The historic former Clarla’s station at 637 E Michigan Ave comes with 120 years of history and a 1,000 square-foot train Pullman car next door. Within a few weeks, the station will become the eighth location of the popular Michigan-based restaurant chain Bobcat Bonnie’s. The restaurant is anticipated to open by the end of February.
Matt Buskard had been on the look for the proper location in and around Lansing before discovering the historic former Clarla’s station. At one point, Buskard almost decided to open the next restaurant in Eastwood Towne Center. However, nothing clicked as quickly and strongly as the historic former Clarla’s station did.
“Immediately, just walking up to it, we were like, ‘This is a yes. You don’t need to show us anything else,” Buskard said.
The design and construction took more than a year and a half. The process was a delicate balance between creating something new while preserving and honoring the space’s history. The new restaurant, which is approximately 5,000 square feet, will feature a modern, natural design while highlighting the station’s original architecture, such as the high arching wood ceiling, a brick-walled entryway, and the vintage 1910 train car.
The restaurant will seat up to 120 people, with additional patio seating during the warmer months. An upper mezzanine space is also available for private parties. The upcoming Bobcat Bonnie’s will feature a seasonal menu with a mix of burgers and sandwiches, soups, appetizers, and classic entrees. The new restaurant will also offer the brand’s signature weekend brunch menu.
By the time of this coverage, Buskard hadn’t replied to What Now Detroit’s request for comments. The restaurant is weeks away from opening and is only waiting for the bar installation to be complete and for chairs, tabletops, and a few pieces of kitchen equipment to arrive.