HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A community favorite in Holland is reopening its doors after more than two years.
Goog’s Pub & Grub announced it was closing in August 2020, about 18 years after it opened in 2002. On Wednesday, fans will again be able to grab a burger when it opens in a new mixed-use development at 667 Hastings Ave. near the intersection of 32nd Street and US-31.
“People are anxious to come in,” Goog’s owner Brad White told News 8.
White, who said he’s been in the restaurant industry his entire life — his father opened The Butler in Saugatuck the year before he was born — said he’s excited to reopen.
“My favorite thing probably is when I walk out into the dining room, and I see people eating and the joy on their face from the burgers,” he said. “When you go out and (see) people … wiping the grease off their arms and off their chin, cause they’re just fully enjoying it. … That’s what keeps me going.”
While he’s excited, White said he’s “very scared, too.”
“‘Cause it’s going to be kind of a zoo to get started. There’s a lot of people that (have) been waiting a long time to have one of our burgers again,” he said. “People are going to have to understand it’s small and not everybody can come the first day. It’s going to take a while before we can get everybody in here, but we’ll get to them sooner or later.”
White said plans to close Goog’s began in January 2020. He originally planned on fully shutting down the restaurant and opening a market by itself.
“We were scheduled to (close) April 1st of 2020. Well, we know what happened just a couple weeks before that,” White said. “So I decided we can’t put everybody out of a work right now, plus the construction companies weren’t working then.”
The pandemic delayed his plans and the restaurant remained open for a few more months until its closure in the summer of 2020.
The aging building was demolished in April 2021. White said there were issues with the building that weren’t fixable, including problems with the drains and the foundation.
“We’d spent a lot of money trying to keep it standing, basically,” White explained.
Construction soon started on a new building, which includes eight apartments and the MGB Market (meat, grocery, beverage).
White said Goog’s customers can shop at MGB Market, directly connected with the restaurant, while they wait for a table.
“Being so small, there’s going to be a wait for tables,” White said. “So the idea is while you wait for tonight’s dinner, shop for tomorrow’s.”
Some of the market’s offerings will be the cheeses, bacons, seasonings and other burger ingredients found on Goog’s menu.
“If you had a burger that you like, (you) should be able to get most of the stuff over there if you want to make it at home,” White said.
It will also offer things like fresh-cut steaks, wine, seafood, desserts and fresh flowers from a local florist, he said.
BRINGING BACK THE ‘GREATEST HITS’
The restaurant’s menu will bring back some of the “greatest hits,” White said, and introduce some new items.
The menu will include the two top-selling burgers: the Phoenix Burger, which has six pepper blend seasoned beef, jalapeno bacon, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo and lettuce, and the Mac & Cheese Burger, which has Lawry’s seasoning, mac & cheese, bacon, Boursin cheese and American cheese.
White said the new items include the Piggy Back burger, which includes a BBQ-seasoned patty, pulled pork, bacon, cheddar jack cheese and BBQ sauce.
Also on the menu, which was released Saturday, are salads, sandwiches and appetizers.
The new concept has a smaller kitchen than before, so there are fewer burgers on the menu. While Goog’s at one point offered 35 burgers, it now has 15, White said. It has also gone from 110 seats to 34 seats and nine bar stools. White anticipates there will be a lot of to-go offers. He said the restaurant is smaller because of staffing issues: “(It) is really hard to get enough people to work these days.”
Goog’s has enough staff to open Wednesday, but it is looking to hire more people. If you’re interested in applying, White said to stop in for an application or message him on the Goog’s Facebook page.
He said there has been a “phenomenal” response from the community.
“We put out a post that we’re opening the 26th and we had like 800 likes in the first two hours of people that are excited and sharing it,” he said. “It’s kind of going like wildfire right now.”