UNION PIER — The Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce gathered at The Grove Restaurant inside the Gordon Beach Inn on Jan. 13 for its first members mixer of 2020.

Chamber Member Services Director Kim Wendt said sign-ups for the mixer reached maximum capacity in four days, and there were too many new members to list (they were instead designated by gold stars on name badges).

“So we knew you all wanted to experience the American Fare with the Latin Flair,” she said. “And how wonderful is it that this restaurant is open year-round?”

Chef Eduardo Penzates later wished everyone a happy new year

“I hope that 202 is the best for you guys … and for me,” he quipped.

 Penzates said he hoped everyone enjoyed the dishes served that evening (including the restaurant’s signature paella, Chicken Mole and Coaut Flan

for dessert).

He added that The Grove will have a special menu for Valentine’s Day.

Renee Gardner (founder of RSVP Rentals and Housekeeping) said she began working as innkeeper at the Gordon Beach Inn last March, and in April she became Chef Eduardo’s catering director.

“We’ve been setting up weddings through the Lakeside and the Gordon Beach Inns but we also do outside catering. Chef Eduardo has been catering in this area for 15 years,” Gardner said.

She said everything on the catering menu is homemade and so far the reviews have been really good. Can handle small affairs up to large event involving 250 to 300 people.

“We are so happy to see you in here tonight. We hope you will tell your friends and everyone will come back and see a familiar face,” Gardner said.

She said the winter menu combines The Grove’s “best and most popular items” of the summer menu with some Latino recipes “at a really great price.”

Winter Hours at The Grove (located at at 16220 Lakeshore Road in Union Pier) are Thursday through Sunday 5 to 10 p.m. weekends and six days a week (closed Mondays) starting in spring.

During the Chamber Announcements portion of the evening, Wendt said “We are excited to announce the new Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce website is online.”

She said members should have received an email request to set up a new user name and password in early January to get full access to their member portal. She later added that events and specials can only be posted on the website (by members or chamber staff) after the new user name and password have been created.

Wendt said there’s a lot to explore, adding that there are still areas that are under construction, adding that any errors can be fixed directly by members or by contacting chamber staff.

“We are going to have member portal learning events … this spring. We’re going to have a brunch and learn a.m. session, a lunch and learn noon session, and the ever-popular sip, savor and learn p.m. session.”

Wendt invited those attending the mixer to view the new website on an iPad at the welcome table.

She said a second Public Spring Breakout Party at Journeyman Distillery in Three Oaks will be held on March 26 to introduce the new Harbor Country Chamber Guide.

“We’re bringing back the Dueling Pianos again and the food buffet provided by the Journeyman.”

She noted that last year only nine out of 300 tickets for the party were left when the big day rolled around.

“I suggest when the tickets go on sale the first of February you probably purchase them as early as possible.”

Wendt said the next Chamber Mixer is scheduled for Thursday. Feb. 6, at Froehlich’s Kitchen & Pantry in downtown Three Oaks.

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