ELSIE — Fitting with the dairy farms surrounding it, a new restaurant/bar’s name is The Tipsy Cow Bar and Grille and its motto, “A place like no udder.”
The idea, co-owners Vickie Bush and Brad Sutliff said, was to create a fun, family-friendly place that would bring downtown Elsie back to life. The formula seems to be working.
“We’ve been crazy busy,” Bush said. “We’ve had to double our staff (from 10 to 20) in just two weeks.”
“We love seeing kids and their families in here and feeling comfortable. Many people have told us Elsie needs this,” Sutliff said. “But the reason why we’re doing well is our outstanding staff.”
Running the front of the house is manager Alex Koyne, while the queen of the kitchen is manager Johnnie Lewis. The duo are focusing on delivering quality service and food, including the Cow Tipper burger, topped with a slab of hickory-smoked, shaved roast beef, mild pepperoni rings, provolone cheese, red onion and southwestern sauce, all stacked up on a brioche bun.
“The food, the laid-back atmosphere and the service — people appreciate what we’re doing for the community, and we can only be happy they’re supporting us in return,” Koyne said. “They can come in and have a delicious bite to eat, and after dark they can come in and get happy.”
The house specialty is “hand helds,” meaning burgers and sandwiches, though other items are available, such as beer-battered chicken gizzards, an in-demand entree in the area.
Bush and Sutliff know what their customers like, having owned The Shed Bar and Grille in Marion Springs since early 2019. The business partners bought the former Cooters Bar and Grill, which was primarily a bar, with a plan to make the establishment more of an eatery that also serves libations.
“We knew it would bring everybody back to Elsie,” Bush said.
Another promising sign of success for The Tipsy Cow was taking third place in the Lansing Area’s Best Fish Fry back in March, going up against 22 competitors. The eatery did well despite having been open only for a month, for takeout only.
The Tipsy Cow will be open with a limited menu throughout the Elsie Dairy Festival, set for July 8-10. From 8 p.m. until midnight July 10 (Saturday), local band Bachelors Since Breakfast will play rock, country and more on the restaurant/bar’s covered patio, which also features a jukebox.
Bush and Sutliff said they are both dedicated restaurateurs and members of the community. He’s a village of Elsie Department of Public Works employee, and she’s a local real estate agent. The Tipsy Cow is hosting a cornhole tournament Sept. 25, with all proceeds going to the Elsie Fire Department.
“We plan to open after ball games and practices, and after the Friday night football game,” Sutliff said. “I graduated from Ovid-Elsie in 1992 and I’ve lived in Elsie all my life.”
More is coming, The Tipsy Cow team promised, including “Polka on the Patio” nights.
“We’ll be starting daily specials and happy hours,” Lewis said. “We’ve got a lot of things planned.”