Our restaurant journey began at the current location about 15 years ago with the opening of Jeffery’s, an upscale restaurant specializing in steaks, chops, and seafood. I was very proud of what we achieved in a relatively short period of time. Our quality was excellent and we received 4 stars from the Toledo Blade on their first review. Unfortunately, the area at that time was not ready for an upscale restaurant and I ended up having to sell.
The new owners opened Tres Amigos, a Mexican cuisine restaurant. My wife and I looked forward to retirement, or so we thought. Due to changes in the economy and real estate values, the owner was unable to keep the restaurant and signed it back to us.
So now what do we do? I knew that I did not want to do Mexican food. First, there are numerous Mexican restaurants in the area. Secondly and more importantly, I grew up in Texas and Taco Bell cuisine was of no interest to me. However, we had a good base of business so I decided to continue with the restaurant as it was with the exception of some cosmetic improvements and better-quality recipes for the food. Coincidentally, my nephew Max graduated from culinary school and agreed to come on board as head chef. I was also lucky to have a young lady, Holly, who grew up in the hospitality industry, running the front of the house for me. So we set off on the next journey with the idea of changing the theme of the restaurant at some point in the near future.
It was quickly evident that we were not utilizing Max’s culinary talents with our “Tex Mex” fare. After some brainstorming, we decided to do what I called a transition type restaurant, Mike’s Southwest Grill. We dropped about half of the menu items and added gourmet burgers, flatbread pizzas, and numerous appetizers. Well, while business picked up for a while, I think we confused customers. When we asked them what came to mind when they thought of “southwest” the most common answer was Mexican. In a meeting one morning, I asked Max and Holly what they thought we should do to grow the business. Holly didn’t hesitate. Her answer was, “you’re not going to want to hear this, but we need to make a clean break from the Mexican food environment and start new”. After I picked my head up off the bar we started the discussions that would lead to the Mason Jar Tap & Grill.
I knew what I wanted to do. That was to bring 5-star food to Bedford Township at small-town prices. I wanted to replicate the quality of food that we did years ago at Jeffery’s in a more informal fun environment. Max had the desire and talent to do this and Holly and some of the staff started working on the theme. Both Max and I have a love of craft beer so I thought what better way to utilize both those qualities than to do a gastropub! High-quality food, in smaller quantities and draft beer. What a great combination. Please View The Full Menu here.
So finally, here we are after a lot of long hours redecorating the interior and improving the patio to one of the best, if not the best, in the area. We specialize in Michigan craft beer paired with wonderful food offerings. I have a fantastic staff with Holly as the General Manager and Max as Executive Chef, and the most wonderful wife, Cathy, that a good ole boy from west Texas could possibly hope for. We have a fun environment and a fun name. So, I hope you will “come on in and belly up to the bar” or table if you prefer, and be part of our growing Mason Jar family. It’s been a long journey but a rewarding one and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
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