GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Grandville icon Rainbow Grill has been acquired by a local restaurant company.
Restaurant Partners Management LLC, which also owns restaurants like the Beltline Bar, Bagel Beanery, Real Food Café and The Omelette Shoppe, has acquired the Grandville location on Chicago Drive near Prairie Street.
The Hudsonville location, located on 32nd Avenue near Hudson Trails Drive, will remain under third-generation owner John Zondervan. In a Wednesday Facebook post, John and Heidi Zondervan announced the Hudsonville location will be renamed ‘Arrows Restaurant.’
The Zondervans made the decision to sell the Grandville location after having their 10th child.
“As third generation owners and parents of 10 beautiful children, we have come to realize that more time was spent investing in our business than our family,” they wrote. “Thankfully, we have become aware of this and the importance of investing more time to our family. For this reason, we recently sold the Grandville location and the name Rainbow Grill along with it. We felt that as a cornerstone of Grandville for 77 years, it was important to keep that location as a Rainbow Grill with the new owners/operators. As of August 2023, the Hudsonville location will be known as Arrows Restaurant. Menu, recipes, values, everything will be the same. The only difference will be the name on the building.”
They explained the arrow is a symbol of their values, both for their family and for their restaurant.
“The forming of an arrow takes much work and great precision to fly straight,” they wrote. “This happens through much investment from the person crafting the arrow.”
Rainbow Grill first opened in Grandville 77 years ago and was purchased by the Zondervan family in 1954. Its new company intends to continue that legacy, Chief Operation Officer Pat Hilton said.
“Everybody in the community loves Rainbow Grill,” he said. “There’s kind of the old adage, ‘If it’s not broke, you don’t fix it.’ … We’re not looking to ‘fix’ anything.”
He stressed the company is not looking to change the restaurant, though they may update some furniture and kitchen equipment. Hilton said there’s also a possibility for a patio and they’re discussing hiring a baker to bake pies.
Restaurant Partners Management LLC had been looking to get into the Grandville community, Hilton said, pointing to a “very close knit community.” They reached out to the Zondervan family when they heard it may be available and asked if they could acquire the brand itself, not just the property.
“We worked through the details and we’re very excited to keep Rainbow Grill open and operating,” he said. “It’s been around for over 75 years and we look forward to keeping it here another 75.”
He explained the company’s owner, Jeff Lobdell, has created a niche of “acquiring brands that were great community gathering places.” Lobdell typically acquires legacy brands with an owner that is ready to retire or move on to the next chapter.
“The Rainbow Grill in Grandville has been a community gathering place for 77 years and holds a special place in the hearts of many West Michigan residents, including my wife Audrey’s,” Lobdell said in a news release. “She has fond memories of visiting Rainbow Grill regularly with her grandparents, brothers, and cousins growing up.”
He said he’s grateful to the Zondervan family for the work they put into Rainbow Grill.
Many in the community have memories at the breakfast spot, Hilton said. He recently spoke to a customer who remembered going on many dates at Rainbow Grill with their now-spouse.
“It’s pretty cool to have that nostalgic feel to the community, and I think that’s what makes Rainbow Grill so special,” Hilton said. “It’s the people who work here, and it’s the customers that visit.”