Wineguys Expands with Addition of Jax Northside in Charlevoix
Popular Charlevoix Restaurant Changes Hands: Wineguys Restaurant Group Adds Jax Northside to the Collection
Jax Northside Food & Spirits was recently purchased by Wineguys Restaurant Group of Petoskey. The Charlevoix location is the fourth Wineguys acquisition and the first outside of Petoskey. (Petoskey’s City Park Grill, Roast & Toast, and Palette are all Wineguys eateries.)
Generous seating includes a spacious dining room, sports-style bar, enclosed porch, and umbrella-covered patio. The menu is traditional American with a nod to current trends, including ribs and steaks; John Cross whitefish and salmon; a selection of ½-pound specialty burgers; inventive sandwiches alongside the standard favorites; and a really standout salad bar. Like all Wineguys properties, ingredients are fresh, and locally sourced, whenever possible.
The building itself has had a long life, starting out as an indoor roller rink, with a smooth white maple floor, considered the finest and largest in northern Michigan. (Roller skating started as a national fad way back in the 1860’s, though its origin story begins in France, circa 1743.) Sometime later the building was named Moonlight Gardens, for dining and dancing.
“The building has been a landmark for as long as anyone can remember,” shares Charlevoix Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, Sarah Van Horn. “It’s always an exciting time to see the passing of a torch to new restauranteurs. We’re happy for Strands as they move on and welcome Wineguys Restaurant Group to Charlevoix. This location is a crucial one for the greater Charlevoix area, as it maintains the restaurant scene on the north side for City and township residents and those visiting nearby hotels. We are pleased that it will continue to function as a gathering place.”
Starting in 1965, the site began a decades-long run, under different owners and names, as a successful restaurant, bar and entertainment venue. The last owners, Patty and Jack Strand, purchased it in December 2017 and did a complete renovation and menu upgrade. Under their ownership, Jax was popular with year-round and seasonal residents, travelers, and golfers. (Jax is adjacent to the 6th green of the Charlevoix Municipal Golf Course.) Planning their well-deserved retirement, the couple sought a buyer who would understand and maintain their vision. “We were looking for a smooth transition that would be supportive of the loyal customer base we had developed over the years,” explains Patty Strand. “Wineguys Restaurant Group was the right fit.”
Patrons of Jax will recognize the same familiar faces. In fact, maintaining the existing staff was an important component of the sale. Wineguys has always been committed to the importance of staffing in their Petoskey venues, and they are pleased that nearly the entire crew, including chef Rosie and bar manager Roxie, will be on hand to welcome their regular customers as well as new patrons.
Wineguys looks forward to serving Charlevoix patrons and developing its own history within the Jax tradition. “Jax Northside really fits in well with the Wineguys ethos: good food and interesting wines and bar selections, all at affordable prices, in a comfortable setting,” shares Joe Keedy, Wineguys Restaurant Group partner.