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SL butcher shop under new ownership

Marie Havenga • Jun 21, 2017 at 12:00 PM

SPRING LAKE — The new owners are making some major changes at the former Topp Butcher Shoppe and BBQ, 606 E. Savidge St. in Spring Lake.

For starters, there's a new name: Stone's Butcher and BBQ, and new  items. And soon, a new sit-down restaurant that will serve lunch, dinner and alcohol.

Molly Kopen is transitioning the changes for new owners Ken Armour and Dale Randall. Kopen owns and operates the Divani restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids with Armour, her former fiance.

“It's exciting,” Kopen said. “We're going to be putting a restaurant in the space, but we're about 6-8 months out. We're dealing with the (state) Liquor Control Commission for on-premise consumption.”

The restaurant, which is expected to seat 80, will serve many items from the butcher shop side — brats, hamburgers, steaks and more.

“This way, we can grill it and sell it for the restaurant side so we can do more volume,” Kopen said.

The Stone's name comes from a mural Kopen saw at the establishment.

“When I came in here, they had a little mural in here of the ‘Flintstones’ from the previous owners,” she said. “Their faces were on the ‘Flintstones’ mural. It was cute to me. ... Not to say it will look anything like the ‘Flintstones’ in here — I just thought it was cute.”

Kopen said Stone's will feature a family-friendly atmosphere, and be open for both lunch and dinner. Takeout and catering will also be available.

“Divani in downtown Grand Rapids is casual fine dining. It's more a special occasion-type place,” Kopen said. “This will be much more casual. We want this to be very family-oriented.”

Randall and Armour are partners in Randall Construction.

“Ken is an investor/developer,” Kopen said. “A broker brought this (butcher shop) to him. He's always looking for fun things to do.”

None of the three knew anything about the meat business, so they hired a butcher. Many staff members under the old regime have stuck around. Kopen said they're in the process of hiring more staff to prepare for the restaurant’s opening.

“Our menu will be vast,” she said. “We'll have burgers and fries, and brats with a side of chips. There will be some items on there that will be higher end, like filet.”

Stone's will continue to offer beef jerky, smoked sausage and fresh cuts of beef, pork and chicken, Kopen said.

But humans aren't the only ones Stone's will cater to.

“We're going to start doing dog food,” Kopen said. “A lot of times there's waste (from cutting meat) because we don't choose to eat it, like the ends of tenderloin. Those can be put into dog food. It will be almost like ground beef.”

On Saturdays, Stone's chefs will cook brats, burgers and chicken thighs outdoors. They'll be served with potato salad, cole slaw, pasta salad and baked beans.

“That does amazingly well,” Kopen said. “I want to get it to the point where it's Friday and Saturday, but it's currently just on Saturday.”

The recipes have changed some from Topp's.

“Our sandwiches come with red cabbage slaw and a side of chips,” Kopen said. “The buns are still made in-house. Beef jerky and sausage are made in-house. We've upped the game on some brats and we're doing a lot of skewers (beef and chicken kabobs). We have a corn and black bean salsa called cowboy caviar that's been going over very well.”

They're adding brownies, pies, chutneys and a variety of salsas.

“We're doing it little bit by little bit,” Kopen said. “We're looking for slow, structured growth.”

Stone's Butcher and BBQ is open from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 9 a.m to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. When more staff is on board, Stone's will also be open on Sundays, Kopen said.

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