GRAND RAPIDS — Jessica Ann Tyson is taking the concept of a dog-friendly restaurant a step further by making canines her main customer.
Tyson, a restaurateur and owner of southern-style restaurant The Candied Yam LLC, presented her idea for The Beastro Fresh Canine Cuisine during a startup pitch competition earlier this week in Grand Rapids.
While Tyson’s idea was not selected as a finalist to receive $20,000 at Start Garden’s Demo Day, she still plans to open her restaurant for dogs in three weeks.
“It’s human-grade food, but it’s an experience for your dog,” Tyson told MiBiz.
Tyson wanted to open the restaurant in memory of her beloved dog, Skip, who lived to be 16 and was “very food-motivated,” she said.
“I wanted him to live forever, so I fed him the best of everything,” she said. “Skip would be very proud of me right now.”
The restaurant is located at 2309 44th St. SE on Grand Rapids’ south side. It will offer rice bowls to which owners can add their choice of protein, fresh vegetables and fruit, as well as “barkcuterie” boards with cheese curls and other treats for dogs. The restaurant will also source some of its food and treats from businesses owned by Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC), Tyson said.
“We have some BIPOC vendors, and it’s nice for us to be in this space, because we’re typically not, so it’s something new and different,” Tyson said.
Dogs will be able to eat their meal at The Beastro in areas that Tyson will separate with a decorative picket fence inside to avoid canine customers from getting in each others’ space, she explained. To-go options are also available.
Tyson said she has secured a permit for the business through the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.