GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Creston neighborhood favorite is being taken over by new owners. Essence Restaurant Group, which owns The Green Well, Bistro Bella Vita and Grove, has purchased Lucy’s Café from CWD Real Estate.
In a news release, Essence CEO and partner James Berg said the company wasn’t actively looking to add a fourth restaurant but “couldn’t pass up” the opportunity.
“Lucy’s has been doing really well with its breakfast, brunch and coffee bar concept. The building is in great shape and the Creston area continues to gain foot and car traffic, so we were excited to add it to the Essence family of establishments,” Berg said. “Lucy’s commitment to local sourcing and scratch kitchen menu is very consistent with Essence’s approach. We are excited to collaborate with Lucy’s team and achieve further success.”
The café’s name, menu and hours of operation will stay the same while the new owners get a better feel for the community, but Essence says they plan to expand hours eventually. Essence is also working to obtain a liquor license for Lucy’s.
Just like its building, Lucy’s has undergone several changes over the years. The building near the corner of Ann Street and Plainfield Avenue was purchased and opened as Daane’s Market in 1958, co-founded by David Daane and his brother-in-law Simon VanderKooy. In 1978, it became D’Amico’s Food Mart and served the Creston neighborhood until closing in 2011.
Still owned by the VanderKooy family, the building sat vacant until Simon VanderKooy’s children renovated the space and opened two restaurants: Brighton Graye’s Bistro and Little Lucy’s Café. The Brighton concept was eventually scrapped and allowed Lucy’s to expand.
Over the last couple of years, the VanderKooys had worked with CWD Real Estate, selling the building and staying on as restaurant operators until CWD could find someone to take over. That led them to Essence.
“CWD and Essence Restaurant Group have partnered for more than 15 years on Cherry Street, so this is truly a natural extension of the pioneering work we have done together,” CWD Real Estate managing partner Sam Cummings stated.
The VanderKooy family says they are excited to see what’s in store for the restaurant.
“My brother Brian and I have been operating Lucy’s for more than five years in addition to our real estate business, VanderKooy Management, so we are looking to concentrate our time on what we do best,” Jan VanderKooy said in a release. “We have confidence that Sam Cummings and CWD will maintain the building as a neighborhood asset and James Berg will take Lucy’s Café to the next level.”