Cedar Springs is about to get an interesting new restaurant modeled after a European-style cafe, with long hours, low prices, and a promising attention to quality. Called Zephyr Bakery Cafe, it'll open in the old Zini's space at 4001 Cedar Springs Rd., which closed in July.
Zephyr comes from two hospitality veterans: Josh Friedman, who has worked in hotel management for many years, and Daniel Sikora, owner of Thai-rrific, the Thai restaurant right across the street.
Friedman says that their plan is to open softly at the beginning of January, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a little take-out component, like Eatzi's, but on a smaller scale with a couple of items per day.
"We'll do dishes like pan-seared trout, beef stroganoff, baked chicken, whatever seems good that day," he says.
Other menu items for dinner include pork chops, short ribs, and chicken-fried rib eye. At lunch, there'll be sandwiches and salads, including pressed sandwiches such as a Cuban, plus a fried chicken sandwich, chicken salad, egg salad, and tuna salad.
"We'll also do breakfast all day, including one dish that's a savory pancake from Amsterdam, like a cross between a pancake and a crepe with Gouda cheese and Canadian bacon," he says.
The bakery operation will "evolve" over time. "Initially we’ll be doing cakes, mini-cakes, Danish, pastries, and a lot of little stuff," he says. "Right now my plan is to buy breads from La Spiga and Empire."
Zephry will have an espresso machine as well as a full bar, with craft cocktails and eight beers on tap, all from Texas. Also: a patio.
"We'll have a patio that will be completely enclosed, so that it's heated in the winter and cool in the summer," he says. "We're just waiting on our awnings. We want that European cafe feel for the environment, but with a mix of comfort foods that's just what we feel like cooking."
Service is also very important, Friedman says.
"I've been lucky to travel all over Europe and the United States and seen restaurants with service that's at a level where it could be a respectable career," he says. "I really want that level of service.
"I was at Amberjax's having dinner when owner Karen Williams came over and started talking," he says. "We had such a great conversation. I want it to be like that, where I stand in the lobby in the mornings and visit with my guests."