who we are

JDQ_amyruis_web

AMY RUIS – OWNER

Amy took her first serious interest in food at a young age when her dad fed her an anchovy. Blue cheese followed soon after, and then sardines. The rest is history. Amy will eat almost anything (except cooked peas that are NOT in a pod – it’s a texture issue).

Somewhere along the way, Amy also caught the retail bug. She has enjoyed the presentation of food and drink from the early age of eight when she sold lemonade and cowboy cookies at the curb. Art of the Table has been a perfect vocation for Amy for 12 years already! Amy’s love for decorating, entertaining and enjoying great food & drink lends perfectly to varied & quality selections for the store.

Because Amy loves to work hard, sleep little and enjoy people, food & drink, she happily teamed up with former business partner, Kate Leeder, to open Aperitivo. With limited space in each place, the hope is that together the stores should complement one another as they feed Grand Rapids their favorite things.

Amy’s favorite things (lately) revolve around wines from the Pacific Northwest and Spain, cheeses from any animal ~ but especially goats as well as double cream style cheeses slathered on a fruit & nut style cracker or a warm hunk of sourdough bread. Yet if she had to pick one food to eat for the rest of her life, it would be a close contest between steak and ice cream…

 

Evan

EVAN TALEN – GENERAL MANAGER

When Evan was 6 he decided he wanted to be a chef. He says that watching the joy his mother took in cooking and entertaining was somewhat intoxicating. She was a busy woman working many jobs and raising 3 kids, but food was important. It remains very important in Evan’s life to this day.

After trying to utilize his degree in design by working as a web designer in southern California for several years it became clear that the food and service industry that funded his education was his true calling. In 2010 he moved to Washington state to open a small cheese and wine shop called Cheese Louise. It was here that his passions for great cheese and wine developed.

Fast forward through a wedding, a quick stop in Chicago to work in a scratch kitchen, and Evan returned to his home town of Grand Rapids in 2014 to join the team at Aperitivo. In 2015 Evan passed his Certified Cheese Professional Exam with the American Cheese Society to become one of the few members of this elite club in the state of Michigan.

When not going on and on and on about cheese, Evan is either starting a new project on his home or searching for the next great camping adventure. He thinks a “sport coat” is actually a zip up hoodie, and regrets his career choice because he hates wearing shoes.