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 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.
Jeff was Vice President of Operations and President of Arrow Door Company from 1984 to 2006. He also served as a President of Quality Panel, Inc and Grand Rapids Architectural Door, Inc during this time. In addition to other activities, he is also currently the managing partner of J & L Holding, LLC. Prior to that, he practiced law in Detroit from 1981 to 1984. His diverse legal and business background help strengthen the Essence management team and provide necessary support for future company growth.
Chef Patrick Wise began his career at Essence Restaurants as an apprentice at Bistro Bella Vita in 1997 and then went on to become the Executive Chef in 2001. After becoming a partner of Essence Restaurant Group in 2006 and then Executive Chef at Grove in 2011, he has now accepted the title of Chief Culinary Officer for Essence Restaurant Group. Check Patrick oversees all aspects of the food operations at each Essence Restaurant Group establishment.