Grand Rapids' Madison Square business district at the corner of Madison Avenue SE and Hall St. SE could be on the verge of getting its only sit-down eatery, part of a coordinated response to neighborhood demand.
The proposed B & W Breakfast Bar could open in April as part of a $1.7 million renovation of a century-old storefront at 1167 Madison. The project, spearheaded by LINC Community Revitalization, Inc. (formerly Lighthouse Communities
), includes LINC's Development Center containing administrative offices, a retail incubator, a co-working space and a community police station.
Robert Ball, owner of Grand Rapids' Southern Fish Fry and a partner in the new venture, will manage the restaurant, says spokesperson T. A. El Amin, a consultant on the project.
"We're aiming for a home-style place, kind of a combination of Waffle House and Cracker Barrel," El Amin says. "We're looking at breakfast and lunch to start, and we'd like to be open from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. If it goes well, we could add dinner hours, and if that goes well, it could become 24-hour."
El Amin says the focus will be a country-style breakfast and lunch menu with favorites like waffles, bacon and eggs, southern grits, and "a little bit of soul food," as well as heart healthy choices such as turkey sausage, fresh salads and homemade soups.
The 1,500-square-foot space will seat 40.
Attracting a sit-down restaurant to Madison Square is part of a broader push to fill gaps in the business district's offerings, an initiative that began with a neighborhood charrette in 2005.
"This is one of the fastest growing areas around and the region is well thought out and well planned, except for the core city," El Amin says. "If we can get something going in the neighborhoods around the core city, we're going to have something really great.
"The next generation will inherit whatever we do now," he adds. "We'll teach them how to grow it and expand it and there'll be no stopping us with what we can accomplish."
Source: T. A. El Amin, El Amin Associates; LINC Community Revitalization, Inc.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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