New beginning for The TwirlPublished 7:34pm Wednesday, January 2, 2013
There is a new owner of The Twirl in Cassopolis — sort of.
While the iconic restaurant on Stone Lake is under new management, everyone in the village knows the owner, as she literally grew up there.
Melissa Putnam is the third generation owner of the The Twirl, which she reopened in November after taking over the business from her grandfather.
The building originally was built in 1939 and was the second Tastee Freez in the state of Michigan. The first Tasty Freeze was built in Buchanan.
Dick and Mary Hall owned the restaurant before they sold it to Putnam’s father Mike Vite, who eventually turned the business over to her grandfather Hurbert Vite, who ran it until September.
Putnam couldn’t watch the business be turned over to anyone else, so she decided to take over the struggling restaurant, close it down for a month and begin modifying and cleaning the facility.
“I started working here when I was 7 years old for my father,” Putnam recalled. “It has been my dream since I was 8 to take over the Tastee Twirl. I have put a good 20 years in here. I was going to be the generation that kept it going.”
Putnam admitted the restaurant was in pretty bad shape when she closed the doors in September and began preparation to reopen the business. But at no point was she going to let the restaurant fail.
She is no stranger a running a business. She has managed several places and went to school for business administration.
“We have definitely revamped the place and have a whole bunch of new menu items,” Putnam said. “We are just trying to bring new people in.”
Putnam has plenty of memories of the Tastee Twirl. Among them are coming there for ice cream after little league games. She also knows that the location of the restaurant is perfect.
“It’s right on the lake, and it has been an icon for so many years,” she said. “When I was a kid, I can remember there being lines around the building. It was something that we all did. And some how and some way I am bringing that business back.”
Some of the things that customers, both new and old, will notice is a new menu that features sandwiches, as well as a different special Tuesday through Saturday.
Tuesdays are Senior Day with $.69 coffee and a 10 percent discount; Wednesdays are Chicago Day with Chicago-style hot dogs on special; Thursdays are Children’s Day with specials on kids meals; Fridays feature a fish fry; and Saturdays feature chicken.
While there are a lot of new items on the menu, one thing that hasn’t changed is the four-piece broasted chicken dinner, although Putnam said many of the regular customers say it is better than ever.
She employs a staff of four people, including herself, and all of the employees are focused on returning The Twirl back to its original glory.
“We will always be known for our burgers and ice cream,” Putnam said.
“We are part of the history of Cassopolis, and I want to make sure it stays that way.”