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RedWater Restaurants acquires The Butler in Saugatuck


RedWater Restaurants acquires The Butler in Saugatuck

The RedWater Collection has signed an agreement to acquire The Butler restaurant 

as its tenth and newest addition of outstanding restaurants in West Michigan 


The RedWater Collection announced today that it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire The Butler restaurant located at 40 Butler Street in Saugatuck, MI. The Butler has been locally owned and operated by the White/Phelps family for 60 years and is recognized throughout West Michigan for its quality dining, waterfront views, and of course, its signature Butler Burger. The Butler has deep roots in the Saugatuck and Douglas community and The RedWater Collection is excited for the opportunity to carry on the traditions of this well-known dining establishment.

The Butler was established in 1961 and is in its third generation of ownership. This historic former inn turned family-run eatery serves as one of the oldest restaurants in Saugatuck. The Butler offers casual waterfront dining with spectacular views of Kalamazoo Lake harbor and the boardwalk, while boasting a wide selection of American fare. The Butler also features a large patio for outdoor dining and live entertainment during the spring and summer.

Over the past 4 years, RedWater has expanded its collection of restaurants and golf clubs throughout the West Michigan lakeshore with its addition of Ravines Golf Club (Saugatuck) and Boatwerks (Holland) in 2018, RedRock Grille and Macatawa Golf Club (North Holland) in 2019, and most recently, Muskegon Country Club (Muskegon). RedWater plans to keep The Butler operating with business as usual and will retain all staff including their key leadership who combined have worked at The Butler for more than 40 years. When it comes to the staff at The Butler, RedWater management noted, “The team has done an amazing job serving the community and they have been great ambassadors to visitors during Saugatuck’s lively summers.”

Vicki Phelps, one of the current owners of The Butler said, “This is an exciting and emotional time for our family! We are sad to part ways with the ownership of this restaurant that has been such an integral part of our lives for many, many years, but we are pleased to announce RedWater as the new owners of this historic establishment.”

Stephen Phelps, another current owner added, “We searched hard to find the right people to pass off The Butler reins and are confident that RedWater will maintain The Butler’s reputation and take great care of our guests and team. We look forward to watching RedWater take this restaurant that we worked so hard to build to a new level.”

Emily Phelps, a current owner of The Butler stated, "We are extremely grateful for all of our loyal customers, staff, friends, family and the Saugatuck and Douglas community. We have gained so many great memories and are excited to start a new chapter in our lives.

RedWater owners and staff are thrilled for The Butler to join their distinguished collection of restaurants and golf properties within West Michigan. RedWater looks forward to carrying on The Butler tradition of remarkable food, service and hospitality on the Lakeshore. RedWater COO Craig Smith said, “We are thrilled to grow our group yet again with the addition of another well-established, locally owned restaurant built on the same core values as our own. The Butler is truly an institution in the Saugatuck community, and we look forward to getting to know The Butler team and guests!”

The Butler will join the RedWater Restaurant Group of nine restaurants in West Michigan, including Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant, Cork Wine & Grille, FireRock Grille, Gravity Taphouse Grille, RedRock Grille, Reds at Thousand Oaks, Rush Creek Bistro, Vintage Prime & Seafood and the restaurant at Muskegon Country Club (opening spring 2022).

Smith said, “Our fine group of restaurants continues to support West Michigan with jobs within the restaurant industry. Our well-trained team takes pride in offering great food, service and a relaxed ambiance within each of our restaurants. We are very excited about expanding RedWater Restaurant Group to the lakeshore community of Saugatuck to serve the local community and visitors to the city. The Butler is a great addition to the RedWater Restaurant Group collection of quality dining establishments.”

The RedWater Restaurant Group’s mission is to exceed customer expectations by delivering an experience through our hospitality, food and service and consistently creating quality meals using the freshest ingredients at a great value. 

For more information about RedWater Restaurant Group and its distinctive restaurants, please visit, email or, or call (616) 719-4940.

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