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This week on lunch date with Mari we had the great pleasure of interviewing Shawn Church, owner of Nipote’s. Nipote’s Italian Kitchen specializes in bringing authentic Italian food, wine and desserts to downtown Muskegon. Located at 98 W Clay Ave, Nipote’s atmosphere and delicious food transports you right to northern Italy.




Though the interior of the restaurant is gorgeous, what might first catch your eye is outside of their building. Shawn and her husband Jeff were one of the first here in Muskegon to repurpose shipping containers for their new construction. The shipping container does limit the space they have, especially in the kitchen, but despite the tight space they continue to serve up incredible dishes.

Nipote’s came to fruition with the help of Northern Initiatives. Shawm & Jeff had a dream to bring a casual Italian dining experience to downtown Muskegon and Northern Initiatives helped with financing to make that dream a reality. Northern Initiatives provides loans to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in Michigan that might not qualify for a small business loan from traditional banks for various reasons. They offer many resources to small business and start-ups and you can learn more at their website linked here. 

My favorite dish at Nipote’s is the affogato. Shawn explained that “affogato” means “drowned” in Italian and it is essentially drowning, creamy gelato in beautiful hot espresso. The hot espresso starts to melt the gelato and forms a thick foam at the top. Shawn is making my dream come true by having churned a honey lavender gelato and will be serving up in an affogato. Stay posted for my very own affogato coming to Nipote’s soon!

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