“We heard through the grapevine that the Bistro was closing and looking for someone to take over. We had known each other for a long time and said, “Let’s go for it”,” says Steve Spiridigliozzi, talking about how he and fellow chef and co-owner Lonnie Paser of Artisan Urban Bistro at 417 Hancock Street took over the restaurant.
“We had similar styles and goals and we both knew that it was time for our time, our time to take over something that we wanted to do,” says Paser.
After running across a post on Facebook looking for new owners for the bistro, the pair jumped at the chance.
“This is the most exquisite little restaurant in Saginaw,” says Paser. “We both knew that if we went in there and sold ourselves and told them what we’re about and that we could really make something happen here.”
“Exquisite” because “artisan” in the name of the bistro goes beyond describing the food. Large paintings painted by local artist Jim Perkins hang on the walls of the bistro.
“Jim Perkins is amazing,” says Spiridigliozzi. “We have the Garden of Eden, Pandora’s Box, Alice in Wonderland. We’ve been open since March 2st and the paintings are so unique that I’m still finding new things in them today.”
Being both co-owners and co-chefs allow for a level of collaborative effort that would be hard to find anywhere else.
“We shop locally. We buy from local vendors and shop our farmer’s markets. We do things from scratch,” says Paser.
That local support goes beyond creating a menu and into a community dynamic they believe is unique in Saginaw.
“People don’t eat at the same place every day,” Paser says. “Share the wealth, share the community. Every time somebody comes down to the Old Town area, that helps pay for a businesses' new employee, that’s somebody’s rent being paid, somebody’s food bill being paid.
That collaborative community spirit will be on display on November 25th. Together with Pasong's Café, Liquid Lounge, Oracle Brewing Company, Gingerblue Gallery, fralias, and The Bread Guy, the Bistro will be hosting the “Mission for the Mansion on Michigan Avenue”.
“It’s an appetizer fundraiser for the Lee Mansion restoration. People will go to each establishment and sample an appetizer, and to Oracle, Liquid Lounge, and Ginger Blue Gallery to have a great beverage,” Paser says.