GRAND RAPIDS — One Trick Pony Grill & Taproom and the nearly century-old Cottage Bar and Restaurant have both sold a year after one of the owners announced plans to retire and find a buyer for the businesses.
The Palace of India owners Jaswinder and Sandeep Dhami bought One Trick Pony and the 94-year-old Cottage Bar. Palace of India restaurant is located at 138 E. Fulton St., next to One Trick Pony and on the same block as The Cottage Bar.
“We were looking for another business and saw they were trying to sell because they wanted to retire, and it was next door and easy to manage,” Sandeep Dhami told MiBiz. “The staff will be the same — we are more than happy with the staff, they were there for such a long time.”
Sandeep said the plan is for the Cottage Bar to stay the same, but they are considering potential menu changes at One Trick Pony.
Dhami said buying a restaurant in a pandemic comes with some risk, but they are hoping for continued community support.
“We need people’s support,” Dhami said. “We are nothing without the community.”
The Cottage Bar first opened in 1927 as a sandwich shop and is the oldest operating bar and restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids, according to the bar’s website. Dan Verhil, John Verhil and Mae Verhil have owned Cottage Bar since 1967. The partners opened One Trick Pony next door in 1996.
Both establishments shut down when the pandemic hit. The Cottage Bar reopened Feb. 2 and is operating at 25 percent capacity. Verhil said in a news release that the new owners value the historical legacy of the Cottage Bar and One Trick Pony. Verhil has led the establishments for the past 41 years after buying the businesses from his father in 1980.
“Thank you so much to all my loyal guests and staff for their loyalty and patronage over the years,” Verhil said. “It is a bittersweet moment for me to step away, but I feel it is time for the new owners to be the custodian of these iconic restaurants as I move on to my next adventure.”
Dan Verhil announced about a year ago that he was looking to sell the businesses and retire. He is holding a socially distanced walkthrough for longtime patrons on March 15.
The nearly 100-year-old Cottage Bar has served a diverse cross section of the Grand Rapids community over the years and has hosted live music. Verhil also started the Cottage Bar Chili Cook-off in 1982, which became an annual event that lasted through 2018 and generated more than $125,000 for local charities.
“As I make this transition, I look forward to visiting with — and thanking — the wonderful colleagues, customers, partners and community members who I have come to know as friends,” Verhil said in his statement last year. “I trust that you and they will continue to support and enjoy these heritage restaurants long into the future.”
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