Greenville’s Huckleberry’s celebrates 20 years

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 2:11 pm on Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mike “Huck” and Linda Huckleberry stand next to the wide variety of wine they offer at Huckleberry’s Restaurant. Not only is Linda Huckleberry an expert when it comes to selection, but she also hosts wine-tasting events throughout the year. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

GREENVILLE — Huckleberry’s Restaurant has served the Greenville area for two decades by keeping up with the demands of its customers.

In January 1992, Mike “Huck” Huckleberry bought the Happy-Go-Lucky Saloon at 112 S. Lafayette St. and transformed it into a place for people to enjoy with great food.

Twenty years later, Huckleberry and his wife, Linda, still love coming to the establishment.

“We like seeing customers,” he said. “We haven’t lost our enthusiasm.”

To help thank their customers, Huckleberry’s will be having a 20th anniversary party from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

Customers will receive 20 percent off their entire bill with food and beverages included for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every customer will receive a gift certificate valued up to $10.

Door prizes will be awarded throughout the day along with the opportunity to win a $100, $50 or $25 gift certificate.

Also, through the month of January, Huckleberry’s is offering a two for $20 special for two sizzler dinners, which includes soup and salad bar.

Three businesses in one

Huckleberry’s does its best to be a family-friendly place and to make sure customer satisfaction is up to par. Linda Huckleberry said people want good food and Huckleberry’s has not compromised the quality of its food.

“It’s a restaurant that serves alcohol,” Mike Huckleberry said. “Not a bar that serves food.”

After purchasing the saloon, he bought the building next door. He wanted to expand the business and accommodate two different atmospheres.

That is exactly what he did.

Because the Huckleberrys are close their customers, most are usually greeted with a hug and conversation. Pictured from left are Tim Finch, Devin Wernette, Neal Finch, Mike Huckleberry, Mary Jane Finch, Millie Finch and Kennedy Wernette. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

An area between the two buildings was knocked out to connect to the space. Huckleberry decided to move the bar from the original building to the annex, which allowed him to turn the bar into a wine gallery and salad bar.

This helped to give a bar side and a family side to Huckleberry’s.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” Huckleberry said.

The kitchen also was remodeled to accommodate not only restaurant orders but also the company’s catering business.

Linda Huckleberry said the kitchen is small but can hold three to four cooks if needed.

“It was laid out in a smart way,” Linda Huckleberry said.

The catering business cooks for a few people to groups into the hundreds, so the cooks need to be able to move efficiently.

To add some character, Mike Huckleberry added fish tanks into the wall that still separated the two areas.

“The kids really enjoy them,” Huckleberry said of the fish tanks.

Pure Michigan

Over the years, Mike and Linda Huckleberry have enjoyed watching customers come in with their children and now seeing those children come in with their children.

To entertain the customers, Huckleberry’s had eight televisions added to the restaurant and bar areas.
Just recently, Mike Huckleberry received input from customers regarding seating. The customers liked and wanted more booths, so he added more in the bar area.

On top of the remodeling over the years, the Huckleberrys try to offer the best products for their customers, including a wide variety of craft beers. They have purchased some of the first kegs from breweries around Michigan to be showcased at Huckleberry’s.

“We try to have at least half of the beers on tap from Michigan at all times,” Linda Huckleberry said.

They also try to feature Michigan products as much as possible, including potatoes grown in the area. The restaurant has been decorated with Pure Michigan ads.

“(We) believe in promoting local and state constantly,” Mike Huckleberry said.

Extra services

With the poor economy, the Huckleberrys accommodate their customers by offering 16 items for less than $6.99. Thursday through Saturday, Huckleberry’s provides entertainment for customers, including a pianist and a DJ.

Linda Huckleberry, who has developed a flair for wines, offers her expertise to customers by pairing wines with certain foods.
Huckleberry’s offers wine retail and occasionally Linda Huckleberry will hold wine tasting events at the restaurant.

Mike Huckleberry said they offer a Danish wine to customers as well. Some of the proceeds raised from that wine go toward the Danish Festival.

Although there has been a lot of change at Huckleberry’s during the past 20 years, one thing that remained the same was its customers.

“We want to thank our customers and friends who have hung with us,” Mike Huckleberry said.

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