After finding success in East Jordan, three local business partners are teaming up to open The Foundry in Elk Rapids. The new restaurant is taking over the former Siren Hall and American House Woodfired Pizza location on River Street. Here’s the delicious lowdown. 

This is a web original article from the team at MyNorth Media and Traverse Northern Michigan. Want to read recent print stories? View our print subscription and digital subscription options and have Traverse delivered to your door or inbox each month.

The Foundry Elk Rapids

Photo by Rachel Soulliere

The Foundry’s Backstory

A focus on local history, high-end bar food and craft drinks was the secret formula to East Jordan’s Foundry Bar & Grill, which first opened its doors in 2019 and was recently named the 2022 Business of the Year by the East Jordan Chamber of Commerce.

Unknowingly opening just months before the pandemic, owners Andre Bushell and Loren Akerman excitedly welcomed guests through The Foundry’s doors and then experienced what many other local business owners did, the constant need to adjust operations. After months of maneuvering, Andre and Loren finally found a sweet spot with their staff by their side all while also operating Dicky’s Barbecue Pit in Traverse City. Community support, the right menu and a caring restaurant culture allowed them to thrive in less-than-ideal times. After experiencing consistent growth and being honored as Business of the Year, this duo knew it was time to take The Foundry to the next level.

Cue Adam Earle. After opening up Northern Michigan’s two Firehouse Subs locations in Traverse City and Gaylord, Adam was also on the hunt for his next opportunity. After months of discussing business progression and supporting each other, Adam saw that the former American House Woodfired Pizza space was for sale and shared his vision wih Andre and Loren.

The trio put an offer in on the building at 151 River Street. The timing was perfect.

Man looking out window

Photo by Rachel Soulliere

Man standing at bar

Photo by Rachel Soulliere

Opening The Foundry Elk Rapids

Currently undergoing renovations, The Foundry Elk Rapids is set to open this spring. Andre and his fiancé Kelci, Loren and his wife Leah, and Adam and his wife Nichole are all fully invested in creating a community hub. From Nichole designing a full wall mural to Andre and Adam working out the plans to add a 10×10 garage door seamlessly connecting the bar and outdoor patio, their sights are set on excellence.

“We’re working to ensure consistency across The Foundry brand, but crafting different defining features for each location,” Adam says. “We’re constantly finding ways to connect to the local community and we’re going to continue featuring the things that make us unique. We’re keeping and highlighting the famous pizza oven from American House, but we’re also doing things like expanding and redoing the patio and making it dog friendly to become a local destination.”

Two men looking out window with business plan in hand

Photo by Rachel Soulliere

In addition, you’ll find expanded seating, upgrades to the bar, an industrial atmosphere, edgy art and rustic touches from the patio fence to behind-the-bar details. They’re already booking musical acts for this summer on the patio, planning out their bookable 15-top private room and making sure there are kid-friendly spaces. All are welcome.

“In growing, our plan is to add a hyper-focus to quality like never before. We want to be proud of everything we put out there, and even though we know what we’ve done already is great, we’re prepared to take it to the next level. From adding Elk Rapids-specific touches to Adam’s partnership, it’ll challenge us all to take it up a notch,” Andre says.

The community is buzzing about this grand opening, but the best part has to be the opportunity they are providing to their already growing teams.

“This new avenue of opportunity is going to allow us to give our team members the option to build a long-term plan with our business. We want to grow with like-minded people and there’s no better way than to give our team the chance for long-term growth—we want them to be able to start their career bussing tables and build to running a restaurant. The opportunity is there,” Andre says.

Man bricking a wall

Photo by Rachel Soulliere

Photo(s) by Rachel Soulliere