Chef Veele brings edge to Itty Bitty Bar menu

photo of Roasted bone marrow, Itty Bitty Bar, Holland
Roasted bone marrow, Itty Bitty Bar, Holland

By David Hoekman

Not many bars have menu items like roasted bone marrow or pasta purses — or specials like Ancho Coffee Crusted Salmon.

Itty Bitty Bar at 1136 Ottawa Beach Road in Holland has all those and other unexpected flavor combinations.

That’s because Itty Bitty Bar has chef Doug Veele.

Veele and his talented staff have made Itty Bitty Bar the place to go for great food imaginatively and skillfully prepared.

For the last five years, Veele has been working his magic in the kitchen, using the freshest organic ingredients available.

“We do a fall-winter menu insert and a spring-summer insert,” Veele said. “We might change other menu items also. Every day, we offer a butcher’s choice, which is some sort of meat dish. Every day, we also offer what we call the Phish Monger, which is something from the water. We spell it a little different because I am a big fan of the band.”

A description of a recent Phish Monger special would fit right in at a high-end restaurant: Smoked salmon over a bed of spinach with bell peppers, carrots, goat cheese, red onion and wasabi peanut crumbles, with a ginger blood orange vinaigrette.

Ideas for dishes come from staff members and customers. Some of the dishes that Veele and his staff prepare as specials turn into menu items.

“Sometimes it is ingredients that we haven’t worked with and we want to play around with them,” Veele said. “It’s always fun to try new things.”

As far as the menu is concerned, there are no rules at Itty Bitty Bar.

“It’s always just doing different things and not being afraid to do so,” Veele said.

For those who prefer an old-fashioned cheeseburger, check out the one and only Itty Bitty Burger.

Veele got his start in the restaurant business as a teenage dishwasher, earning money for a trip to Japan.

At age 24, while cooking at a local restaurant, Veele knew he wanted to be a chef.

“The head chef had left,” he said. “They asked me if I was interested, and I said I would give it a shot. That place changed the menu every day. I learned quite a bit. That’s when I developed a real passion for food. It’s a very intimate thing — feeding somebody.” n

Itty Bitty Bar