Progress continues on new Round Oak Restaurant

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016

(Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

(Leader photo/TED YOAKUM)

After nearly six months of work, the pieces are all falling into place for the new owners of a former downtown destination.

Work continues on the interior of the former Round Oak Restaurant, which soon be reopened for business under the new name Round Oak Revisited. Owners Bob and Cindy Brosnan have spent the last several months working with various contractors to repair and restore the famed Dowagiac restaurant, which has been closed since early 2013.

While they had originally been shooting to open by February, the owners have encountered issues that have thrown off these initial estimates, including having to replace the building’s roof, Cindy said.

“We want to do it right by opening day, so we don’t have to close our doors a few months later for repairs,” Brosnan said.

While things are still very much in the air, Brosnan hopes to open the restaurant in about another four weeks, she said.

In the meantime, the couple, who purchased the 10,000-square-foot structure from former owner Doug McKay last September, has worked on getting the place in order for their first batch of customers.

In addition to ordering and installing new furniture, light fixtures, carpeting and kitchen equipment, the owners have focused on refurbishing the familiar tables, booths, bannisters and doorways that have been in place since the days the business started. By doing so, Brosnan hopes to preserve the unique ambience of the original Round Oak Restaurant, she said.

“Old customers will walk in and still recognize it as Round Oak, but tweaked just a bit to bring it up to date,” Brosnan said.

The owners have also hired several employees thus far, and are looking for several more before opening, Brosnan said.

Working along side their daughter, Jolene, who will serve as manager of the establishment, the owners plan on offering customers a variety of American-style dishes at a variety of price points. Visitors can enjoy either a traditional dining experience in the northern portion of the restaurant or a more casual one in the bistro and bar area.

“We want to keep everything reasonable, where people can come and have a night out and have it fit right into their budget,” Brosnan said.

In spite of the hundreds of hours she and her family have poured into the restaurant over the last several months, Brosnan, a former marketer and registered nurse, is loving the freedom that comes with owning a business, she said.

“I’ve never had so much fun in my entire life,” she said.

Others in the community share similar levels of energy when it comes to the impending opening of Round Oak Revisited. For example, Brosnan now expects to spend twice as long purchasing groceries in town, due to the amount of people who stop her in the aisles to ask about the progress of the restaurant, she said.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “It goes to show that the restaurant will be a good asset for the community. There’s a lot of excitement.”