Here is some big news in Grand Rapids. Dan Verhil, 40-year owner of the Cottage Bar and founder of One Trick Pony, announced yesterday that he plans to retire and sell the iconic downtown restaurants.

Big news because with all of the exciting growth and change in Grand Rapids, there has always been one, comfortable constant, The Cottage Bar, the oldest bar in Grand Rapids, and the newer One Trick Pony.

Trusscott Rossman

The Cottage simply hasn't changed much in nearly 100-years thankfully, and The Pony has evolved to become a true destination for great food, and entertainment. And all of this due to the guidance of Dan, and later on, Lisa.

Truscott Rossman

Dan, and his wife Lisa, have been friends of mine for a long time, and I can imagine how tough this decision was. However, after so many years in a tough business, it's time to savor and enjoy life for them both.

Truscott Rossman

Dan said in a statement to his staff:

It is with mixed emotions that I have decided to retire and find the right buyer for the Cottage Bar and One Trick Pony restaurants.

 As you can imagine, this is a very difficult decision for me. The Cottage Bar has been in my family for 53 years. For me, it’s been a fabulous 40-year run in the business.  I love the people I work with. I love this community.  And I love what I have done for the past four decades. I have appreciated the opportunity to contribute to the west Michigan restaurant and music scene, to local charities and to the community at large.

 I realize, of course that this will be disappointing for you – my staff – and for the many wonderful customers who have become a part of our family over the years.  It is my hope that I have provided you with fond memories and that you will have the grace to accept that it is time for me to do something different.

 As I make this transition, I look forward to visiting with – and thanking – the wonderful colleagues, customers, partners and community members who I have come to know as friends. I trust that you and they will continue to support and enjoy these heritage restaurants long into the future.

 To that end, my most important goal and first order of business is to find a new owner and curator who appreciates the history of these iconic restaurants – someone who will carry on their legacy and honor my longtime and loyal staff.

 I will also look to each and every one of you to be my ambassadors through this transition. We have been here serving people, cultivating friends and regular customers, and creating wonderful memories together for a long time. It is my hope and intention that this tradition will continue for many years to come.


Happy retirement Dan and Lisa!