WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — A new restaurant concept is coming to a shuttered Chinese restaurant along 28th Street in Wyoming.
Andy Rosario, owner of the Rogers Plaza Town Center restaurant Maya Mexican Bar & Grill, tells News 8 he closed on the former Chinatown restaurant at 69 28th St. SW on Friday.
Rosario plans to deliver a new Latino restaurant concept to the area. He says the dining experience will be different than his most recent proposed concept, The Meat Up Gastropub.
Rosario and his wife Elizabeth originally planned to acquire the former J. Gardella’s Tavern in downtown Grand Rapids for $1.2 million and transform it into The Meat Up, a lounge-style restaurant with a focus on Argentinian cuts of meat, ceviche, fusion dishes and vegan “meats.” However, the couple backed away from the venture when the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, leading to market unpredictability. The former J. Gardella’s has since sold to another investor for $1.1 million.
Rosario says with the pandemic easing, business is picking up at Maya Mexican Bar & Grill and “everyone’s opening restaurants all over the place.” However, he says there’s nothing in the area like what he has envisioned for his newest 28th Street restaurant.
Rosario says the former Chinatown restaurant is about 1,000 square feet larger than J. Gardella’s and he was able to purchase it for less than a third of the price, at $375,000.
Plenty of work awaits Rosario at Wyoming’s former Chinatown restaurant, which closed in 2016, according to Signature Associates’ Vice President and Retail Director Joe Rizqallah. A message still taped to the door says the owners decided to retire after 40 years.
Rizqallah first connected Rosario with the property in August.
“The nice thing about building a community is there are already plenty of buildings that just need some good TLC,” Rizqallah told News 8. “With Chinatown, it’s a unique landmark in the city of Wyoming that can now serve a new family, new concept… (while retaining) its long history as a restaurant.”
Rosario says about 80% of the 8,000 square-foot building needs renovations.
Rosario says if all goes well, he should be able to open his newest restaurant in five to six months.