Wood Fire owner to take over St. Joseph restaurant

Published 6:28 pm Monday, January 13, 2014

For more than 24 years, Schu’s Grill and Bar at the corner of Pleasant Street and Lake Boulevard in St. Joseph has been a favorite dining spot for locals and tourists where they can enjoy an outstanding view of Lake Michigan. The restaurant has always taken an active role creating jobs, employing as many as 90 employees during peak season, and has set the standard for initiating and supporting community events. All of the facets that make Schu’s Grill and Bar will not change.

The only change that will occur in the next couple of weeks is that Larry Schuler, President/Owner of Schu’s Grill and Bar will hand the reins to Jim Kramer, President/Owner of O B Glad – Michigan.

Jim Kramer is no stranger to the restaurant business.  His company owns and operates Tim’s Too, in the same building as Schu’s Grill and Bar, the Wood Fire in Dowagiac, and Nancy’s and Roma Pizzeria in New Buffalo.

Krammer recently retired as an ordained minister of the Evangelical Covenant Church where he had served for 35 years in various churches.  His “hobbies” have been the hospitality industry and sailing. His philosophy has been that church is about serving people, nurturing souls through the spiritual bread of life, building community by connecting people and spreading the Good News.

Kramer believes truly great restaurants do the same with a twist.  They build an atmosphere where community is felt, create a place where people can connect, provide great food, and the news will spread.  All lessons learned growing up in a family where making people feel at home was of utmost importance.

Kramer plans to keep the name Schu’s Grill and Bar, employ the current staff and feature the signature dishes.

“Larry has done a great job in building a fine restaurant,” Kramer said. “I hope to continue to offer the same level of hospitality for our patrons and to maintain the high standard of service to the community. With five restaurants, we should be able to leverage our presence and capabilities in southwest Michigan.”

Throughout 2014, will help the transition by providing cross-training for employees, assisting in event coordination and ensuring good lines of communication and management.

“I am really proud of what we have accomplished at Schu’s Grill and Bar,” Schuler said. “Throughout the years we have put young professionals to work.  We have employed roughly 1,800 college students working summers at the restaurant or Schu’s on Silver Beach. We started the Molly Schuler Foundation with the Berrien Community Foundation to support local initiatives such as the 4-H Robotics program, Hospice, Lory’s Place, Boys and Girls Club, Glassworks student scholarships, Overflow Christian Community Development Association and assistance to oncology care patients. I am especially proud of establishing the Schu’s International Triathlon, which was the U.S. National Pro Championships held here in 1994-1996. This was the forerunner to today’s Steelhead Triathlon competition.”

Schuler continued, “I have had great opportunities as a result of my experience owning area restaurants including serving as chairman of the board of directors for the St. Joseph Today Association, co-founding the St. Joseph Ice Carving Festival, being appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan Travel Commission, establishing West Michigan Athletic Ventures, Inc, a non-profit that offers local scholarships to high school students that cannot afford the fees to participate in sports or music programs, serving as chairman of the Michigan Restaurant Association, serving as a trustee for the Berrien Community Foundation, and serving as an officer of the St. Joseph Improvement Association.”

During and following the transition, Schuler is planning to expand his other company, Schu’s Hospitality Group, LLC, both regionally and nationally.

Schu’s Hospitality Group offers management and consulting food service functions in golf courses, resorts, healthcare industry, and chain restaurants. Currently, he is under a consulting agreement locally, with the Point O Woods Golf and Country Club.