Positively Maximize Guest Service!

Essence Restaurant Group creates extraordinary dining experiences with our family of concept restaurants known for exceptional service, knowledgeable associates, creative cuisine and superior beverage.

Local. Natural. Sustainable.

Our sustainable business practices and carefully chosen locations add value to the neighborhoods in which we do business. We were on the ground floor of the local food movement in Grand Rapids and we have become the local experts for healthy, farm-to-plate food.

Passion. Dedication. Satisfaction.

Our passion and purpose is to ensure healthy, balanced lifestyles for our associates and complete satisfaction for our guests from the moment you walk through our doors until you leave. This dedication is what sets us apart from other restaurants and encourages us to continually strive to be the best.

Essence Mission Statement:

To be West Michigan’s most respected restaurant destination through positively maximizing guest’s service with passionately created cuisine in a fun casual atmosphere. We accomplish this with servant leadership principles to ensure profitable financial performance, a creative driven culture, local, sustainable, and environmental business philosophies. Servant Leadership is the skill of influencing people with authority rather than power and using that personal influence to manage a team toward a shared goal and vision.

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Our Leadership

James Berg

James Berg

Partnership Team

Managing Partner, Essence Restaurant Group

James helped open Bistro Bella Vita back in 1996 and formed Essence Restaurant Group with his partners Executive Chef Patrick Wise and Jeffrey Gietzen in 2006 to become owners and operators of Bistro Bella Vita, The Green Well and now Grove. His goal is to continue to build a collection of restaurants that foster a socially conscious environment and healthy lifestyle for all those who contribute to them.

Patrick Wise

Patrick Wise

Partnership Team

Executive Chef, Essence Restaurant Group

Chef Patrick began his career with Essence at Bistro Bella Vita and is now Executive Chef overseeing the culinary teams at Grove, Bistro and The Green Well. His specialty is creating fresh, natural, seasonal cuisine with only the highest quality ingredients like local, chemical-free produce and local meats and cheeses. He believes in respecting the farmers who raise and grow his products as well as the tradition and history of the country his cuisine represents.

 
Brad Teachout

Brad Teachout

Partnership Team

General Manager, Bistro Bella Vita

Brad has been with Essence Restaurant Group for over eight years as a manager for Bistro Bella Vita. Brad and his staff pay close attention to every detail to ensure that each visit to Bistro is the best. Come in and see us soon and let Brad and his team treat you to the ultimate dining experience.

Jill Norris

Jill Norris

Management Team

General Manager, Grove

Jill has worked in the restaurant industry since the age of 15, and with Essence Restaurant Group since 2001. Despite earning her Biology degree from GVSU, she chose to stay in the food industry and pursue a career with a restaurant that was dedicated to local food. Bistro Bella Vita was the perfect fit.

 
Douglas Berg

Douglas Berg

Management Team

General Manager, The Green Well

Douglas has worked for Essence Restaurant Group for many years in different capacities. He also has a breadth of restaurant experience both in the kitchen, on the service floor and in management. He has a knack for making every guest feel as if they are the most important person dining in the restaurant, and his expertise in food, wine and dining are rivaled by few.

Jeff Gietzen

Jeff Gietzen

Partnership Team

Partner Advisor

Jeff’s business career consists of 30 years at D&W Food Centers culminating in his position as CEO and Vice Chair. Jeff played a key role as driver and supporter of many new and successful business ventures including Premier Foods, Inc., Sunrise Foods, LLC, Fresh Concepts, LLC, and Grand River Grocery. Jeff currently is a partner/owner of Essence Restaurant Group, and he divides his time among three main business interests: Midwest Capital Advisors, Essence Restaurant Group and Northwoods Hardware, as well as the Gietzen Family Office.