Pandemic rebound: Piggin' N Grinnin' opens with new business model

Pandemic rebound: Piggin’ N Grinnin’ opens with new business model

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- A Berrien County restaurant closed its doors after 16 years back in December, but Friday marked a rebound as they decided to reopen in a different way.

Piggin’ N Grinnin’ used to be in Benton Harbor’s Arts District, but the closure of indoor dining – without the cost of operations changing – left them in a financial situation that wasn’t sustainable.

“I really thought we were done last fall, then we got so many comments, people going to the store and people started donating,” said co-owner Virginia Kierstead. “We got a few hundred dollars and started looking into this building.”

The pandemic changed business models for all types of industries, and they knew their restaurant just couldn’t come back unless things were done more cost efficiently.

“The other place didn’t have a drive-thru and when they shut down the economy it hit us really hard, and being a barbecue, we really don’t need that big of a place because we do most of our cooking outside,” said co-owner Michael Piakowski.

While the typical experience of coming in to dine may be gone, they think you’ll find something better.

“We’re going to put in another building with a walk-up where people can order and then fence it off, put some tables out, put things like corn hole and outdoor Jenga, someplace families can come,” said Kierstead.

Right now, Piggin’ N Grinnin’ opens at 11 a.m. and will go until they run out of food.

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