600 Kitchen and Bar to open in old Kalamazoo Foundry building

600 Kitchen and Bar to open in old Kalamazoo Foundry building.

The historic Kalamazoo Foundry building on E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Kalamazoo has been restored, and a new restaurant will soon open as part of the revitalization of the River Edge District on the Kalamazoo River.

The Kalamazoo Foundry and Machine Co. started with humble family beginnings in 1878 as a small blacksmith shop and over the course of a century the business moved from its original home on the south side of Eleanor St. to its final home at 600 E. Michigan Ave. in 1907.

The business started with Thomas Buckley, and by the time it closed in the early 2000’s, five generations of engineers had made it a state of the art steel fabrication facility utilizing state of the art technology. Pieces of equipment and steel are still on display in the office and restaurant space.

600 Kitchen and Bar, the new restaurant, is managed by the Millennium Restaurant Group.

President Matthew Burian said keeping some of those old relics intact was important. It was his goal to preserve them and allow them to serve a new purpose.

Sue Huggett, with Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. said that preservation, “Adds character and it’s just nice to be able to visit a little piece of history when you’re downtown eating. People are passionate about preserving their buildings in this area.”

Burian gave Newschannel 3 a sneak peek at 600 Kitchen and Bar.

Inside, real steel cranes from the Foundry are still in their original working order and pulley systems on the wall were actually used in steel production. They now blend into the industrial, farmhouse feel of the space.

When asked about the menu Burian said, “Farm-to-table is what we’re doing, and we’re doing it in a very deep and rich way. We have great partnerships with a number of farms.”

Huggett said the restaurant, as well as the renovated office space next door, are part of a much larger effort to bring people to the River Edge District.

“It’s helping to keep our core of downtown expanding,” said Huggett. “So, our downtown is no longer considered Kalamazoo Ave. It’s continuing to spread.”

The river edge area was once a transportation and industry hub, but is now a walkable cultural center. Burian expects development to continue along the river edge and he’s excited to be a part of that revitalization.

He said 600 Kitchen and Bar is, “A gathering spot where you’re able to meet with friends and visit, and kind of be a part of that history.”

The restaurant is expected to open in December.

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