Opening a restaurant is exciting, it’s scary and like a restaurant itself it’s filled with rushes and lulls. The last couple of weeks we have had lots of momentum, some celebrations and even a little pasta. We are so excited that the city shares our vision to upcycle shipping containers and build a very unique place that serves fresh, local food downtown. Now it’s time to get it done!
A few weeks ago Jeff went before the city to ask for the opportunity to buy a special liquor license, this is a big part of the plans for Nipote’s so it was, of course a little nerve wracking; however, everyone was so wonderful and seems excited to have new growth in the area. There was a cheer from the crowd, thank you for investing in downtown from the board and the Mayor even spoke a little Italian while requesting gnocchi. We were then on the hunt for a local general contractor and we are so happy to say that we have found one of the best (we think the very best) in the area. He’s very familiar with downtown Muskegon and happens to be Jeff’s uncle, Bob Herrmann with Clifford Buck construction, keeping with the intent for Nipote’s to be centered around family! We then had the chance to visit the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago where we saw great chefs, cool technology and some amazing food. We’ll be sure to do a follow up post on the show. When we returned Mlive had posted an article on Nipote’s and shared the first rendering and we have been overwhelmed by the positive responses and support. Thank you!
Along with the article came lots of questions mainly around the menu, the structure and when we were opening so I’ll make an attempt to keep you up to date! As for the menu, many questions were about pizza and while we love pizza (one of the most unique ones we tried in Italy featured tunafish and olives) it won’t be a staple on the menu because we think there are lots of amazing places to get pizza, especially downtown. Fricano’s is one of our favorites post run, Top Shelf, 18th Amendment and Rebel Pies all serve unique pizza downtown and we love Handsome HoBo’s who will gladly deliver one of their amazing deep dish pies (not to mention the Muskegon staple-Scribbs). We will have gluten free options; however there will be flour in the air as we plan to offer some wonderful hand made pastas. For our vegetarian friends the good news is that authentic Italian dishes are vegetable forward so we’ll have lots of options. We also have 4 kids of our own so we will offer a kids menu with great healthy options. As for the final menu we are still working on that and plan to fine tune it with some tastings before we open. We will offer panini, pastas with wonderful sauces, soup, salad, entrees, charcuterie and rich Italian coffee with some sweet options as well-it wouldn’t be an Italian kitchen without gelato. The menu will be seasonal and we will feature a two block menu on the weekend with everything sourced from the farmer’s market and downtown shops. Expect the menu to change so that we can bring you produce that’s fresh and in season or a featured cheese.
There were also a few questions about our choice to use shipping containers as part of the structure. When we realized we’d have to build from scratch we really wanted to take the opportunity to create a unique space with a small footprint and that gave us the chance to upcycle using shipping containers which are sustainable, energy efficient, reduced timber usage and will give us the ability to build on a less than level piece of land. As container architecture can also reduce the time to build, we are hopeful that we will meet our rather aggressive goal of opening by September. We know lots of unexpected things can happen along the way so we’ll keep you updated on our timeline. We are so grateful for the support of the community and cannot wait to open our doors to you.