Zeeland's Main Street is about to get its first sit-down restaurant to ever serve beer, wine and liquor by the glass, and owner Lucas Grill says the business community has welcomed him with open arms.
The public voted in 2006 to repeal a nearly 100-year-old ban on liquor sales. But downtown Zeeland continued to have a gap in amenities -- namely a restaurant that served liquor and could attract folks to the business district in the evenings or entice them to stick around after work.
With the May 7 opening of Public
(131 E. Main St.), that gap will be filled by a classic sit-down eatery where diners can enjoy a cocktail, a beer or a glass of wine with their meals.
"The amount of support from city hall, the business owners, the community and the chamber has been amazing," says Grill, 29. "When I was looking for a space, people in Zeeland met with me and walked me through the downtown."
The restaurant slogan of Handcrafted Comfort Food is reflected in its menu, says Grill, who is a chef and was recently the front house manager of the former 1913 Room in Grand Rapids.
"The premise of the menu is to take any comfort food -- meatloaf, pot pie, mac and cheese, brownies, cookies -- and put my twist to it," he says. "Like our patty melt -- it will still be a classic dish, but it will be made with homemade meatloaf and homemade ketchup."
Grill revamped the 1,700-square-foot space to be family friendly and yet serve as a "great first date" eatery. Banquettes line three walls, the bar features a marble top, and the host stand is an old whiskey barrel that used to contain Founders beer. The restaurant seats 63 inside and 24 on the sidewalk patio.
"If you have great service and great food, you're only two-thirds of the way there," Grill says. "You still need a great atmosphere."
Hours: Mon. through Fri., lunch 11:30 to 4; Mon. through Thurs., dinner 4 to 9; Fri. and Sat., dinner 4 to 10.
Source: Lucas Grill, Public; Abigail deRoo, City of Zeeland
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor