Denise Flikkema knows how bad things are for some of her neighbors and customers, and she plans to do something about it. The manager of the Grattan Irish Pub at 11817 Old Belding Rd., Belding, is offering free Thanksgiving meals with purchase of a beverage from noon until the food runs out on Thanksgiving day.
Flikkema inherited management of the quaint Irish establishment from her parents, George and Maureen Phillips. The building was built in 1937 in a community founded by Irishman Henry Grattan, who, along with fellow immigrants, moved here and established their own little town. According to Flikkema, the Irish farmers used to sit outdoors and drink just about where the pub is now located. “I guess they wanted a bar to drink in, so they just built it,” she explained. Twenty years ago, the Phillips bought the establishment, but now Flikkema and her husband Jeff run it.
Flikkema said people don’t have to be struggling financially to take advantage of the free meal. “It’s for everyone. It’s because I’m grateful to have customers.” Flikkema said the pub is preparing about 200 meals for the day, and hopes that will be a good guess for the number of people who might show up.
“I know it is bad around here for some people,” she said of the economy, hoping if anyone is struggling this year they will stop by for the meal. “I want to give back to the community and thank my customers. I have very loyal customers.”