Mid-Michigan sees new restaurants opening in post-pandemic era

New local restaurants are opening across mid-Michigan after many were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 10:47 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) – New local restaurants are opening across mid-Michigan after many were forced to close during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The fear’s always going to be there. But if we let fear dictate our lives, we’re not going to be anywhere,” said David Young, the owner of Notch’yo Food Truck.

Young took the leap in the post-pandemic era to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant location in Birch Run. This comes in the wake of thousands of businesses being forced to close due to the pandemic.

Young said his customers are the reason he opened his restaurant and why it is a success.

“The other businesses had set up for relying on strictly dine-in. A lot of our customers do more carry out which allows us to be, you know, if something ever happened again, to be prepared for that worst-case scenario,” Young said.

According to the National Restaurant Association, in 2021, 90,000 restaurants closed permanently or long-term because of the pandemic. Pre-pandemic they reported there was a net gain of approximately 10,000 new restaurants per year.

Now, post-pandemic mid-Michigan looks to be booming with new restaurants and businesses opening each month. From local family-owned spots like Notch’yo Burger ‘N’ Snow in Birch Run to chains like Moe’s Southwest Grill in Bay City, which opened in April, restaurant owners are moving forward.

“What we have built our principal on is the fact that we don’t charge our customers for food that’s getting thrown away. The larger the menu, the more stuff that’s either frozen or getting pitched at the end of the day. Our technique and our focus is food that is able to be served and sold out,” Young said.

Young said support from the community and fellow business owners will help keep the growth going.

“We are extremely supportive though because a lot of the ones that are opening up are family-owned, operated,” Young said. “I have people that I’ve helped start food trucks, my brother owns a food truck as well, and so we can, you know, compete, so to say, for the same event, but the people are always gonna go with what the people want. So it’s just our job to put a product out there that the people recognize and that they are wanting.”

With restaurants opening across mid-Michigan, hopefully the food and beverage industry will bounce back to pre-pandemic numbers.

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