BUSINESS BUZZ: Pere Marquette Bistro offers best of both worlds for fine dining

Owner: 'We get a lot of returns and a lot of new faces'

This article is part of Business Buzz, a series designed to feature small businesses that make a big impact on the community. Participants featured will include the locally-owned businesses that make up the fabric of Osceola County.

REED CITY — Since 2004, Pere Marquette Bistro & Catering Co. has been a go-to spot for locals and passers-by, whether they are stopping in for a meal or need an event catered.

Behind the scenes, there is seldom any down time for owner Deb Ahlich and her staff, who always have to split their focus between the dual services provided by the business.

Ahlich said it is often a challenge, but one she looks forward to rising up to every day she opens the doors to her bistro.

In many respects, Pere Marquette Bistro and Catering is a resumption of the former Osceola Inn, which Ahlich ran for a number of years until it closed for good in 2004.

“About 10 years into it, we did a name change; we were originally Pere Marquette Catering,” Ahlich said. “We still had people saying: ‘We can eat there?’”

The fact that so many people continued to reach out asking if dine-in services were available, Ahlich said it just made sense to eventually make that part of the business as well.

Ahlich said she loves all of the creativity and freedom that comes with owning Pere Marquette Bistro and Catering, while adding her appreciation for her employees.

“It’s the ability to make changes, which you can’t do if you don’t own the business,” Ahlich said.

There have been times where a catering commitment requires the restaurant in Reed City to be closed, but Ahlich said she is appreciative of the flexibility and understanding of her clients and patrons, which she refers to as her guests.

With the catering side of her business, Ahlich and her employees have traveled many miles throughout the state of Michigan.

“Catering is still a very large portion of the business; (we’re) grateful for that,” Ahlich said. “We get to see a lot of parts of Michigan that nobody else gets to see.”

As far as dine-in customers go, the bistro section of Pere Marquette gets a decent mix of locals from Reed City and greater Richmond Township.

On top of that, the guest book at the front of the restaurant is filled with the names of individuals from Grand Rapids to Ludington or Traverse City, and a plethora of places in between.

“We get a lot of returns and a lot of new faces,” Ahlich said. “When we did this, we wanted to make sure it was something comfortable, so that if you’re in a tee shirt and shorts you’re comfortable, or if you’re in a suit and tie you’re comfortable.”

Location

102 E. Upton Ave., Reed City

Contact

231-832-9833

Hours

Tuesday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

*Hours subject to change, depending on catering commitments.