A tale of 2 restaurants, or entrepreneurial stories

By Don Rush
By Don Rush

“Interesting,” thought I, starting to connect imaginary dots in the sky before me. “Two of my favorite restaurants have decided, on their own and separate of each other, to think outside the box and try something new.”

What is interesting, at least to me, is beyond the newness of their actions, were some dichotomies between the two. Sorta like opposites attracting. See if you can follow my dot connecting.
Olde Village Cafe, a mainstay in the old downtown of Clarkston, has been owned by longtime restaurateurs, (man and wife) Pete and Ann. I think the couple has operated their wee-little diner at the southeast corner of Main and Washington streets for about 20 years. They are pretty much a meat and potatoes kinda’ place. Open at 7 a.m. for the breakfast crowd, make a killing during the lunch business and close down shop at four.
They are known for their eggs, sandwiches, salads and their friendly (and sometimes saucy) wait-staff.
Smokin’ J’s Bar-B-Que Pit, is a relatively new eatery up in the downtown area of Goodrich. It was dreamt up and opened up by wife and husband Brandi and Jeff. The couple opened their restaurant/bar about two years ago. Their business is known for smoked meats, ribs, burgers, soups of the day and craft beers. They open their doors at 11 a.m. for the lunch crowd and lock the place up sometime after midnight.
Both couples have thought about doing something different with their businesses, but at opposite times of the clock.
Pete and Ann are brainstorming the idea of opening up their diner after hours (after their normal closing time) as a private party place. Brandi and Jeff opened their restaurant/bar for weekend breakfast, 8-11 a.m., Saturdays and Sundays.
I see, or sense a nice symmetry between these two places I like to eat (just take a look at me): the long standing, 20-year-old diner opening up later, and the two-year-old Bar-B-Que pit opening up earlier. But, I love the irony. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and well, they own their buildings, and are paying for utilities even when they are closed for the day, why not try to make more money during those down times?

* * *

Said Pete one day last week as I was sitting down eating a salad, “I have been thinking about this for about a year.”
I nodded for him to continue on and then shoved more lettuce and stuff into my mouth.
“Why not utilize our restaurant. We will rent it out for a flat rate. I know some chefs we can bring in, so whatever they want to eat, we can do. From simple to candle light and white table clothes. Basically, they would rent my restaurant for their family, religious or business party. It would be like having a party at your house, without having to clean up after. I don’t think anybody is doing that around here, so why not us?”
Pete and Ann will provide also provide wait staff; the renters will be able to bring in their own beverages, like wine to be served, if they desire.
“I don’t know. I kinda like the idea,” Pete said, adding they can comfortably seat 70 people.
So, Pete is looking for validation. Do you think it is a good idea? Give him a call with your thoughts, 248-894-1243.

* * *

Brandi and Jeff have already pulled the trigger on their idea of serving weekend breakfast.
“We wanted to try something different,” Jeff said. “So far I think people have liked it.”
Everything from waffles and pancakes to biscuits and gravy, to breakfast sandwiches and omelettes are being served up — just like anywhere else that serves breakfast, so what is the difference? What makes them a special place for breakfast, one might ask.
“All our meats are smoked here on site. The bacon is smoked, the ham is smoked, the brisket is smoked. It is really quite good,” Jeff said.
(I personally enjoy the Western Omelette with their Hellfire bbq sauce.)
And, since I do not partake in the Bloody Mary scene, I cannot give testimony about their Bloody Mary bar. But, it looks good, with all the fixin’s displayed nicely for folks to make their own to taste. As with all their meals, you can order out or dine in. Give them a call at 810-636-9200, or better yet, stop in and give them a try.

* * *

(And, now that my evil plan has been put into motion it is only a matter of time before I get them advertising in our community newspaper. Muhahaha!)

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