Food Service & Agriculture, Lakeshore, and Small Business & Startups

Chef buys bar and grill

May 16, 2016
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Mermaid Bar & Grill
The food menu at Mermaid Bar & Grill in Saugatuck features seafood, steak, burgers and sandwiches, as well as barbecue and vegetarian items. Photo via

A restaurateur and two-time chef of the year is taking over a bar and restaurant in the region.

Eric Chaitin, owner of Ottawa Beach Inn and Ottawa Beach Pizza Co. in Holland, has purchased Mermaid Bar & Grill in Saugatuck, at 340 Water St.

“My family and I are very happy to have found the perfect waterfront restaurant here in Saugatuck,” Chaitin said. “The Mermaid is a well-known and well-loved restaurant within this community, and we look forward to continuing its rich tradition and history.”

Chaitin purchased the restaurant from Patrick Shanahan and Sharon Shanahan, who will be involved in the restaurant through the summer to help with the transition.

Chaitin doesn’t plan to make any immediate changes to Mermaid, but he’s working on ideas to further enhance and expand Mermaid’s dining experience.

“Our family has loved this restaurant and this community for more than 20 years,” the Shanahans said in a statement. “The staff and the guests have become part of the Mermaid extended family.

“We are excited to welcome Eric and his family. With Eric’s extensive experience, we are confident that the Mermaid experience of great food, service and fun times will be a continued tradition for all of our valued guests.”

Chaitin’s experience

The new owner of Mermaid Bar & Grill has more than 30 years of experience in the food industry.

Chaitin's cooking career began at a summer home for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and he’s worked at Hotel InterContinental and the Ritz Carlton in Chicago and was the executive chef at Lettuce Entertain You and mentored by Dennis Terczak, owner of Sole Mio.

In 2000, Chaitin came to the Grand Rapids market as the executive chef at Rose’s, where he and his team were named restaurant of the year.

He also won two chef of the year awards during his 10 years at Watermark Properties.

Previously, Chaitin owned the Odie Dogs food truck in Douglas, where he has lived for three years.

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