By Brice Burge
A morning diner with a popular legacy is reopening in Seney, as former Detroit-metro resident Ryan Smith will be restarting the Seney Crossing restaurant.
“You hear the people asking for a breakfast place and people wanting to get something started and they just didn’t have the resources. The building was for sale and I had the capital, so I pulled the trigger,” Smith said. “I couldn’t find anyone to lease the space, so I thought I’d try my hand at it.”
Seney Crossing is a hole-in-the-wall style diner open for breakfast and lunch Wednesdays through Sundays. Standard breakfast combos and lunch sandwiches are offered at the countertop bar or the classic tables and booths. The restaurant opened on August 19, 2022.
Rather than create a new name, Smith used the exterior signage that was abandoned when the previous restaurant closed.
“I can spend thousands on a new sign or I can spend it on the stuff that matters inside,” he said.
Historically, the space had much success as the Golden Grill for decades. It was a common stopping ground for both travelers on the highway before the long trip to Munising or for locals after church. Baked goods and traditional breakfasts led the way for the diner. However, after the founders sold the location, it was changed to Seney Crossing and closed in the early 2010s.
Smith has bought the entire building, which includes a bank, general store and the post office. He had hoped that another member of the community would be willing to lease the restaurant space, but when no one stepped up, he stepped in. Without any relevant experience in the food and beverage industry, Smith is serving the food that he feels comfortable with.
“(Working in a restaurant) can be difficult, but the food itself is not too difficult,” he said. “I figured I would try it and see what we could do. Hunters and winter sportsmen will appreciate it.” He is now looking into doing a kitchen remodeling, starting their kitchen cabinets and installing granite countertops.
A repossession specialist, Smith’s contracts ran dry at the start of the pandemic. He had been to the Seney area multiple times before after his father retired in the area, so he figured now was the time to make the jump and move to the Upper Peninsula.
“It’s a change of lifestyle living downstate and doing repo to this in the U.P.,” he said. “COVID put me out of work downstate, so I figured this was my chance to get out of down river and up here.”