Longtime owners sell Cottage Bar, One Trick Pony

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The owners of the Cottage Bar and One Trick Pony in downtown Grand Rapids sold the establishments to a neighboring business owner.

Dan Verhil and his wife Lisa Verhil on Feb. 24 sold the Cottage Bar and the adjacent restaurant, One Trick Pony to Jaswinder “Jassi” Dhami, who owns the Palace of India next door to One Trick Pony, at 138 E. Fulton St.

Verhil announced his plans to retire and sell the businesses in February 2020 and waited a year to find a local buyer “who understood and appreciated the rich history of the Cottage Bar, retaining his loyal staff and (continuing) the tradition of Grand Rapids most iconic bar and restaurant” and its adjacent restaurant and frequent music venue, One Trick Pony.

Both restaurants shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, but the Verhils were eventually able to reopen Cottage Bar for takeout and patio service and then on Feb. 2 added indoor dining at 25% capacity. One Trick Pony has remained closed due to the inability to host live music, which Verhil said on Facebook is a big draw for customers.

Verhil bought the establishments from his father John Verhil in 1980. The original owners were Peter Varano and Earl and Marie Coons, dating back to 1927.

“Thank you so much to all my loyal guests and staff for their … patronage over the years. It is a bittersweet moment for me to step away, but I feel it is time for the new owners to be the custodian of these iconic restaurants as I move on to my next new adventure,” Verhil said in a statement on Facebook.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 3/2/2021

BUYER: Jassi Dhami 314-600-4709/ Sandeep Dhami 616-329-9722

SELLER: Dan Verhil…

Posted by One Trick Pony Grill & Taproom on Monday, March 1, 2021

Dhami told the Business Journal he bought the business to keep a pair of historic local establishments open and running. He said he plans to retain all employees at both restaurants.

The Cottage Bar concept will remain unchanged, Dhami said, and he is working for the next couple of weeks on adding a few things to the One Trick Pony menu, such as Sunday brunch and a juice bar.

Dhami also plans to make some furniture upgrades, “to make (the restaurant) more comfortable for the customer,” he said.

“The community has supported me since 2008, back when I opened Palace of India, so I’m hoping they will keep supporting me at One Trick Pony and Cottage Bar, too. We want to keep the same customers and add some new customers,” he said.

The Verhils are inviting the public to a socially distanced “goodbye” walkthrough at One Trick Pony from 5-7 p.m. March 15, and people will be welcome to dine afterward at the Cottage Bar.

More information and updates about the restaurants are on the One Trick Pony and Cottage Bar Facebook pages.

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