnuts.
The Bandit Queen is expected to provide a unique atmosphere for visitors.
“We’re setting up the design as sort of a turn-of-the-century, shipyard saloon,” says O’Haire. “[Imagine] this trade route that circumnavigates East Asia and follows the spice trade back to Western Europe: it brings back all of these traditions and all of these really interesting flavors.”
This will be O’Haire’s second time participating in the Local First Street Party.
“[The Street Party] is so much fun, such good energy [and] such a good crowd. It’s just such a cool day out. It’s a neat cross-section of ‘the best people in Grand Rapids,’” says O’Haire. “Local movers and shakers, families, students, artists… The uniting factor is that they’re just super interested that there’s cool stuff happening downtown.”
Local First, established in 2003, is an organization that promotes local business and educates the public about what local business can do for a thriving community.
“We are an economic development organization,” says Hanna Schulze, Program and Events Coordinator for Local First. “Our goal is to promote and educate the community about local businesses and what community grounded and local business can do to promote a vibrant community. We exist to bring together local businesses."
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Photo courtesy of Jonathan Stoner Photography.