Good People making Good Food
GENERAL MANAGER & WINE STEWARD
As the general manager and wine steward of Coast 236 Restaurant & Bar in Saugatuck, Michigan, Curt Johnson brings with him over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry, having opened and managed several of the finest establishments that his former home of Central Illinois has to offer. In his spare time Curt served on several volunteer fire departments and also partook in community theater. Having fallen in love with the industry at a young age, Curt developed a passion for wine, beverage and cuisine throughout the years. As a general manager, Curt’s greatest joy is to share in wine knowledge, pairings and great stories through the dining experience and friendly conversation.
His mission at Coast 236 is to continue to develop a family culture with our clientele while providing an excellent experience through rare wines, bourbons and other obscurities that he uses as his canvas.
Every guest must feel as if they are a member of the Coast 236 family throughout their dining experience. Great service, food and beverage and ambiance are a given. It is the stories behind what we serve to drink and dine at Coast 236 that makes it a memory that will not be forgotten.”
As the executive chef of Coast 236 Restaurant & Bar in Saugatuck, Michigan, Rick Bower brings with him more than 20 years of culinary expertise. He has trained under several Michelin-starred chefs, and worked at numerous well-known and highly-regarded establishments that earned Michelin recommendations and Zagat recognition during his tenure.
Rick began his culinary career at the age of 15 when working in a fine-dining restaurant as part of a credit-earning high school program. Through this introduction, he developed a love for and a passionate interest in sustainable cuisine. He believes sustainability and responsible purchasing through local vendors is paramount in today’s culinary lifestyle, and always ensures that his cuisine preparation is at the highest regard to quality of product.
This food philosophy continues at Coast 236. Rick has long-standing relationships with local farmers and outsource foragers, and is intentional about promoting sustainability in the Saugatuck community. He has implemented a sustainable fish purchasing program that provides an enhanced dining experience and contributes to the community in a responsible way.
Rick’s emphasis is on straightforward, seasonal, and honest cuisine, prepared using out-of-the-box concepts. His creative approach begins with a protein or vegetable as the dish’s star, pairing items with it that will achieve balance in the dish while also bringing it to the next level. He is always conscious of pairing high-end ingredients with seasonal items that are locally available, thus changing the Coast 236 menu several times per week in line with this approach.
Rick is also adamant about preserving the integrity of ingredients throughout the restaurant’s menu:
Each ingredient is treated in its best interest, and I prepare that particular item for what it deserves and should have paired with it. I believe that once you give up on the integrity of the ingredient, you give up on the heart of how the industry was formed.”
Traci Bower Photography