And The Beat Goes On-Bulldog Basketball and Schuberg’s Bar and Grill
By Charles Chandler
When our local one-percenters and winter wimps have fled to Florida and the snow pile in Rosenberg’s Hardware parking lot is high enough to ski down the real White Cloud sports fans know it is time to cross the Muskegon River and head to the Ferris State campus in Big Rapids and root for the Bulldogs.
Ferris State is a great academic institute and fields great basketball and hockey teams. My preference is basketball, while wife Dianne likes both but leans toward hockey having grown up in Montreal playing hockey in local parks and homemade rinks. My 96 year old Mom-In-Law, Mrs. Dorothy Taylor lives in a lovely retirement facility in Denver but still roots for the Montreal Canadiens.
For me I was born and reared in the Deep South where the only hard water I ever saw was in the snow cone machine at the local Dairy Queen. My first ever hockey game at Ferris State required some explanation from Dianne as to why the young hockey players were slamming each other into the wall and...
...beating one another with sticks. Please note the first thing I noticed about the two sports was a significant difference between the hockey and basketball fans demeanor and behavior. I suggest that it is not safe for small children at a DAWG hockey game, and the seat number on your ticket mean absolutely nothing and those big plastic shields are in place to protect fans from flying pucks and to protect the opposing team players from the Ferris fans and truth be told to keep them from jumping the rail and hijacking the Zamboni.
The basketball fans across the hall are civil and do not scream for the home team to rend body parts from the opposing players. The cheerleaders are cute and generous and at media breaks and timeouts they pitch Bulldog logo ware, soft sponge balls and give the occasional pizzas to the fans. The band is talented and the director sometimes wears his pajamas and house robe when he plays with the group and there is this big fluffy bulldog that lets small children chase him around the court. There are always a small contingency of fans from White Cloud who sit near each other and share popcorn and in my opinion a Ferris basketball game is altogether a wonderful experience with high entertainment value.
However the best for me and many Bulldog fans that brave the February blizzards is that after the games we head on downtown to Schuberg’s Bar and Grill for a delicious burger and an adult beverage where we can bask in the glow of the win or commiserate in the loss.
The “Schu” is my ideal of a bar and grill, it has a great history that began around 1933, shotgun is shape, lot of wood and brass, still has the original floor and back bar, an open grill, and tons of memorabilia on the wall. There is a half of a racing sulky hanging over the wall booths put there by Mr. Ramsey in recognition of the original owner’s Shi Schuberg's love and family association with harness racing. You will always find a friendly and noisy crowd, great cooks and wait staff and consistent and predictably good food and drink at this timeless favorite. To be sure the Schu is a Dog House in every sense of the word; there is Ferris State Bulldog photos and memorabilia through this fine establishment.
The Dog fans and Schu patrons are generational and on any given day you will see at one of the large tables all decked in Ferris State logo wear, a Pop and Grammy, fair haired college students, Moms and Dads to pick up the tab and other members of the family including a new toddler or two playing happily with the table setting and condiments or being passed from one doting family member to the next for a squeeze or buss on the head.
Schuberg’s owners and staff are a family as well and recently I had an opportunity to sit for a short interview with Jennifer Rumsey wife of Brad Rumsey son of Schu owner Mr. Jeff Rumsey. As the story goes Mr. Rumsey began as a line cook for Mr. Carl Schuberg the original owner and namesake. Mr. Jeff Rumsey progressed to manager and when Mr. Schuberg was ready to retire sold out to Mr. Jeff Rumsey who has owned and operated the restaurant for about 40 or so years. He is retiring and has recently departed for Florida and turned the business over to son Brand and Jennifer. In our interview Jennifer described themselves as “Caretakers” of the legendary Schu.
I asked Jennifer to tell me a little bit about her family. Their back story was woven around the Schu. She had worked in restaurants while going to Interior Decorating School and Brad had grown up in the Schu starting out as dishwasher and moving on to other positions then attending culinary school in Grand Rapids. Jennifer’s maiden name was Mitchell and Mr. Schuberg had married into the Mitchell family. She and Jeff met at an event in the apartment above the Restaurant and while dating they learned that Jennifer’s Great Grandfather Leo Mitchell had been an employee for Shi Schuberg and had been a cook in the Restaurant for about 30 years.
Jennifer was asked why Schuberg's Bar and Grill? Why take on the challenges of a very old building, a legendary restaurant and all the hard work and expectations that go with the business. She replied that “I could not see myself doing anything else,” and again mentioned that this is a family affair (which was obvious as she is expecting their second child) and small daughter Gwen was watching Mom conduct an interview from her perch on the stairwell to the second floor apartment and office. Jennifer explained that “this place is where the community and the Ferris Alumni meet, where we grew up, and this is where our Restaurant Family works. The staff has worked here on average for about ten years and we could not run this Restaurant without them and most importantly we really want to honor our father Mr. Jeff Ramsey and his wishes to see the Restaurant continue and stay in the Family.”
Asked if they plan any changes to the menu or to the physical restaurant Jennifer suggested that they had already added all the unique Burgers listed on the menu to meet the changing taste of the younger crowd of college students and they plan a few upgrade to the kitchen equipment and floor but would certainly maintain the look and feel of the original Schu. We love it when we hear our patrons tell their kids that “when we were college students 30 years ago we partied right here and this place hasn’t changed one bit.”
The interview ended as the lunch crowd began arriving looking hopefully that there would be a place at their favorite booth or table and thinking about which menu item to order today. Given the weather, my bet was on the soups and chili. Schu has an extensive menu filled with tasty items and some of my favorite date night options are the Grouper or the Flat Iron steak and for wife Dianne it is always the Walleye.
Several years ago my neighbor and insurance agent Eric Rudert a Ferris State alumnus introduced me to Ferris State basketball and the legendary Schuberg’s Bar and Grill. His recommendation for my first order, a according to the menu Michigan’s “Favorite Burger” the original Schu burger is a 1/3 pound of fresh hand pressed burger, char-grilled and topped with a choice of cheese & our everything, ketchup, mustard, onion, pickles and green olives for $7.50. I paired that with an order of fries and an adult beverage, it was delicious. There is an old saw that reads “it’s not bragging if it’s the truth.” There is a plaque on the panel in front of the grill that states that the Schu according to Mr. John “Gonzo” Gonzalez of MLive Michigan serves up one of the Top Ten best burgers in Michigan.” http://www.michigan.org/blog/guest-blogger/the-search-for-the-best-burger-in-michigan
Today for lunch it was going to be the Original Schu burger, side of fries and an adult beverage.
It was as expected a very delicious and satisfying meal. As mentioned in a previous story, local family owned and operated businesses are precious indeed and our best wishes to Brad and Jennifer Ramsey and their growing family as they assume their caretaker roles and continue the good times at the ole Schu, cheers to the patrons and go Dogs.
The next Ferris State Basketball home game is February 2 at 8:00 PM in Wink Field House and the Dogs are 9 and 2 in the conference. Save us a booth seat under the Sulky so we can watch those delicious burgers cooking on the grill, and don’t forget to walk up front for a free helping of roasted peanuts or hot popcorn.
And the beat goes on.
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