New restaurant owners build from scratch: The Jetty offers fresh food in rehabbed building

Scott and Angela Findley — first from left in back and second from left in front, respectively — pose with their children Matthew, Nicolas, Timothy, Daniel and Kayla at the restaurant they opened outside of Newaygo, The Jetty. (Pioneer photo/Tim Rath)

CROTON TWP. — When Scott and Angela Findley bought a restaurant on the Croton Dam Pond three years ago, they tore it down to cinderblocks and built it back up themselves.

With that kind of effort going into the building itself, it’s no surprise they insist on putting the same care in their food.

The Findleys, of Newaygo, opened The Jetty restaurant, 7641 South Croton Hardy Drive, in June after three years of renovations. On Thursday, they marked the occasion by hosting a ribbon cutting with the River Country Chamber of Commerce.

“Every week, it grows a little more,” Angela Findley said. “We have new faces, returning faces, and people seem to be happy. Word of mouth is getting out there and it’s really great for us.”

The Findleys moved to Newaygo from the Grand Rapids area roughly eight years ago. They said while they loved the area, and its culinary offerings, it seemed they left each restaurant in the area with a feeling of wanting.

“We found that all the restaurants around here are nice, they serve good food, but every time we would leave, we’d say, ‘That was good, but it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had,” Scott Findley said. “(Angela) makes the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had.”

The property which was formerly home to Rio Cafe, the Galley, and other restaurants, was for sale, but needed extensive renovations before it could be opened again. The Findleys — both of whom have experience in planning and project management — took the plunge.

But rather than simply trying to fix the building’s problems with Band-Aids, they said, they gutted the place.

“It’s just like when you watch (builder) Mike Holmes on TV — do it right. You have to take it down to bare bones and see what you’ve got to work with before you build it back up,” Scott Findley said.

Thankfully, the Findleys said, they had a demolition crew already at the ready: their children; Matthew, Nicolas, Timothy, Daniel and Kayla. They only hired contractors for select, specialized fixes, such as electrical and heating.

“We were working here in winter in our coats and our gloves. Every hurdle and new challenge, we had to adapt and overcome,” Angela Findley said. “But now we know where everything is, how it works, and everything is how we want.”

And the Findleys definitely know what they want — a restaurant that serves food prepared by people who love food. Whether serving breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, The Jetty offers a menu loaded with fresh, locally-sourced food — including burger from Tolman’s Wholesale Meats in Hudsonville, sausage from Little Town Jerky in Falmouth and pop from Motor City Sodas in Detroit.

“We don’t want to open cans and reheat things for people,” Scott Findley said. “This is how we grew up — you didn’t open cans or bags for gravy, you made your own. There’s not a microwave in The Jetty, and that’s important to us.”

The Jetty is open daily, for eat-in or take-out, at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. The grill closes at 8 p.m. each night and desserts are served until “dark-thirty.” For more information, call (231) 245-1236.

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