When Bobcat Bonnie's opens this summer, don't be surprised to see a little bit of the old O'Blivions in the character of the new gastropub. Managing partner Matt Buskard tells Eater that he plans to keep the bones of O'Blivions with a few updates. "We're going to get rid of some of the little trinkets," he says, while staining some of the wood darker to "give it that cool pub feel."
"We want to be a little bit different, a little unique, but approachable."
Buskard has plenty of restaurant experience. During his career in the industry, he's helped opened 12 restaurants including Gold Cash Gold down the street. "I love restaurant openings. All that training and all that excitement, it's a good energy." Buskard says that seeing the success of Corktown's Cooley family, owners of Slow's, inspired him to take the leap into restaurant ownership.
Through connections dating back to his days running restaurants in Grand Rapids, Buskard reached out to O'Blivions' landlord and made a deal to take over the space. Despite having shuttered for several months, Buskard says he continues to be impressed by how well the restaurant stood the test of time. Because "Mike, the landlord, did take such good care of the bar . . . nothing big has to be done. It's literally some cosmetic updates."
Buskard is currently in the process of securing a team including a chef to help design the pub's menu. In terms of the food he says: "We want to be a little bit different, a little unique, but approachable." The owner envisions Bonnie's as not just a place for the weekend crowds, but for people in the neighborhood to drop in for lunch or dinner a few days a week. From the bar expect a selection of cocktails, a short list of reasonably priced and drinkable wines, as well as Michigan craft beers. Bobcat Bonnie's aims to open by mid-July.