The Big Boy restaurant on the northwest side of Grand Rapids has been in operation for almost 60 years. It might be closing for good and the building would be demolished to make way for another business.

Why Would Big Boy Be Torn Down?

Kum & Go, LLC wants to buy the land on the corner of Pearl St. and Mount Vernon Avenue. They are seeking a special land use permit from the Grand Rapids Planning Commission. They want to level the Big Boy restaurant and build a 24-hour convenience store and gas station.

The property that the Big Boy restaurant currently sits on changed hands in 2018. It was sold to DSS Real Estate Holdings LLC. Redevelopment of that land has been in the works since that time.

Kum & Go
Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media

There are some concerns with the construction of a convenience store on that site. The police department is concerned that if the store plans to sell alcohol, it could be an issue for the transient population in the area. That could lead to more panhandling and  disorderly conduct.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission is expected to vote on this development during their scheduled meeting on Thursday, May 12th at 12:30 pm. At 1 pm they will begin public hearings on the proposed changes for the 407 Pearl Street property.

How Long Has Big Boy Been on Pearl Street?

The original Big Boy restaurant on Pearl Street was constructed in 1964. It featured both indoor and outdoor dining, with pull up spaces for cars. In 2002, the restaurant was completely reconstructed with it's new design. This design was used as a prototype for Big Boy restaurants nationwide.

Big Boy Pearl Street
Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media

There are currently six Big Boy restaurants within 30 miles of Grand Rapids -- the one on Pearl Street, and one on Wilson Avenue in Grandville. There are also Big Boy restaurants in Cedar Springs, Wayland, Greenville, and Muskegon. Big Boy restaurants are very popular in Japan.

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