New Owners at Mario’s Pizza and Spaghetti House Hope to Add to Rich History
Article By: The Holland Sentinel
With new owners and an updated menu, Mario’s Pizza and Spaghetti House is thriving as much as ever.
New owners Heather and Tino Reyes took over the restaurant at 850 Butternut Drive in Holland Township earlier this year, and have made some adjustments to the local favorite.
Heather said she's added to the already expansive menu, starting with alcohol. She’s added variety to a liquor menu that previously offered “one brand of wine and a handful of beers.”
“We've added about 27 wines, a few mixed drinks, and some hard ciders that are local,” Heather said.
Heather has been sure to source locally to support other small businesses. Mario’s now carries product from Farmhaus in Hudsonville and Holland’s Big Lake Brewing.
“(We're) really trying to feature Michigan-made products or wines that have stories that go along with them, so that we can — when we're serving them — share that story,” she said.
One completely new addition to the restaurant is a dessert menu.
“Who doesn't love dessert?” Heather said. “And it's just a finishing touch to a really good meal.”
The dessert menu consists of tiramisu, lemon cake and chocolate cake with a side of Hudsonville Ice Cream. Reyes was hesitant about lemon — but then she tried it.
“I'm not a lemon-flavored person,” she said. “But it's just so light, and it has mascarpone cream in the middle of two layers of this lemon cake with powdered sugar. It's really good.”
Longtime customer Dan gives the new dessert menu “a big thumbs up.”
Dan, Mike, Greg and Steve have been coming to Mario’s as a group for two years, and separately for over 30.
Dan raved about the additions to the beer menu. Mike, Greg and Steve agreed. The regulars also approved of Heather's customer service.
“The new owner is very friendly," Greg said. "She doesn't hesitate to come out and say hello to us and try to make us all feel welcome."
While the new owners have made changes, they also want to respect the history of the restaurant. Heather said she and her husband agreed not to change anything unless it's "for the better."
Not long ago, they were given the opportunity to meet with the original owners’ children.
“We cooked together some of the original recipes,” Heather said. “That was really fun, and we've been able to incorporate that into our menu now.”
That experience was a reminder of the rich history of Mario’s.
“We get to hear a lot of first date stories, or ‘my grandparents came here and we came as kids’, and now they're bringing their kids, and so it's really fun to hear those stories,” Heather said.
Mario's was purchased by Mary VandenBosch, Jeff Rimersma and Dana Christensen over four decades ago from namesake Mario Sgroia and his wife, Gertrude. The couple opened the restaurant in 1963 after moving to Holland from Germany.
Almost a year to the day after announcing the closure of their original restaurant, Bistro 44, in Douglas, Heather and Tino announced they would return with the purchase of the beloved Holland restaurant.
Heather said the community has rallied around the new owners.
“I couldn't really have asked for much better,” she said. “I just want to thank the community for supporting us and rallying around us and giving us a chance, because I know change is hard."