The Fishfly Café lands with new offerings at Pier Park

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published June 23, 2021


GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Hungry Pier Park visitors now have dining options during the week, as well as the choices they have on the weekends from different food trucks.

After initially being unable to find someone to take over the Pier Park concession stand after the retirement of longtime concessionaire Richard “Dick” Graves earlier this year, the city finally found one in a longtime Grosse Pointe Farms resident who now lives in Grosse Pointe City.

Although a second round of requests for proposals for the concession stand only got one application, City Manager Shane Reeside said that application — from Holly Rutherford — “was complete and … really fit the bill.”

During a June 14 City Council meeting at Pier Park, Reeside said Rutherford is the concessionaire at Kerby Field, where Little League games are played, and she has “really turned it around” and is “providing good service to the customers.”

City Councilman Joe Ricci echoed that sentiment, telling Rutherford, “You really do a great job” for the Little League fans.

Rutherford — who plans to name the concession stand the Fishfly Café — is a veteran of the restaurant and hospitality industry, having worked as a caterer for a restaurant and run her own catering operation, managed the Vintage Bistro in the Farms in the mid-1990s, and done event planning.

“I know the procedures to keep everything safe and clean,” Rutherford said. “I’m looking forward to providing not only for the residents, but also the boaters.”

Her menu includes items such as single-serve candy, chips and crackers; fruit and protein bars; frozen treats; various beverages including water, coffee and soda; and more substantial fare such as sandwiches.

It wasn’t known at press time whether Rutherford would be open on weekends, as well as Mondays through Thursdays, but she has voiced an interest in being flexible to offer whatever the community might need. The city has already lined up food trucks to serve park visitors Fridays through Sundays this summer.

“I’m willing to work with the park and Chris and Shane to provide the best service for the residents,” Rutherford said.

Parks and Recreation Director Chris Galatis said that since they know the food truck schedule for the rest of the summer, they can work with Rutherford so that her offerings are something different from what the food trucks are selling.

“The food trucks are doing phenomenally well,” Galatis said.

City Councilman Neil Sroka agreed.

“Everyone I’ve talked to loves the food trucks,” Sroka said. “I don’t think the concession stand would directly compete with that.”

Sroka asked if Rutherford might be able to sell ice on the weekends, because that’s something the food trucks don’t offer but that’s a popular commodity, especially for people who moor their boats at the Pier Park harbor.

The council voted unanimously in favor of an agreement with Rutherford to provide service for the 2021 summer season for a fee of $1,000 — reduced from the standard fee to the city of $3,000 because she’s starting later in the season.

As to which methods of payment she will accept from customers, Rutherford said she will be accepting cash, Venmo or PayPal from a customer’s mobile device. She said this method has been successful at the Little League concession stand and avoids any possibility of a customer’s credit or debit card numbers potentially being compromised.

At press time, Galatis said Rutherford was slated to start at Pier Park from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays effective June 21. He said city administrators would be talking with Rutherford and her staff to determine any additional days or hours of operation. For example, he said Rutherford has expressed a willingness to be at the park early in the morning to sell ice. She also said she would be willing to continue to run the stand, with more limited hours, in the fall, and to possibly be open on weekends in the winter for ice skaters and other visitors.

“We’re excited to work with her,” Galatis said. “She’s very enthusiastic.”