When looking for a location for his new full-service Italian restaurant, Greg Gio Vereyken opted to go big really big.
Gio, who brings some two decades of restaurant experience to his venture, opened Gios Trattoria Grille in a former Ace hardware store along U.S. 131 in Kalkaska. The mammoth space provides 12,000 square feet of space for dining, drinking and entertainment. Theres another 12,000 square feet of storage in the basement.
I cant think of anything thats even close to this (in size), says Gio with a smile. Usually youre trying to use every inch of space, but its such a different problem when youre trying to fill all these square feet.
Gio and his wife, Crystal, spent about six months of constant work installing interior walls to divide the area into a 2,000-square-foot bar area, a 4,000-square-foot main dining room and a 4,000-square-foot banquet hall. They painted the walls, redid the floors and added Romanesque decorations.
Gios mother, Sharon, contributed an artistic touch with murals and wall paintings that lend a distinctive Italian vibe.