ADA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Chef Paul Berglund has spent the majority of the first few days of his new restaurant trying to find where he needs to stand during the dinner rush. It’s just how he would want it though.
“I was kind of getting in the way which was the best feeling in the world because that means our chefs and our cooks are doing what I hoped they would do,” Berglund said.
Berglund, the 2016 winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Midwest, officially opened Myrth in Ada Township on June 17. The restaurant serves artisan pizzas and made-from-scratch pasta dishes, something he was very excited to focus on.
“They’re also two of my favorite foods and so being able to cook my favorite foods after over a decade of not really being involved in those has been a lot of fun and I look forward to continuing to do so,” he said.
Berglund and his wife, Tia, moved to West Michigan in the summer of 2020 after she got a job with Corewell Health and was able to be closer to her family. The plan was also for him to start a restaurant.
The pandemic made it difficult to get the project off the ground, but after three years, the restaurant officially opened. Over the past week and a half, Berglund said he’s pleased with how the restaurant is being received.
“I’m sincerely grateful for the well wishes I’ve gotten. It feels like we’re connecting with people,” Berglund said. “I’ve always wanted people to feel welcome and make people feel like they are well taken care of and most importantly having fun.”
Myrth seats around 90 guests at any given time, and Berglund said they have been busy ever since they first opened. He has spent that time speaking with the guests and has welcomed genuine reactions from them, hoping to get a sense of what’s working, and more importantly, what’s not working at Myrth.
Based on feedback from guests, some of the dishes he and his team have created will be taken off the menu in due time. But Berglund, who has spent 20-plus years in the restaurant industry, isn’t worried about the change and plans on updating the menu based on what ingredients are prevalent during each season.
“One of our values is to be a seasonal restaurant,” he said.
This is Berglund’s first time in the owner’s role and he is still getting used to it. He credits his team of chefs, bartenders and other staff for helping create, what he calls, an “elegant and casual” experience while giving him time to get adjusted to the new role.
“This is all still new to me,” he said. “I do intend to spend a bit more time in the kitchen doing the things I love.”
According to Berglund, restaurants play an important role in a community. They serve as the hotbed for family reunions, business gatherings and places to unwind. His biggest hope for Myrth is to provide that space for customers and build relationships with Ada.
“I hope it’s filled with people that keep coming back,” Berglund said. “I tell my team that the biggest metric of our success is going to be how many employees stay and how many regulars we have. This place could be something special for the Ada community.”