Seney Crossing restarts with new ownership

WHAT’S HAPPENING: A restaurant in the Eastern Upper Peninsula is getting new life. Ryan Smith has reopened the Seney Crossing restaurant, located near the M-28, M-77 intersection in Seney. Seney Crossing is in the rural community’s multipurpose building, which includes the local post office, an abandoned bank and space for a general store and commercial bakery. Smith started operating on August 19, 2022. 

WHAT IT IS: Seney Crossing is a breakfast and lunch diner with the general staples on the menu like biscuits and gravy, breakfast sandwiches and BLTs. The restaurant has been long closed, but the branding and external signage were left up from the previous business. Smith ran with it so he could focus his financial resources into the restaurant. This is the third restaurant in the space, with the original Golden Grill operating for decades as a classic diner. 

In addition to the restaurant, Smith has plans for other businesses needed by both locals and the trail riders who frequent the summer and winter months. A coin-operated laundromat and storage facilities are in the works for other parts of the building. 

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING: “You hear the people asking for a breakfast place and people wanting to get something started and they just didn’t have the resources. The building was for sale and I had the capital, so I pulled the trigger,” Smith said. “I couldn’t find anyone to lease the space, so I thought I’d try my hand at it.”

RESTAURANT RELUCTANT: Smith initially didn’t want to operate a restaurant, having only two weeks of culinary experience by slinging pizza in high school. After a career in repossessions downstate was negatively impacted by the pandemic, he came up to the U.P. with his father, a Michigan Tech alumnus and avid hunter. He planned for someone else to lease the restaurant space, but when no immediate potential restaurateurs stepped up, Smith went into the food and beverage business.
“It’s a change of lifestyle living downstate and doing repo to this in the U.P.,” he said. “COVID put me out of work downstate, so I figured this was my chance to get out of down river and up here.” 

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT: The only other dining option in the immediate area has been going through renovations for months. Andy’s Seney Bar had previously opened up for breakfast in the Fall and it is unclear if they will be open in time for the seasonal surge of hunters that has increased in the last four years. Without Seney Crossing, hunters would travel over 20 miles for breakfast in McMillan, Grand Marais or Curtis.