CADILLAC — Hermann's European Cafe was a beehive of activity Thursday afternoon, as crews from multiple contracting firms put the finishing touches on major renovation work that began around two weeks ago.
Mike Blackmer, who with business partner John Kulhavi purchased the landmark downtown Cadillac restaurant from Chef Hermann Suhs earlier this year, said they expect to reopen this Saturday at 11 a.m.
As it so often happens anytime a major renovation or construction project is undertaken, Blackmer said as soon they started working on the building, some unexpected problems arose.
For one thing, Blackmer said they noticed that the old pipes inside the building were leaking badly. He said they also found out that the floor was dramatically uneven and collapsing in some locations.
"It's something we did not plan for ... you can't do business without plumbing," said Blackmer, who estimates they've so far invested $250,000 in renovations. "But we'll be set for a while now."
Local crews installed new plumbing, electrical wiring and heating equipment, in addition to relocating the bar from the dining room to the adjacent room that previously served as the wine bar and will now serve as the establishment's brew pub.
With the bar now out of the dining room, Blackmer said they have a lot more room to seat diners.
Crews also installed new flooring throughout the restaurant. Anyone who's been to the Dockside Inn — another restaurant in Cadillac owned by Blackmer and Kulhavi — will notice the similarity in flooring style between the two establishments.
In the display window of the pub facing Mitchell Street, Blackmer said they will be setting up a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, KISS pinball machine and other memorabilia. In addition, new lighting and other fixtures also have been installed.
"Everything got updated," Blackmer said. "We're excited to open back up and make downtown Cadillac bigger and better. It's a whole new look for everyone."
While the butcher shop and rooms for rent over the restaurant haven't been touched yet, Blackmer said they are next on the list to receive some TLC.