Our History

It all started with a circus pony who was trained to do one thing and one thing only. Sometimes people joked and jeered at the pony, but what those people failed to realize is that in life, it is better to focus on one thing, and to do it well than to focus on many things and be a master of nothing. At One Trick Pony, we share a similar philosophy. In this case, our "one trick" is providing you with the best dining experience that we can deliver. Currently celebrating our eighteenth year as a restaurant, we are quite sure that we've mastered our "one trick."

The buildings that house One Trick Pony are historically significant. The element of time plays a key role in the spirited ambiance that our restaurant provides. Certified as the oldest continually occupied building in Grand Rapids, the walls of One Trick Pony have seen many things.

The taproom area of the restaurant originally housed Oliver Bleak's General Store which was built in 1856. At this time, Grand Rapids had only officially been a city for 6 years and the population was still under 4,000. The city itself was only 10.5 square miles total.

In 1885, the east building was built to house H.A. Wilson and T.W. Dwight's Upholstery and Tack Shop. What you see now at One Trick Pony is a fusion of these two original buildings. When you visit our restaurant, take a look up when you walk in the door. You will notice that some of the walls, as well as the alley between the two old buildings, have been incorporated into the current structure.

Through the years, these old walls have played host to 17 different businesses. From dressmaker to dry cleaner, a radio & music repair shop to a meat market, One Trick Pony has seen it all. The signs you can see throughout our restaurant pay tribute to the businesses that helped shape early Grand Rapids.

One Trick Pony is proud to be neighbors with the Verhils' first restaurant, The Cottage Bar. They both share a butcher's cleaver handle on their front doors, a symbol of their shared ownership.

One Trick Pony History