Butch’s Dry Dock | The Place In Holland, MI To Dine

Posted on: March 21, 2019   |   Posted in: Food & Drink, Things To Do In Saugatuck

restaurant window

racks of wines for sale pink cocktail with flowers grilled salmon on white plate with flowers and vegetables

restaurant outdoor seating

blue sky and clouds before lake sunset

hotel with green gardens, trees and bushes

Celebrate Wine And Fine Dining At Butch’s Dry Dock

At Wickwood Inn we simply love good food.  Often, we suggest Saugatuck area restaurants like Butch’s Dry Dock to our bed and breakfast guests.  And, during a Butch’s fine dining experience with Executive Chef Ryan, the reasons become quickly obvious.

We walk into Butch’s Dry Dock in nearby downtown Holland and join the perfect party … a Grapefruit Fizz with Tanqueray gin, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit, soda, and rosemary always hits the right note. When we’re ready for food, we start with the Mussels a luxurious appetizer of garlic, white wine, butter, lemon, parsley, and baguette. It is a perfect pairing with my glass of Mont Marcal Brut Cava Reserva.  The Arugula Salad is what we like next … shaved fennel, apple, prosciutto, raspberry vinaigrette. And yes, a glass of Domaine Gitton Sancerre sounds lovely. For mains, we indulge with Michgan Rainbow Trout … brussel hash, beurre blanc. Scallops … fennel, arugula, cauliflower, bacon. Finally, the powerhouse of the menu, the Filet … risotto, wild mushrooms, local broccoli, bleu cheese, shallots.

To learn more about what goes on behind the scenes at Butch’s Dry Dock, we sit down with Chef Ryan. His passion for farm fresh foods and fantastic flavors was overflowing throughout our conversation, and we can’t wait to order another round.

Q: Tell us your path to becoming the Executive Chef at Butch’s Dry Dock?

A: Though born and raised in Holland, I got introduced to a variety of foods through my travels. When I returned to Holland, I was passionate about wanting to work with food. I moved my way up in the kitchen organically. My start was as a line cook and pantry boy at Butch’s in 2012. And, I also spent some time working at City Flats and De Boer’s Bakery in Holland. Eventually, in 2017, Butch offered me the Executive Chef position, and I felt I was ready to accept the position. The quality of the ingredients I get to work with and the connections I have with the farmers is something I love.

Q: Can you talk more specifically about the menu at Butch’s?

A: I’d love to. Our menu changes four times per year, seasonally, to correlate with what’s available from the farm. While you won’t see a tomato dish right now, in summer, you’ll see tomatoes everywhere I can put them on the menu: in the Caprese, in our sauces, grilled … tomatoes are so versatile and so delicious. 

I love talking to the farmers, about what’s going into the soil, what’s working for them, and what I’m looking forward to. 

Right now, I’m excited about our spring menu that will begin in April. It’s the time of year when the color changes to bright green, fresh growing things, including our own herb and flower garden grown out back: rosemary, sage, thyme for the bar or the kitchen. We grow violas and nasturtiums for garnish. Nothing puts a smile on my face like running out to the back patio and harvesting herbs and flowers before dinner service. The freshness and quality of the ingredients is always on the forefront on of my mind.

After many menu changes, wine dinners, and special events, I am evolving into a different chef.

Q: What restaurant menu item excites you right now, Chef Ryan?

A: Our Seared Ahi Tuna, sushi grade, served over marinated edamame togarashi (japanese spice blend) aioli, and a  citrus sauce that packs a punch. There’s the richness from the protein, the delicious fat from the aioli, the brightness from the citrus … it’s a great combination and hits all the notes. 

I also love that our raw oysters on the half shell being expanded into the weekend program.

Q: Beyond the food, we love the beverage service at Butch’s. Can you tell us more about that?

A: I love standing in the kitchen and seeing people enjoying some Sancerre, a martini, or an IPA with a bowl of oysters. The sourcing of all our ingredients … in the kitchen, and behind the bar, is so important for our entire program. Behind the bar, Victor has done an amazing job of curating our featured lists of whisky, tequila, and mezcal. Wine, cocktails, and beer help drive the menu changes … the pairings are important. Our glass pour list is curtailed to the menu, so expert pairings are always available.

Bruce, our sommelier, is filled with drive and passion to find the best bottles and ingredients. Butch’s has received Wine Spectator’s award of excellence year after year. We are lined up to receive the award again in 2019.

A highlight of my job is my collaboration with Bruce for our wine dinners. We choose a vineyard and taste our way through their selections. We try and find some tried and true, but we also lean into some challenging tastes and start to talk about the food. If we taste a Sauvignon Blanc … I’m thinking buttered crab. Syrah? Lamb that we just brought in. When I’m tasting great wines, the pressure is on me to create great food to pair along with it. 

Our wine program sets us apart on the lakeshore. Our extensive catalog, our wine dinners …. it’s all rather special.

Q: Finally, the wine dinners ARE spectacular. Are there other Butch’s events you’d like to mention?

A: Butch’s relationship to the community is important to me. He has a track record of almost 25 years of proven success. It’s a great responsibility and privilege to continue and move forward with that success. 

Two events I’m especially proud of are:

  • Style de Vie: This is a great event in the fall that we host to raise money for the Center for Women In Transition. We partner with other local businesses, and there’s a fashion show, lots of good food, wine representatives pouring tastes … it’s a lot of fun for a great cause. 
  • Fundraising dinner for  the Ottawa County Agricultural Preservation Committee. The Committee helps farmers keep their land as a working farm and preserved over 100 acres in West Michigan alone.

Buy A Bottle Of Wine At Butch’s Dry Dock To Enjoy At Wickwood Inn

When you reserve a getaway to Wickwood Inn, you have SO MANY amazing dining options near the Lake Michigan shore. Be sure and save a night to get to know our friends at Butch’s. You’ll love the variety of seating options … linen tables up front, pub in the back, a great seat at the bar, or al fresco on the back deck. The full menu is available throughout. Do you need a bottle or two of wine for sunsets at the beach?  Or, maybe you want to enjoy a glass of fine wine in the Wickwood Inn Garden? Butch’s has an impressive retail wine, beer and cider selection. So in the future, when you experience all the goodness of your Saugatuck getaway to Wickwood Inn, enjoy a delicious visit to Butch’s Dry Dock in downtown Holland as well.


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