Fatbelly Deli and Creamery now open in Stanwood

Jake Butler and Keya Crusan pose on Tuesday next to the logo of Fatbelly Deli and Creamery, whose name is Stan (so named after the deli’s location near Stanwood). Fatbelly opened for business in August. (Pioneer photo/Tim Rath)

MECOSTA TWP. — When Morley native Jake Butler was a teenager on family trips to Florida he would admire the skateboarders and surfers on the boardwalks and beaches for their style and skill.

Now a restaurateur with more than 20 years experience, Butler has brought a vibe from the Sunshine State to a new business in Stanwood, Fatbelly Deli and Creamery, which opened in August.

“When I started thinking about what we could offer, my first thought was almost like a modern sock hop — somewhere that’s modern, vibrant, fun, full of life and convenient,” Butler said. “Surfboards and skateboards have always been a passion of mine. I was the only non-surfer with a surfboard on his class ring, but I skateboarded a lot. I hope it’s the kind of thing that appeals to a lot of people.”

Fatbelly, 20751 8 Mile Road, has been completely remodeled after the exit of its former tenant, Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders.

Now, the interior of the establishment has been opened up, with new windows added, creating more sunlight shining through to the inside. Fresh teal paint evokes Butler’s memories of the water, while surfboards attached to the walls and roofs briefly transports customers far away from the pavement outside.

The exterior of the restaurant features seven outdoor tables next to acres of farmland — a place for families with young children and pets to come and run around on cool summer evenings.

Fatbelly is a bit of a family affair. Butler’s mother owns the BP gas station and Davis Bridge General Store development in which the restaurant is located. A nephew of his helped with the renovations and works in the restaurant. And a colorful menu — including deli sandwiches with names such Papa Burger, Crown Victoria and The Republican — are all sobriquets for his family and friends.

“The Papa Burger is my dad. The Crown Victoria is my mom, because her name is Victoria. The Rockstar is my daughter, because she’s a singer and a phenomenal voice artist and The Republican is my brother — it’s kind of a joke between us,” Butler said.

But the contents of those sandwiches are no joke. Butler makes an effort to use fresh, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible — from the pork that comes from Falmouth, to the beef from Remus, to the vegetables that come from farmers’ markets throughout the area.

The menu also includes hard-scoop ice cream in a variety of flavors and styles and coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.

“We didn’t want to try to do a Subway or Jimmy John’s. We wanted to do high-quality, unique stuff, that is conscious of the environment and really tasty, at a good price. I want people who are coming off the highway to be able to come in and drive away with a really good sandwich to go, as well as a place for families to come and eat dinner and dessert,” Butler said.

Assistant manager Keya Crusan said the response from the community has been positive since opening.

“It’s seemed to be really welcomed by everyone I’ve spoken with — a whole range of people, from construction workers coming in for lunch to families coming in for kids getting ice cream after school,” she said.

Fatbelly is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call (231) 823-9667 or visit fatbellydeliandcreamery.com.

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