Group to convert The Waldron to new tiki-themed bar in Grand Rapids

BY Tuesday, April 30, 2019 10:49am

GRAND RAPIDS — The Waldron Public House, owned and operated by Grand Rapids-based BarFly Ventures LLC, will be transformed into a three-story tiki bar and restaurant this summer.

The new project, Max’s South Seas Hideaway, is a partnership involving BarFly founder Mark Sellers, author and bar owner Martin Cate, and Gecko, a Hawaii-based tiki and Polynesian artist. The new concept at 58 Ionia Ave. SW is set to open in August.

“The level of talent working together to create this oasis will put Grand Rapids on the map for tiki enthusiasts around the world,” Sellers said in a statement. “More importantly, Max’s will serve as a unique and unforgettable getaway for people in west Michigan looking to escape reality — even if only for a few hours.”

The restaurant will feature exotic cocktails and a menu that fuses Asian, Hawaiian and American cuisine, according to a statement. It will be decorated by a large portion of Sellers’ collection of “rare mid-century” tiki art.

Cate and Sellers also collaborated to open TikiCat, a tiki bar in the basement of the Kansas City HopCat.

The bar will be owned and operated separately from BarFly. Max’s will lease the building, which is owned by Terra Firma Development LLC.

The partners also are planning seven tiki-themed short-term rental apartments on the third floor, pending city approval. They expect to complete that part of the project in early 2020.

BarFly closed the Waldron to the public in 2016 and started using the space for private events, as MiBiz previously reported. Its last private event is April 30, according to a spokesman for Max’s.

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