Updates coming to The Preserve

Customer Rebecca Ivey orders a gourmet grilled cheese from owner Jeremy Johnson at The Preserve in Marquette. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

By TRINITY CAREY

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Quite a few changes are in the works for the late-night grilled cheese shop along Washington Street in Marquette.

The Preserve, located in the former Flying Moose building at 351 W. Washington St., opened just a year ago and is already working on updating its storefront and offering new products to its customers.

When the shop first opened, the owners had a late-night food spot in mind for Marquette, and while its 2:30 a.m. weekend close time is still it’s biggest offering, The Preserve has also come to carry an abundant craft beer selection.

“Even though there’s a really great brewery scene up here, there’s not really a dedicated craft beer store,” said part owner Jeremy Johnson. “I feel like we’ve done a pretty solid job having that unique selection and getting people to know that if they come in here, they’ll find something they can’t find anywhere else.”

A small selection of local and Michigan beers are offered, but there is an even bigger selection of beers from breweries around the U.S.

While the store offers a wide variety, beer cannot currently be consumed in the store. However, Johnson said the owners are working on gaining their on-premises licenses through the state so customers can enjoy their beer with their grilled cheese.

Passersby may have noticed a small construction project taking place next door to the storefront in the last few weeks. The Preserve is also in the midst of building a wheelchair ramp to become Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

“It’s always nice to have that access for people, strollers too,” Johnson said. “To have to come over this front entrance is not easy for them, so it makes it easier for our customers.”

The main goal of the ramp is easy access for all customers, but it also helps The Preserve qualify for their on-premises license in the downtown district. Johnson and the other owners must upgrade the building to receive their licensing, and plan to put in all new windows, doors and redo the facade of the building.

“We just want to restore it back to that original brick storefront just to make it stand out and then put in energy-efficient doors and windows,” Johnson said. “It won’t be the traditional red brick that you see around town. It’ll be a little bit more modern and different.”

Currently, they host a poetry and open mic night and craft nights in the winter months.

Massachusetts band Stoner Will and the Narks and a few local bands will be the first outdoor musical performance to take place at The Preserve as part of next week’s Blueberry Festival.

In the future, Johnson hopes to create an outdoor area or back deck where they can host more summer events.

Overall, the owners of The Preserve want to offer a welcoming space for young professionals and college students, whether that be for an affordable bite to eat or a sanctuary from the late-night downtown scene.

“There isn’t a whole lot in town for students and younger local people,” Johnson said. “We’re doing this because it’s something we wanted to see but seeing the reactions from other people, people are like, ‘This is awesome, we needed this in town, we need to be able to eat food late at night.’ It’s cool to be validated by that and just continuing to make this place somewhere where people know they can come hang out and get a different experience than elsewhere in Marquette. Having food and drinks that we don’t normally see in Marquette and bringing a little more culture to our town then we’re used to; that’s the cool thing to us. We get to bring in beer that you literally can’t find here and then food that, while it’s not super high end, it’s unique and different than what most places do offer.”

Trinity Carey can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is tcarey@miningjournal.net.

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