In Williamston, a bar known as the Bucket got a second chance when owners Leigh Baumgras and Luciano “Chano” Loredo took over in 2016. Now, Baumgras and Loredo are taking their restaurant in a new direction to make the Williamston Pub & Grill “go green.”
The partners began working at the Bucket in 2013. At the time, Loredo said, “This place had a reputation, it was the bad bar. People didn’t want to bring their families in here because they’d heard horror stories of this place.”
Baumgras and Loredo bought out the old owner in 2016, made a few cosmetic updates (such as adding a painted mural of the high school’s mascot on the front wall) and got the bar back on its feet, making it the Williamston Pub & Grill.
“Clientele-wise, it took us a while. From the Bucket to where we’re at today, it took us at least three years to get to what we’ve got going on right now,” Loredo said.
The Williamston Pub & Grill has since become a staple of family dining in the community, as it’s impossible to miss with its location on W. Grand River Ave, the main street running through town.
The next move for Loredo and Baumgras is to make their restaurant more environmentally friendly.
“I think it’s important for everyone to be environmentally friendly,” Baumgras said. “I have a young daughter and I think it’s important to teach our young ones that what we put into the world is what they’re going to be getting. The little baby steps that we can do might make a bit of a difference.”
Loredo recently went to food show, where he learned more about what other restaurants are doing to be more environmentally conscious.
The first order of business for the partners was lighting, which was already taken care of with new fixtures.
“We’re getting rid of styrofoam and plastic, and we’re trying to go over to reusable products, biodegradable products,” Baumgras said. “Eventually we’re going to do without plastic straws and see how that goes. Just little things that we can do.”
This means that to-go boxes, souffle cups and even napkins will soon be replaced by products that will decompose all on their own within a few years.
Lorado, who also works as the executive chef at the Pub, is working on a new menu. He’s in the process of narrowing down the amount of items and freeing up space in order to promote the idea of going green.
“We’re trying to do everything right,” Lorado said. “We want to save the oceans and children and save ourselves, also.”
He hopes to have the entire plan, from purchasing the biodegradable to-go boxes, cups, napkins and other various items to the updated menu, implemented in six weeks.
The Detroit-based company, Green Safe products, produces biodegradable food packaging supplies. It is one of many businesses working to promote the idea of using biodegradable and reusable materials in restaurants.
The website states that: “Some Green Safe products are made from Bagasse… .natural fibers, such as these, will biodegrade in the presence of heat, moisture, oxygen and microorganisms….” Bagasse comes from sugarcane, and can be used to make containers, plates and bowls.
Products such as these are what Loredo and Baumgras are looking to bring into their restaurant.
“It’s a little more expensive, but it’s healthier for all of us,” Loredo said.