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Tag Archive | "Main Street Business"

The Red Bird Bistro and Grill


By Tom Noreen

As you drive along Main Street in Cedar Springs, you may have noticed the slow transformation of the Red Bird Bistro and Grill as it, like the mythical phoenix, rises from the remains of the former Gun Tavern. Gone is the old, wooden façade replaced by windows and a soon to be bricked front. 

Inside the transformation is even more dramatic under owner Jody Arp’s direction. The northern section, which was once a barbershop, is now the kitchen and the original Gun is now a well lit, open dining area that will seat about 85 people. The bar is roughly where it was behind a short wall. One thing people asked Jody to do was make it quieter, which has been worked into the design.

One historic item that is still present is the County Drain that runs through a culvert under the floor at the north end of the building diverting water from the east side of town to Cedar Creek.

Something that has been missing in Cedar Springs is a large dining area. That will soon be available as the upstairs is slowly being transformed into a banquet room with seating for about 100 guests plus room for another 20 in a smaller private dining/meeting area. There have already been requests to use the banquet room. 

The Red Bird Bistro under construction. Photo courtesy of Tom Noreen.

 The transformation is the reality of Jody’s vision for a restaurant. Encouraged by her husband, Scott, to build a restaurant after working for over 27 years in the hospitality trade, 19 years of which were in the Gilmore Collection, Jody will soon be presiding over her own. She said that she has worked everything from waiting tables, bartending, and being a chef to general manager, which she did for the last five years at the Blue Water Grill.

She started looking for a place about three to four years ago. She looked at the Sand Bar in Sand Lake, and the Cedar Pub, Roundup and Gun in Cedar Springs. Dave Ringler of the Cedar Springs Brewing Company, who Jody has known for over 20 years, encouraged her to look at the Gun. He said, “I’m an island up here and need some help.” Two years ago in February, they put in an offer on the Gun. In August, they took possession of it and began work with Duane McIntyre taking the lead. They are looking to open in mid-June. The banquet area will not be complete until early 2020.

She is planning a short, 20-25 item farm-to-table menu, with a focus on high quality organic ingredients using limited processed items. Jody is going to use some of the recipes she has created and also family recipes, the ones grandma made. Look for a selection of appetizers, some sandwiches, beef, fish, pasta, and vegetarian items.

 At the bar, Jody plans on serving a selection of craft cocktails, a good selection of wines, and about 10 different craft and domestic beers on tap. The bar area will seat 12 guests.

Jody is in the process of hiring staff so when the construction is complete she can begin training for opening day.

I asked about the name and she said that was easy. Everyone calls her husband Red and her nickname is Bird; hence the Red Bird Bistro and Grill. What a great name for a new restaurant in Cedar Springs! 

Visit them online at Red Bird Bistro and Grill.

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