Monday, May 9, 2016

A Visit to Byron Center ~ 5/6/16

There's a well-known, big chicken here, standing next to a hotel/restaurant established in 1902. None of us had been to the restaurant, noted for its chicken dinners, so tonight was the night.
We thought it might be closed at first due to the real estate sign but another "open" sign encouraged us to walk in.
The place definitely has an old-timey, divey feel to it, and the two men at the bar turned to stare at us when we entered. We were not locals.
Our server was the daughter-in-law of the owner and filled us in on the real estate sign. Apparently Dan Pfeiffer pressured the Township to withhold all new liquor licenses for 5 years when he opened 84th Street Pub & Grille. They are into year 2 of the 5 and existing liquor licenses are now pretty valuable, and Byron Station has one. So they are entertaining offers for the license and/or the real estate.

We all ordered the chicken dinners and were served promptly and ably. It was just ok but soaking in the atmosphere and information was great.
Our server also informed us that this was still an operating hotel with six rooms to rent upstairs and a co-joined mens/womens bathroom!? After we finished dinner, two of us explored upstairs while one checked out the restroom downstairs. While taking a photo peering over the stall, she was joined by a ghost of a person she was not aware of. Spooky :-)
No photos were taken of the "hotel" upstairs. It was gross. One room had an empty mattress, another had messed up bed sheets, another room was storage, and another looked like a used sitting room. The other side of the hall contained the aforementioned bathroom, an empty bar and a lounge. So we were out of there and decided to walk down the few blocks that is downtown Byron Center.
Lots of people were lined up for ice cream and we spotted an old barber's pole next door.
Dutch heritage was obvious.
And there are churches galore. Seriously, we could stand on most main street corners and see at least three. We drove in a few blocks here and there and it was more of the same, along with several, huge parochial schools. It was time to leave this conservative enclave, which is not without its charm.
But first we went in to buy our winning lottery tickets.
Get out to see the Big Chicken while you can. This longtime landmark has an uncertain future.

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