In a move that immediately created shockwaves, followed by a number of ripples and several strong reverberations across the western Michigan area, Clover Bar has announced a takeover of Fricano’s Pizza, effective immediately; abruptly ending the Grand Haven ‘pizza war’ that has divided local pizza-lovers for half a century. Because devotees of the two establishments can be as fervent and partisan in their affections as Spartan/Wolverine fans, Coke/Pepsi drinkers, or Ford/Chevy drivers, today’s news isn’t likely to sit well with longtime fans of Fricano’s, an institution in Grand Haven since serving its first pizza in 1951.
One local resident, Kathy Norbury, who lives two blocks from Fricano’s, stood on the Fulton Street sidewalk and wept openly as the Fricano’s sign was taken down late Wednesday afternoon. “This can’t be true”, said Kathy, between sobs and sniffles, “It has to be a bad joke. This cannot be happening.” By the time workers hoisted a new Clover Bar sign, Norbury collapsed, curled into a fetal position, and became so apoplectic with grief that paramedics were called from North Ottawa Community Hospital, where she is now resting in stable condition and will begin a program of grief-counseling once she is able to walk again.
While Clover Bar owners and representatives have so far avoided any direct questions from the media that might help explain how this takeover came about, or how it could happen with no advance warning, a statement posted on Clover Bar’s website today acknowledges the sensitivity of today’s announcement. “Out of respect for both the Fricano family and the restaurant’s many fans, we will continue to use their red & white plastic tablecloths for ninety days, and we’ll soon be adding a special ‘Fricano’s Memorial Pizza’ to our menu, which is already far more extensive than Fricano’s menu ever was. We appreciate that this may be a painful and difficult change for many folks to accept, so we’d like to allow time for them to absorb this news and come to terms with it before we engage in any further community dialogue, or discuss the details of our plans for renovating the original Fricano’s location. We would also urge the legions of Clover Bar fans to refrain from any overt, celebratory actions or noises, which could be insensitive, or even offensive, to anyone mourning the loss of Fricano’s Pizza.”
No one from the Fricano family has answered phone calls or emails, but according to a source quoted in late-breaking news from Reuters, the Fricano family are said to be gathering at their 18-acre summer compound in Hyannis Port, MA. It is from this same location, within their guarded, 22,000 square-foot residence – known to locals as “The Pepperoni Palace” for its round shape and cheese-shingled roof – that the Fricanos weathered a hostile-takeover attempt by Pizza Hut in 1983. It is not known if, or when, any official statement from the family will be forthcoming.
Clover Bar has announced that all pizzas in their new, Columbus Street address will be 50% off through this weekend. Be sure to follow The Grand River Times on Facebook or Twitter to receive any updates on this developing story.