GREENVILLE — After more than a year of planning, construction and remodeling, Bob Drake finally is offering another option for a classic breakfast and a unique lunch in the area.
Drake, owner of the new restaurant in Greenville called Drake’s Place, provides well-like food with an upscale feel at a reasonable price.
“The concept here is do it right and do it well,” Drake said. “My restaurant is not a diner or a café. It is a place where you get quality food, along side excellent service.”
Located in the heart of Greenville’s business district, at 104 S. Lafayette St., the restaurant opened quietly this past week.
“We ran a soft opening on Friday night and Saturday morning to give employees a feel for the menu and their jobs,” Drake said.
The weekend opening was a success, according to Drake. Family and friends of employees got to try the menu items before the restaurant fully opened to the public on Monday.
“We got quite a few compliments on the food, design and service,” Drake said. “These compliments have carried into our opening this week from the general public, too.”
Drake moved to Greenville two years ago after his last job as a plant manager was cut during the economic downturn.
“It devastated me a little bit,” Drake said. “So, I decided after that happened I was going to pull up stakes and make a change. Six weeks later, I moved up here to the cottage I own on Perch Lake.”
During what Drake calls his “little retirement,” he enjoyed getting to know the area and he developed a fondness for downtown Greenville.
“I fell in love with this town,” Drake said. “So about 14 months ago I started scouting this area because I decided I was going to do something fun.”
While Drake was getting ready for the opening of his new business he kept it closed off from the public’s view.
“I wanted it to be a mystery,” Drake said. “This place was trashed, we had to completely remodel and before the public could see, I wanted it to be right.”
The interior design of Drake’s place is his way of paying tribute to the town that has offered him so much is such a short period time.
“You can see Greenville, Michigan as you enter my place,” Drake said. “From every picture that hangs on the walls to the clock above the fireplace — this is who we are Greenville, and this is awesome because Greenville is awesome.”
Front of the house manager and Greenville resident Kim Taylor recalled the work that took place during that year.
“My husband and Bob did most of the work since they were builders,” Taylor said. “I helped with the grunt work though, like pulling up the carpet and taking out what was trash in this place.”
The weeks leading up to the opening had Taylor excited and she was ready to serve.
“I felt like a little girl getting ready to go to Disney World,” Taylor said. “I waited tables before but this time it is different this place has part of my heart into it and I am glad Bob has given me this opportunity to assist him when and where he needs me.”
Drake and Taylor developed the menu with quality, quantity and affordability in mind. Drake’s offers freshly made soups daily, along with sandwiches served up in a wrap, pretzel roll or a panini. Breakfast is also served all day. The menu is limited and unique and he has four items on the menu that bears his name.
“We put my name on those items because it was what I like to cook and eat at home,” Drake said. “Every little thing we do is worth it because we want to stand out from everybody else.”
It has been an important journey for Drake and he has encountered many people in the area that have treated him well while he was preparing to open his own business.
“The people of this town have been good to me everywhere I go,” Drake said. “I feel that people are important to me and customer service must come first.”
Drakes’ Place is open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Drake’s also offers take-out but do not deliver at this time.