Parts of J. Gardella’s old bar sold to a movie set


On the second floor is a 30-foot-long historic bar. Michael Winks confirmed that he sold it to a film production company for use in a set.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – One of the oldest storefronts along Ionia Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids is officially getting a makeover. Additionally, part of his story will be used in a national film set.

The 3-story building at 11 Ionia Avenue SW was built in 1890. In 1996 it was transformed into J. Gardella’s Tavern for nearly 24 years. J. Gardella’s was one of the first restaurants to open after the Van Andel Arena which it was located just behind.

In 2020, the restaurant closed. In December 2021, the building was sold for $1.1 million to MJW Real Estate Holdings, owned by Michael Winks.

The building has remained vacant since its sale, but Winks confirmed to 13 ON YOUR SIDE on Friday that it has teamed up with other operators to turn the 3-story building into a bar/restaurant concept which they plan to develop. to call “Scholar”.

“It will have a French-American flavor and be a bit more upscale,” Winks said. “High quality food, good energy and a lively environment.”

Winks said he wasn’t ready to announce who he partnered with yet, but said they were “experienced and local here in town.”

“We’re working on finalizing the architectural plans through the city permitting process, and then we’ll start remodeling all three floors,” Winks said. “So it will have a new look, but we honor the historic character of the building.”

“We’re excited to put a new concept here and maintain it, if you will.”

On the second floor of the building is a 30-foot-long historic bar, and Winks said he imagined it had been there since the 1930s or 40s. Winks confirmed he sold the large bar to a corporation production that sources say 13 ON YOUR SIDE will be used in a set for a major film.

Filming won’t take place in Grand Rapids, but the company came to Grand Rapids and spent days carefully dismantling the bar and loading it into a moving van to bring it back to its set.

“It was just a little too big for what we were doing,” Winks said. “But we are going to rebuild a second bar, so there will actually be one bar located on all three levels.”

“We look forward to opening in the first part of next year and are delighted to offer this to the community,” he added.

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