GRAND RAPIDS – Cindy Schneider was set to apply for a small business loan in March 2020 to open a new restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids when COVID-19 put her plans on hold.
Over a year later, Schneider has resumed renovations and completed the menu at the casual seafood restaurant Beacon Corner Bar, which is expected to open later this year. The Beacon Corner Bar will be located in the same building as one of Schneider’s other restaurants, Bistro San Chez, at 38 W. Fulton St.
âWe’re going to have fun and introduce Grand Rapids to casual seafood restaurants,â Schneider said. MiBiz. âNo white sheets, we’ll have rolled up paper. We have great recipes and really talented chefs.
Securing funding for a new restaurant concept during the pandemic was a challenge, but Schneider – like many small business owners – had learned the skill to apply for COVID-19 relief loans for his two other restaurants, San Chez. Bistro and ROAM from San Chez.
Locating Beacon in the same building as the San Chez Bistro will also result in lower overhead costs than typically associated with opening new restaurants, she said.
The Beacon Corner Bar, which will seat around 100 people, was half-built with all kitchen equipment purchased before the industry came to a screeching halt in early 2020, Schneider said.
âWe have restored a lot in the building and have the original tin ceilings, doors and windows, and were able to restore half of the wood floor,â said Schneider. âThis is an incredible corner in downtown Grand Rapids. We’re excited to see people come in, see it and enjoy something that they’ve probably never had the chance to do in this community before. “
Based in Grand Rapids Maxam Architecture SARL and Pinnacle Construction Group Inc. are working on renovations.
Schneider grew up in Long Island, NY, which is an inspiration for the menu with popular coastal fare such as seafood porridge and clam pastries. She also plans to have a New York style pastrami sandwich and a selection of chowders on the menu.
Schneider is aiming for a September opening – around ArtPrize 2021, which is scheduled from September 16 to October 4 – as renovations, menu development and staffing proceed as planned.
âWe talked a bit about ghost cooking and boiling seafood on the doorstep – we’ll see,â Schneider said. âIt’s been such a long road with Beacon, but we’re in no rush. There are usually more variables you have to deal with when it comes to opening a new location, but we don’t have many; it really is a reshaping for us.
Staffing also remains an ongoing challenge for Schneider in its two current restaurants as well as at the Beacon Corner Bar.
She is piloting a program in which employees receive a salary bonus of $ 300 if they are fully immunized and work at least 30 hours per week in one of the restaurants.
âWhat we need is to take the people we have and put them to work 30 hours,â Schneider said. âIf we had that, we wouldn’t have a jobs crisis. We hope that this will inspire other people in the company to work for us as well, because it is a very good incentive.
Schneider previously operated
CafÃ© San Chez in the future Beacon space. The cafe merged with the San Chez Bistro in 2015 to accommodate the space.
âOnce we found out that the Residence Inn project was coming across the street, we decided that the real estate was not being used to its full potential, that’s when we created the Beacon Corner Bar, âsaid Schneider.