24-year-old opens restaurant in Buchanan

Published 2:51 pm Friday, December 13, 2013


It takes courage to open a business.

It takes even more to do it at age 24, like Buchanan’s Tyler Gustavsen.

“I look at it like if I am going to spend 16-17-18 hours a day doing anything, it doesn’t bother me if it has to do something with food,” said Gustavsen, who this month opened Coward, an ironically named restaurant in downtown Buchanan, specializing in stone oven pizza, bread, pastries and coffee.

“Too many passionate, talented people spend all day slaving away in the kitchen at home and don’t ever take it to the next level because they don’t have the money or don’t want to take a risk.”

The inside features natural brick walls, large windows, clean wooden tables and heavy black metal chairs that, when combined, create a casual, but modern atmosphere.

To top it all off, Gustavsen cut and stacked against a back corner wall more than 100 logs painted white to resemble birch wood.

“I want it to be upscale casual,” he said. “When I go out to eat I want the full experience. I want someone to walk me through the menu, ask me how my meal is going — that’s what we do.”

The menu changes daily, but features at least three unique pizza choices. One of Thursday’s pizzas, called “The Fun-Guy,” was made with peppered cremini mushrooms, red onion, oregano, mozzarella, olive oil, and topped with midnight goat cheese.

“I don’t like the word pizza because it reminds me of something cheap, something you’d have in college,” said Gustavsen. “I want to turn pizza into a whole other thing… use things people don’t normally associate with pizza.”

Looking for coffee?

Gustavsen roasts and grinds everything to order. Order a latte and he’ll top it off with a foam design.

“No one is doing that around here because it’s hard. I literally wasted a thousand dollars worth of milk learning how to do it,” he said.

Gustavsen said his customers should expect quality food. His dough is made from organic flour that is naturally leavened with yeast he’s been cultivating for months.

His only other employee is his girlfriend, Sherilyn Delgado, who moved from Ann Arbor to help him run the place.

The couple hope people give the restaurant a chance.

“When you’re young people don’t really respect you,” Gustavsen said. “People come in skeptical. But watching them get their food, enjoy it and leave nothing behind makes it worth it.”

As for the name Coward, Gustavsen said he wanted it to be memorable.

“I know it’s weird and some people aren’t going to like it, but you won’t forget it,” he said.

Coward, located at 107 Main St., is open Thursday through Sunday.

Cafe hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Dining hours are 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Sunday and 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Check them out at facebook.com/cowardmainstreet.