ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A love for pizza and pasta inspired the chef and owner of a new restaurant coming to downtown Ada this summer.
Construction is underway for Myrth at 7423 River St. SE, across from the Thornapple River near Fulton Street.
Chef and owner Paul Berglund, who moved to Ada with his wife in the summer of 2020, said he loves the small-town, family feel of of the community while being close to Grand Rapids. He said Ada has been welcoming to him and his family and excitement is growing for the restaurant.
“One of the things that I’ve been really honored by and really blown away by is the response that we’ve already gotten from some of the people in Ada,” Berglund said.
He had hoped to create his restaurant in 2020 but COVID-19 proved to be an obstacle.
“I was hopeful that I could just hit the ground running and start the ball rolling for this restaurant. But as you can imagine, the middle of 2020 was a really hard time for restaurants. For our society in general, but for restaurants specifically,” he said.
He put the idea to rest for a year and picked things up again mid-2021.
Now, the restaurant is set to open in early June. It will seat around 90 people inside and 36 on a patio facing the river. It will look to hire around 40 people starting in April.
Berglund said he hopes the restaurant will become a neighborhood spot for families and friends in Ada to gather, as well as a place that’s welcoming for people throughout West Michigan.
His menu, inspired by the seasons of West Michigan, will use fresh produce and meat from the area. It will “showcase the best that West Michigan seasons have to offer, through the lens of wood-fired pizzas and freshly-made pastas,” a release on the restaurant says.
Berglund said he has enjoyed working closely with farmers throughout his career.
“That’s really truly one of the greatest joys for me in professional cooking, is taking what farmers provide us and what they work so hard to create and honoring it on the plate and serving that to guests,” he said.
The award-winning chef started out in the U.S. Navy. When he got out, he started prepping to go to law school and was studying to take the LSAT. With the help of his brother, a lawyer, Berglund said he realized he wasn’t “destined” for that line of work.
So he decided to explore his love of cooking. In 2003, he got a job at a restaurant in California. The work and the people made it the perfect fit.
“I lucked out and got the best culinary education possible at the restaurant that I worked at,” Berglund said. “I’ve loved it ever since.”
He eventually moved to the Midwest and became the executive chef at The Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There, he won the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest in 2016.
But his first cooking job was making wood-fired pizzas and he’s carried a love for pizza and pasta ever since.
“I’ve really been just inspired by those two things ever since,” he said. “When I got the chance to do my own restaurant and open my own restaurant, it was kind of a no-brainer. It was pizza and pasta all the way.”
He said he loves “the physical nature of it and the hands-on nature of a living, breathing pizza dough.”
“The excitement that people have about pizza and pasta — I’m definitely not alone in that excitement. A lot of people love it. It’s kind of as American as apple pie is, both of them,” he said. “I think people are just really excited. And hopefully we won’t disappoint them.”