Say Cheese: The Aperitivo Story with Amy Ruis

Exploring Wine and Cheese in Grand Rapids

by Cliff Duvernois

Aperitivo Grand Rapids

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Aperitivo brings the world of cheese to the Grand Rapids area. Cliff DuVernois engages in a delicious and enlightening chat with Amy Ruis, a Michigander who has turned her passion for food into thriving businesses – Aperitivo and Art of the Table. They discuss the unique joys and challenges that come with running a gourmet store and the importance of providing diverse, high-quality products for customers.

In this episode, Amy discusses:

  • How to approach trying new things
  • Making the experience of new cheeses fun
  • What you can expect at Aperitivo

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Cheese, Wine, and Adventure: A Conversation with Amy Ruis of Aperitivo

Grand Rapids, Michigan, is home to a dizzying range of delightful culinary offerings. Today, we traverse the sophisticated world of cheese, wine, and gourmet delicacies with Amy Ruis, the proud owner of Aperitivo and Art of the Table in Grand Rapids. In this engaging conversation, Amy shares insights about her entrepreneurship journey, her passion for retail, and the culinary artistry embodied in every slice of cheese and sip of wine.

Molding Experiences Around Cheese and Wine

Amy’s love for retail is evident in every corner of Aperitivo, one of the original fixtures of the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids. Filled with an assortment of cheese, charcuterie, wine, beer, and gourmet foods, Aperitivo also includes a wine bar, offering patrons a chance to savor these delicacies in-house or take them home.

Amy’s journey with Aperitivo didn’t start solo; it began with a business partner. As the venture grew successful, Amy took the reins alone, bolstered by a dedicated team and the ever-encouraging customer feedback.

Amy describes the ebb and flow of her business, particularly the busy holiday periods, with the same enthusiasm as a whirlwind adventure. The key to navigating these frequent shifts, Amy reveals, lies in adaptability, willingness to take on different roles and constant learning.

Gathering Around the Table of Art: An Inspired Retail Journey

Amy, who also owns another retail venture, Art of the Table, shared the story of its conception and growth. Art of the Table sells gourmet food, beer, wine, spirits, tabletop accessories, serving pieces, tablecloths, and glassware. Amy playfully refers to these offerings as ‘art’, crafted by dedicated artisans to create a well-set table.

The journey of Art of the Table is an inspiring tale of embracing the unknown and trying new things. Despite the initial uncertainties, the store thrived, largely because Grand Rapids was ready for a sophisticated food retail scene and Amy’s passion for retail.

Educating for a Better Taste

In her enterprises, Amy strives not just to sell products but to create an environment that allows people to learn, experiment, and develop a sophisticated palate. Armed with an extensive menu and a knowledgeable team of experts, Aperitivo arms its staff with information about each cheese’s story, helping customers explore their tastes in a comfortable, non-pretentious environment.

Amy encourages patrons to venture beyond traditional options like cheddar or Swiss, opening their senses to the subtle nuances and unique experiences that different cheese varieties can offer. This adventurous spirit extends to their wine selection, which is predominantly composed of wines from outside the US, offering complex, artisanal, and authentic tastes that customers might not discover otherwise.

The Triumph of Passion

Throughout our conversation, it became clear Amy’s cheese and wine voyage is powered by passion, education, and a commitment to quality. Not just an entrepreneur or business owner, she is a zealous student of the craft and an unflappable ambassador for the often under-explored world of artisan cheese and wine.

Ready to embark on a gastronomical adventure of your own? Visit Aperitivo at the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids or explore their offerings online at aperitivogr.com. Secure a chance to savor a delightful mélange of flavors and get a taste of Michigan’s extraordinary culinary scene. Providing an array of exhilarating experiences, Amy Ruis’ cheese and wine haven is a place where every morsel tells a story, and every sip is a celebration of art in its purest form.