CHESANING — Riverfront Grille is expanding its offerings from its longtime restaurant and bar fare to include specialty coffee drinks.

Motivated to think outside the box amid the coronavirus pandemic, owner Matt Pierce and his staff launched a drive-thru coffee shop — The Coffee Shop at Riverfront Grille — at the restaurant, 128 N. Front St., Nov. 9, setting up shop in the back of the restaurant’s kitchen.

And the coffee shop offers a little something for everybody, Pierce said, noting that in addition to the traditional coffee blends, the menu also includes a variety of lattes, frappes and smoothies, as well as muffins, scones, mini-doughnuts and other baked goods.

“We’ve been talking about (adding a coffee shop to the business) for a couple of years just because me and my wife really enjoy good coffee, and you have to drive into Owosso or up into Saginaw to get it,” Pierce said Friday. “We’re always trying to find things that we don’t have around here right now and see if we can’t pull it off.”

Pierce has owned and operated Riverfront Grille since 2009, and was ready to add a coffee shop in March, but then the coronavirus hit, forcing bars and restaurants throughout Michigan to suspend in-person service, offering take-out only.

“We had to rethink exactly how we were doing it because we had talked originally about doing it in a separate location,” Pierce said. With everything tightening down, he ultimately decided to launch the endeavor in-house, using a portion of the restaurant’s kitchen.

For Pierce, it was about making the most of a tough situation.

“We feel like you can either give in to the changes or you can try to figure them out and make everything better, and I think you’re going to see a lot of good things come out of this,” Pierce said. “Even though the pandemic is terrible, you’re going to see people that got out of the normal day-to-day and were able to do new things.”

The Coffee Shop at Riverfront Grille offers a number of specialty drinks including lattes, cappuccinos, frappes and smoothies, as well as hot tea, iced tea and lemonade. The menu also features several items for kids, among them hot chocolate, milk, apple juice, orange juice and a cup of whip.

“I’ve got four kids of my own and then tons of nieces and nephews and they like to be a part of it, so we have kids stuff too,” Pierce said. “You can bring in your kids and they can feel like they’re getting something special with you.”

Muffins, scones, cinnamon rolls, mini-doughnuts and a variety of sandwiches are also available for purchase. Customers can place orders online at riverfront-grille.com or in-person at the drive-thru.

The coffee shop is open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Regular business hours for the restaurant are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

For more information, call (989) 845-1622 or visit riverfront-grille.com.

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