Prost! in Uptown Bay City creates more than small plates

In German, the word “prost,” means cheers. In Uptown Bay City, the one-word toast has become synonymous with good food and fine wine.

Prost owners Zak and Korina McClellan opened the Bay City location of Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie in November of 2022, creating a restaurant for diners to enjoy a small plate meal, some charcuterie, and a cocktail.

For the McClellans and Executive Chef Jacob Matuszak, Prost is much more than a restaurant. It’s a bricks and mortar symbol of personal growth.

The owners and executive chef at Prost! strive to constantly change the menu, ensuring that fresh options are always avaialable. (Photo courtesy of Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie)Before opening the restaurant, Korina was a practicing attorney in Frankenmuth. She continues to practice law. Zak grew up working in his family’s candy business. He’s still involved in the chocolate and fudge industry. Matuszak was at Delta College working toward a degree in Criminal Justice.

Zak had the food industry connections to lead them to restaurant industry consultants. Those consultants offered good advice that the McClellans followed.

The restaurant also serves specialty drinks. (Photo courtesy of Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie)“I was really lucky to grow up in that industry and learn a lot from my dad and my mom as well,” Zak says. “That was the biggest reason why we had a lot of success.”

Their chef’s passion for food also helped them find success.

Before Matuszak started working for the McClellans nearly 10 years ago, he was employed part-time as a cook at an assisted living facility in Frankenmuth while taking classes at Delta. His goal was to become a police officer, but increasingly Matuszak felt himself pulled toward the energy of restaurant life.
“I got about two semesters in and I was really enjoying it, but I really enjoyed working at Prost,” he says. “I enjoyed the kitchen, I enjoyed the energy, the hustle, just getting to make things for people that they enjoy and getting to be a part of that.”

That wasn’t the only factor pulling him toward the kitchen.

“I bought into what Zak and Korina were building. They were trying to cultivate this new thing for Frankenmuth. They were trying to be a little bit different and try to bring us up with the times.”

The word "prost" is German for "cheers." (Photo courtesy of Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie)It wasn’t long before Matuszak started looking for a culinary program. He found it at Mott Community College in Flint.

“I was working five days a week and going to school the other two. That was tough.”

Today, he has no regrets about making the tough schedule work.

“Everything that comes out, looking really good, you take pride in that,” he says.

Prost owners Zak and Korina McClellan opened the Bay City location of Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie in November of 2022. (Photo courtesy of Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie)“You make something that looks beautiful that someone sets down in front of someone and they say ‘Wow.’ Then they eat it, they enjoy it … I think that’s a primal thing for most people. When you make something for someone and they enjoy it, that’s a universally good feeling; and I get to feel that every day.”

The McClellans did not set out to expand into Bay City.

The McClellans knew Uptown developers Pete and Sam Shaheen. As the Shaheens worked on the Uptown project, they started talking to the McClellans about joining the riverfront development.

“They asked us if we would be interested. After some back and forth to find the right spot, and some time, it just worked,” says Zak. “That’s truly how we ended up there. It was just through the good graces of Pete and Sam asking us to be a part of what they’re trying to create.”

Today, the two restaurants aren’t identical, says Matuszak, who serves as Head Chef in Bay City.

In Frankenmuth, tourists walk into restaurants with the intention of finding a seat in a place that doesn’t have a long waiting list. In Bay City, locals intentionally seek out Prost for its food and atmosphere.

The McClellans and Matuszak plan to keep the menu fresh for people looking for something different.

“We’re always going to be kind of pushing the limits to be creative. We change our menu seasonally,” Zak says.

Prost in Bay City is moving from small plates and appetizers into the realm of entrees and dinner fare. Matuszak says they’ve had some popular offerings, including filet and a beef tenderloin with a cognac sauce. “

That was a really big thing for us. We were never known as a dinner spot. We were sandwiches and small bites, but as the years go on, we’re more geared more toward that.”

The restaurant is a block off the riverfront, but Zak says it’s the perfect location for what they’re trying to do.

“We feel like we’re just as much part of the riverfront being right where we are and an easy walk to the water. People feel like they have a really clean, safe space that they can enjoy the riverfront.

If you want to try Prost, reservations are highly recommended. Visit the website at or on Facebook at
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Read more articles by Denyse Shannon.

As a feature writer and freelance journalist, Denyse Shannon has written professionally for over two and a half decades. She has worked as a contractor for daily and weekly newspapers, national and local magazines, and taught introductory media writing at her alma mater – Central Michigan University. She also holds a Master of Arts in journalism from Michigan State University. She and her husband live in Bangor Township and enjoy sailing on the Bay, and are avid cyclists.