Grand Rapids’ Ritz Koney being forced out of building


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Owners of a downtown Grand Rapids restaurant and bar have announced they are permanently closing next month.

Ritz Grand Koney Bar and Grille, which is located at 64 Ionia Ave. SW near the Van Andel Arena in the city’s Heartside District, will close on Feb. 23, after the owners of the building said they would not renew the restaurants lease.

“It’s a swift kick in the gut right now. We’re trying to assess where we’re at what we want to do. Right now there really isn’t a home for us,” said owner Kevin Ritz.

Ritz said Rockford Construction, which owns the building, is planning on putting a different restaurant in the Ritz Koney location.

“I understand its business; it’s not how I would do business. It’s a lousy way to do business, I would have been better off saying here’s the timeline let’s see how it works, and I could have lived with that. I don’t like the way it was handled to be honest with you.”

Kevin Ritz and his brother set up shop along Ionia Avenue back in 2005, before the arena district was the popular place it is today.

“It was tough in the beginning. It was hard; there wasn’t a lot of foot traffic.”

He said he had hoped to stay along Ionia for many years.

“The disappointing thing for me is that we won’t be able to do that for the next 10, 20, 25 years. You work that hard to get to that point and you won’t be able to be see the success of that in the future.”

He said he was never offered to renew the lease and he doesn’t think they will reopen.

“I can’t just pick up everything here and put it into a new location, liquor licenses, and food licenses. There is a lot of expense that we’re going to have to incur moving to a new location. Right now it’s what we’re going to be losing here, dollar wise, it’s going to make it financially hard for all of us to do that.”

Ritz told his 10 employees, many of which have been with him since the beginning, earlier this week they would be closing.

“It was difficult to tell them they were pretty emotional about it. We’re family it’s what it is, we’re just a family run small operation here in downtown Grand Rapids.”

And to his customers, Ritz said thank you.

“They really helped build this into a great brand and it’s tough, they were great.”

24 Hour News 8 reached out to Rockford Construction Thursday afternoon and did not hear back.

Details on the restaurant that’s planned for the space after Ritz Koney closes were not immediately available.

Read the full Facebook post from Ritz Koney’s owners here.

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