Firekeepers Casino begins construction on restaurant and food pantry

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Having completed a detailed approval phase, construction crews are moving ahead on FireKeepers Casino’s unique casino community investment, The Fire Hub, restaurant and food pantry in Battle Creek. Menu design, hiring and general planning at the historic Fire Station # 4 are also moving forward, with a targeted grand opening planned for spring 2017.

Jen Ozolins was recently named Head Chef of The Fire Hub. Chef Ozolins will oversee all aspects of the project, including menu design, staffing, food development, etc. She has worked at FireKeepers since opening, working her way up from Production Cook, and will continue to provide the same premier level of food and service qualities FireKeepers guests have come to expect at the Fire Hub. Hiring for kitchen and wait staff is expected to begin early in 2017. Ozolins is currently developing an upscale, yet affordable, menu featuring a delicious selection of breakfast items, soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, pizzas and, of course, desserts.

 

“This initiative creates multiple different avenues for FireKeepers to improve lives and create a new culinary option in downtown Battle Creek. We are really excited about this new endeavor and eagerly anticipate an early 2017 Grand Opening.” -Chef Michael McFarlen, Fire Hub visionary and Vice President of Food and Beverage at FireKeepers Casino Hotel.

A first of its kind non-profit hands-on investment by a casino operator, The Fire Hub will blend a restaurant with large gardens to grow food designed to create a free salad bar at local schools and a food pantry to provide a dignified store concept to help those less fortunate. FireKeepers Casino Hotel and its owners, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi purchased Fire Station #4 located on the corner of Kendall Street and Dickman Road in Battle Creek. Construction is being managed by Michigan-based, family-owned Moore Trosper Construction Company.

While the Fire Hub will contain various “spokes” of a business including a restaurant, an artisan bakery and much needed downtown meeting space, the most important goal is to give back to the community. The project will accomplish this goal via multiple programs. First, the rear section of the building will become the home of The Kendall Street Pantry, a food pantry that will serve as an agency of the Food Bank of South Central Michigan, distributing food from shelves to those less fortunate.  Secondly, farmable land will be cultivated and Hoop Houses purchased to grow food, with a goal of providing a free salad bar for downtown schools in Battle Creek.  Third is the creation of a fund to support local charities, with 80% of all restaurant profits and an allocation of 50 cents from every restaurant check providing the monies. The remaining 20% of profits will be reinvested in the property.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel, located just off Interstate 94 at Exit 104 in Battle Creek, MI, has been named Best Casino by audiences in Western Michigan and Northern Indiana, plus earned 9 first place awards in the Casino Player Magazine Best of Gaming 2015 Native Midwest category, including Best Overall Gaming Resort. FireKeepers was also selected one of the Best Casinos to Work For by Casino Player Magazine.

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