contact our team

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James Berg

Managing Partner

James helped open Bistro Bella Vita back in 1996 and formed Essence Restaurant Group with his partners 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.


[email protected]

Hillary Edwards

Managing Director

Hillary began working for Essence Restaurant Group in 1997 at Bistro Bella Vita just one month after their grand opening. Today, Hillary operates as Managing Director and Human Resources for Essence Restaurants—a group who is, both literally and figuratively, her family. She thrives off of the pressure presented in the restaurant environment and loves how ever-changing the industry is day to day—as well as always being surrounded by exceptional food and beverage!


[email protected]

Tristan Walczewski

Chief Operating Officer

Beverage Director & Advanced Sommelier

Tristan has been working in the restaurant industry since the age of 16 and has been with Essence Restaurant Group since Spring 2014. Starting as a server at Bistro and working his way up to General Manager and Beverage Director, Tristan thrives in the fast-paced work environment that the restaurant industry provides. Most importantly, he appreciates Essence Restaurant Group’s display of strong values and mission to set the standard in Grand Rapids for hospitality and cuisine.


[email protected]

Jeff Myers

Director of Bakery Operations

Angie Revilla

Controller

Kris Smith

Accounting Coordinator

Dan Blanchard

Executive Head Chef

Isabella Ebbert

Private Events Director

Jason Tholen

General Manager

Connor Guikema

Bar Manager

Hailey Stevens

Assistant General Manager

Katie Brady

Restaurant Manager

Bridget Malkowski

Restaurant Manager

Isabella Ebbert

Private Events Director

Grady Heinz

Sous Chef

Michael Segard

Sous Chef

Chantz Bloomfield

Sous Chef

Chris North

Sous Chef

Roxanne Dragon

Restaurant Manager

Josh Nicholson

Bar Manager

Devin Cook

Chef

Katy Waltz

Pastry Chef

Jason Kunze

Restaurant Manager

Vance Simmons

Restaurant Manager

Corey Patrick

Bar Manager

Shady Kharadesh

Chef de Cuisine

Lily VanderWall

Sous Chef

John Featherson

Sous Chef

Andrew Archer

Restaurant Manager

Sophia Olsen

Restaurant Manager

Kyle Tilstra

Sous Chef

Brandon Hubbard

Sous Chef
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