A Grand Rapids-based distillery has been searching for a venue in Grand Haven over the past several months, and the owners are hoping they have finally found a new home.
Exiting an agreement with the Copper Post, 102 Washington Ave., Long Road Distillers is now in the process of purchasing The Pavilion Wharf Deli & Grill at 18 Washington Ave., which is closing this Saturday.
The Pavilion Wharf owner Melissa Muskoven announced the closing of her restaurant on Facebook on March 30.
“After a long and careful review of all my options that have been placed in my path by the Lord, I have decided to close The Pavilion,” she wrote. “This has been a very difficult decision and was not easily made. This business has been in my family for years and I consider you all a part of my family.”
Long Road owners Kyle Van Strein and Jon O’Connor were pursuing the city’s historic train depot building on the waterfront, but their proposal was rejected by City Council in March. After the decision by Mayor Geri McCaleb and Dennis Scott to keep alcohol from the city’s waterfront, the distillery owners said numerous property owners along the Lakeshore reached out to them to offer a space for the distillery — including the owners of The Pavilion.
Long Road had agreed in March to move into space at the Copper Post bar and restaurant, where they were approved for a liquor license. But Van Strein said their options were limited in a rental space that lacked its own kitchen.
“Copper Post is a beautiful space, but we weren’t able to come to final terms on making that work,” Van Strein said. “We decided as individual companies it probably wasn't the best for us to continue to proceed down that road.”
Long Road Distillers will take full ownership of 18 Washington Ave., which includes a full kitchen and a short-term rental above the business. Van Strein said they expect to open for business this summer, with the anticipated approval of a liquor license from the City Council on Monday.
Their plans entail cocktails and food items, but the operation will be more of a “pop-up” offering this year before a remodel in the offseason, Van Strein said. Food has become a bigger focus of Long Road in Grand Rapids, he said, and the plan is to bring unique options to Grand Haven in the long term.
“I feel really good about going into 18 Washington,” Van Strein said. “I think we probably would’ve had a better retail presence a block up in that transition point, but I think we’re going to have a really fun space there in that first block, a different vibe.”
Long Road has a small tasting room in Boyne City in addition to its flagship location in Grand Rapids, where the distillery is located. Long Road offers locally sourced food and drinks.
Grand Haven’s depot building, located adjacent to the Lynne Sherwood Waterfront Stadium, is still looking for a tenant to occupy a portion of the city-owned space. On Monday, the City Council will consider a resolution to lease the space to Horace Curry, of Mini Donut Depot, for operation May through August.