New eatery planned for vacant building in Grand Rapids

Posted at 9:24 PM, Aug 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-21 00:30:41-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A couple of area restaurant investors put their money into a vacant building along Plainfield Avenue. It's the site of the former D'Amico's Food Market, which closed down in 2011. Before that, the building was home to Daane's Food Market.

The investors said that they are going to continue the tradition of the building being ran by family, even naming the new business after their children.

The guys who run L&B Portfolios already operate a few local spots you may have heard of, Logan's Alley,  Graydon's Crossing and Derby Station, but now they plan to open up a new set of restaurants in the a neighborhood they call home.

"We thought about expanding over the last three years and nothing looked right to us and I live in the neighborhood where D'Amico's used to be, and I pass the building all the time and I finally just called on it to see what was going on," Zeiser.

Back in November, Larry Zeiser said that he got in touch with the owner of the vacant building along Plainfield Avenue, formerly home to D'Amico's Super Market.

The next step was to reach out to people who live in the area to see what they wanted to see open up next.

"Things the community has asked for are a coffee shop or a cafe or just a restaurant on that side of town," said Zeiser.

Zeiser along with his business partner, Brian Giampapa decided to open up all three. First to open will be the bakery and cafe, named after Zeiser's daughter, called Little Lucy's Cafe and Bakery.

"It's going to actually help with our existing locations to do some specialty breads and what have you for all three of the other places," said Zeiser.

Last to open will be the restaurant opening for evenings during the week and all day on the weekends, named after Giampapa's son, calling it Brighton Graye's Bistro.

Keeping it all in the family is something Zeiser said is important to keep the tradition of the building's original owners.

"They are the kids of the guy who built the building, and that's where they worked, that was their first jobs when it was the old Daane's Super Market. Then it sold out to the D'Amico's like I said, about four years ago they closed down. So when we talked to them, it made sense because they lived in the neighborhood, I live in the neighborhood, Brian lives in the neighborhood," said Zeiser.

With two nearby schools, Zeiser also said that GRPS is happy to not have the eye soar of an empty building in the neighborhood anymore.

When open, they plan to employ about 26 full-time workers and 24 part-time. They want to hire others who call the area home, just as they do.

"We look to the community for those jobs. There is a bus stop out front, so we are really looking to be honestly, urban. We really want people in the neighborhood to work there," said Zeiser.

So far they plan to invest a little more than a million dollars into the project.

Most of the permits have already been approved, and there are still some more steps to get the green light on the liquor license.

They hope to open in early 2016, starting with the bakery.