If you are part of Muskegon and aware of the rich history of the community and it's bygone era's, the word Occidental stands out as one of the biggest in the lore of our community. From the Civil War era to the 70's the Occidental Hotel was the landmark that made Western Avenue what it is. In 1975 that era came to a close however and to this day, there are those who still long for a return to that simpler and more elegant time. Some are even doing a little something about it.
Occidental Eats was founded by Corinne and Eric Cockream on Western Avenue. No, you won't find guest rooms and chamber maids, but you will find home made treats. You'll find elegant and robust soups and sandwiches. You'll find décor that continues to grow courtesy of people who want to let their memories of the original Occidental live on, a gentleman brought in some original straws and bar supplies while we were filming, and you'll also find Hannah Denys who is really the story here! Hannah is a recent graduate of the Baker College CIM and just like the Occidental way back when, she's on deck to provide hand made candy that you can see her create right in the window on Western. Take a look.
Hannah came out of school guns a blazing and has already become an aware winning artisan Chef. There's a deeper tie here too. Corrine's got a link back to the original Occidental as her aunt was the candy counter manager and the goal and purpose of this addition to Occidental Eats is to take another step back toward that nostalgic feeling of people putting more into their craft than just opening a box, putting things on display and sticking a price tag on them. The quaint atmosphere and the deep appreciation for the customers comes shining through and most importantly....the investment in the career of a young person like Hannah is a BIG deal.
It was a great pleasure meeting this incredible young woman so as you stroll Western Avenue, take a look in the window of Occidental Eats. You may just see an overly friendly face flecking a pan with a toothbrush to create a taste of yesteryear that is something we can all enjoy in a place looking to the future in more ways than one.