With Tim Otteman running The Malt Shop, he can achieve his goal of turning the eatery into a Central Michigan University Chippewas-enthusiasts dream destination.
The new owners, Otteman and his brother Jim, took over of the shop on the corner of University and Bellows on last month. They spent two weeks redecorating, placing old photos of athletes, front pages of Central Michigan Life and sports uniforms on the walls. The shop officially reopened Friday.
“When the opportunity came to purchase it, we took it,” Otteman said. “We wanted to give back to the community and show passion for the community we grew up in. We’ve been busy cleaning, painting and putting up photos.”
Otteman, a 1984 graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, has three degrees from Central Michigan University and is a professor in the recreation parks and leisure services department. Otteman said he wanted to keep the Chippewa spirit alive through the memorabilia that hangs on the walls.
“One side is old vintage stuff, the other is new sports uniforms from all the current sports,” Otteman said. “We worked with CMU Athletics on that. It’s all the current teams’ athletic equipment.”
On the vintage side, Lynn Dominguez can look at a photo of herself and her teammates on the first ever women’s cross country team.
“The photo is from when I was a freshman on the cross country team,” Dominguez said. “It was all we got from being on the team. We didn’t get letters or scholarships. We shared uniforms with the volleyball team.”
Other die-hard Chippewas enjoyed the new menu at The Malt Shop while admiring photos of family members and friends that hung on the maroon and gold walls. Jenny Bouck-Maciejewski, a Mount Pleasant-native who now lives in Bay City, traveled to the grand opening of the shop.
Finding a photo of her brother who played baseball for CMU on the wall, she reminisced about her time on the softball team. Bouck-Maciejewski said playing sports at CMU is a family tradition. Her father played baseball and basketball, her mother was a cheerleader and her sister played softball as well.
“It kind of takes me back,” Bouck-Maciejewski said. “It’s fun to see all the people I grew up playing with on the wall.”
Bouck-Maciejewski said she remembers going to The Malt Shop when she was in high school. She said the restaurant is in good hands with the Otteman brothers.
Even some of Otteman’s students checked out the grand opening of the shop. Shane Taylor, a Harrison senior, said he attended the VIP tasting last week and enjoyed his experience so much he had to come back.
“The brisket is amazing,” Taylor said. “(Otteman) loves Mount Pleasant. You hear him say it all the time. It’s nice to see him buy a Mount Pleasant tradition.”
The Malt Shop has a new menu, keeping some items from the old menu but building on old favorites. Pizza is a staple, Otteman said, and the hummus has stayed, as well. The restaurant offers healthier options as well, including sub sandwiches and wraps.