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COVID Forces Change: From Grove To Jimmy Berger's Chicken Shack

picture of logo for Jimmy Berger's

The coronavirus pandemic has forced numerous businesses to change their ways; some have even been forced to close.  One Grand Rapids restaurant is hoping a name change along with a new concept will help them survive in these challenging times.

“The team sat down, said we really need to do something across the street with Grove and we’d been talking about this chicken, quick, casual concept.” 

And thus, Jimmy Berger’s Chicken Shack was born.  The Grove Restaurant, transformed into a pop up.  James Berg, managing partner of Essence Restaurant Group says once the stay home order came about in mid -March, they knew they’d have to make some moves.  So, they shut down the popular Bistro Bella Vita, turned the Greenwell into take-out only and then quickly moved ahead with plans to turn the award winning, more intimate restaurant, Grove, into something new.  (but the move wasn’t an easy one… Berg and crew loved Grove and had worked hard on it. 

“Kinda made the decision that Grove in this new normal would not work. So we made decision we were going to transition jImmy Bergers into Grove and make the very difficult decision to close Grove.”

Difficult because Berg says Grove was their “crown jewel”.  He called it a “Chef’s playground and test kitchen.” But, in the end, they had to do it. And now, it’s Jimmy Bergers Chicken Shack. They popped up on May first.

“Really the concept is the gourmet roasted chicken, and then, we have also, the chicken parmesan sandwich, chicken salad, chicken fingers, the best in the world, according to my daughter, she’s an expert.”

Berg says they’ll continue to add a variety of sides, and once the pandemic is over, they will likely open up for seating. In the mean-time its 0-touch service for carry out at the new “Jimmy Berger’s Chicken Shack. One side note, as COVID 19 continues, Berg says they’re not forgetting about the many healthcare workers.  He says this carry-out business makes it easy for them to deliver food to those on the frontline.

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.