It’s okay to make a mess, experiments can lead to beautiful things.
It’s Hard to Imagine,
but at one time Marie was banned from the family kitchen.
"They didn't want me in there - I was too messy," she laughs. After the dinner dishes were done, Marie would tip-toe past her napping mother and grandmother to perform her culinary experiments. When her blind Grandmother ventured back into the kitchen to begin the next meal's preparation, she could feel the dishes left in Marie's wake. "My God what happened in here?" Those early experiments paved the way for Marie to discover that with a twist of Lebanese, a hit of Yooper and a yen for unique pastries, she would bring her love here to Grand Rapids.
Baby Steps and Leaps of Faith
Baby steps and leaps of faith brought Marie to where she is today. She moved from Lebanon to Flint in 1970, and later moved to a small town in the Upper Peninsula where she first listened to her entrepeneurial spirit by baking baklava at home and testing local avenues for sales. Within a year she opened her first restaurant, Marie's Deli, in Houghton, Michigan.
A yearning for culinary training later led Marie to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC as a pastry cook where word of her talent spread across the country. She was pursued as a pastry chef in two different industries before listening to her heart and returning to Michigan.
Marie Catrib's story is one of guts and determination to follow her dreams of being her own boss and sharing her love of people and cuisine. "Don't lose focus – just do it," says Marie of starting a business. "It doesn't matter how old you are. If you can breathe and move – you can do it."
We operate our business under these guiding principles:
- Our idea from day one has been to create, produce and serve super great, full-flavored food that has a beginning, middle, and finish to every bite. Everything at Marie Catrib’s is ruled by taste.
- We strive for efficient, uncompromised, sincere, fabulous, caring and exceptional service (as close to perfect as possible).
- We want to be a good place to eat for everyone. We also want to be considered a good place to shop in-store or on the web. We offer something for everyone, from tempting cakes to satisfy your sweet tooth to a delicious homemade meal to take home to the family.
- We provide a caring, genuine, free-spirited, diverse place to work.
- We are excited about building strong relationships with everyone we interact with: our customers, our community, and our suppliers.
- Community is very important to us, and we are an active part of our community. We purchase from local farms, donate food to charitable causes, and work with organizations to teach people the importance of eating a local diet.
- We communicate lavishly – with our customers and within our organization.
- We want to be a place to learn. From learning what LEED certification means, to seeing fiddleheads for the first time, to discovering what kohlrabi tastes like, to learning about where our coffee comes from, we strive to be a progressive force behind the axiom of “knowledge is power.”
From Farm to Your Table
We do what we do, how we do it because we genuinely care about serving really good, quality food. Here at Marie Catrib’s, we take much pride in using locally grown and raised food whenever possible. Of course, in the winter time, when there's few feet of snow on the ground, that circle of products is quite small. We manage, though, to get pork, eggs, beef and bacon from the Creswick Farms, Gouda and Lamont cheddar cheeses from Grassfields Cheese in Coopersville, and because of Chris’s new geothermal heating system for the greenhouses, we get greens all year round from Mud Lake Farm. And of course we have pumpkin puree and fruits in our freezer until it’s time to include them in cakes or tarts or whatever we choose to make with them. In the spring, summer and fall, when the Fulton Street Farmers Market is in full force, you will see Marie down there nearly every day. We also work with a lot of really great farms that aren’t even at the market. The more farms the better chance you will feel good about eating your food! Chris Treter from Higher Grounds Trading calls it Meaningful Consumerism. We seem to think so as well.
It really is wonderful to be here in East Hills in Grand Rapids, and in Michigan where we have so many opportunities to bask in the bounty of all the local farms. And thanks to all of you who walk through our doors, we are fortunate to have you here sharing our vision with us.