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Michigan-made menu

Matt DeYoung • May 14, 2018 at 12:00 AM

When it comes to Pure Michigan, Josh and Katie Sandberg are all in.

The owners of the Paisley Pig restaurant in Grand Haven are proud to feature Michigan products in many of their menu items, including nearly all of their proteins and plenty of produce, as well. They say it’s an important way to give back to the community while providing their customers with a unique dining experience.

“Our big focus is on Michigan,” said Josh Sandberg, who was the executive chef at The Hearthstone in Muskegon before opening the Paisley Pig in June 2017. “We use as much Michigan items as we can.”

Katie Sandberg added: “Being from Michigan, we wanted to give back to the community any way we can. I’d rather give my hard-earned money to a local farmer than to a farmer in California I don’t know.”

The Sandbergs buy their deli meat and bacon from Louie’s in Traverse City. Their wings come from Little Town Jerky in the Upper Peninsula and their pork comes from Devries in Coopersville.

During the summer, they hit up the local farmers markets for fresh produce.

“We’ll jump down to the farmers market to do some shopping there, and we pull in some other produce from Michigan farmers like asparagus when it’s in season, fresh fruit and apples,” Josh Sandberg said.

He’s most excited about the beef that the Paisley Pig serves.

“We’re proud to be involved with Michigan Craft Beef,” Josh Sandberg said. “They have a farm in Zeeland, and their main ranch is in the Upper Peninsula. They have thousands of head of cattle in the U.P. He’s getting the cherry juice left over from the crushing of cherries in the Traverse City market, and he’s pulling in spent grain from local breweries, making a mash out of it and he feeds that to the cows. As a result, the meat is a little darker, and it has little hints of cherry.”

The Paisley Pig uses that beef in its burgers, as well as its various steaks.

When the Sandbergs opened the restaurant a year ago, they weren’t sure how the community would react to their offerings, which are admittedly higher priced due to the plethora of local ingredients.

“When we were looking at the restaurant, at our brand, we realized there was a need for it, where we could really focus on doing as much with produce and proteins being Michigan based,” Josh said.

Katie added: “It is more expensive, but a lot of people are willing to absorb that. Not everyone understands. They assume that if you’re buying local, it’s cheaper.”

Josh said: “I feel people want to support local businesses, and that’s why they come here, to support an independent restaurant. For us to be able to do the same thing for the local farmers, it goes full circle.”

The Sandbergs were told that opening a restaurant in Grand Haven would be a mistake — that there wouldn’t be enough business during the bleak winter months to keep the doors open. Those critics couldn’t have been more wrong, the Sandbergs said.

“It has exceeded our expectations,” Josh said. “We’ve had a 45 minute to an hour wait every Friday and Saturday night through the winter. We’re so grateful.”

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