Food Service & Agriculture, Real Estate, and Retail

Littlebird restaurant opens downtown

November 3, 2017
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Littlebird restaurant Grand Rapids
Courtesy Littlebird

The culinary team behind That Early Bird Café in Eastown has opened a new restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids.

The husband-and-wife team of Joel Wabeke and Sarah Wepman — with an assist from business partner Stephen Curtis, VP of Rowster Coffee — have opened Littlebird restaurant, at 95 Monroe Center St. NW.

Wabeke and Curtis co-founded and co-own That Early Bird Café. Along with Wepman, they began planning Littlebird after taking over the space vacated by Fat Johnny’s Cheesesteak when it closed in the fall of 2016.

Matthew Burrough, Abigail Therrien and Wabeke will serve as chefs.

The restaurant, which Wepman describes as “modern yet nostalgic” and “café-style,” will start out offering breakfast and lunch, including a full coffee menu, house-made sodas and egg creams, and the same array of pastries available at That Early Bird Café.

Wepman said the restaurant will promote “sustainable agriculture” by sourcing “pasture-raised meats” for its made-from-scratch menu.

HopCat’s bar designer and woodworker Marc Wiegers, of Greenwood Studio, custom-built a bar that runs the length of the restaurant on one side. The other side features banquette seating. The restaurant seats 49 people total.

Once Littlebird receives a liquor license — which is expected at the end of this month — it will start serving cocktails, wine and beer — paired with a “creative” happy hour menu, dinner offerings and Sunday brunch, Wepman said.

Grand Rapids-based CWD Real Estate Investment is the landlord for the space.

Darrel Herweyer, at DAR Development, assisted in brokering the deal.

The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and closed on Sunday.

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