Silver Star Café Honors the Military with Superior Food and Service

By Jane Whitttington on April 15th, 2017 / Comments

Silver Star Café is tucked away in a comfortable corner of the Calder Building on Monroe Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. Started by childhood friends Nate Peltier and Nate Nowak, it celebrated its grand opening on March 1st and is going “Army strong”. With a military theme, it attracts veterans (and offers them a ten percent discount) and “civilians” as well.

The Silver Star is open for breakfast and lunch everyday but Sunday and features such menu items as a Silver Star Salad Bar, Chow Hall Chicken Noodle Soup, Bronze Star Breakfast Burrito, and Purple Heart-y Pressed Subs. Decorated with military trappings, the café’s motto is “It’s Our Honor to Serve You”.

Both Peltier and Nowak are from the Muskegon area and have been best friends since they met in the ninth grade. After graduation in 2001, they joined the Army under the buddy program and did their basic training as well as food service training together at Ft. Bragg. They continued to work at the base in food service but were both eventually deployed in 2003, Peltier to Iraq and Nowak to Afghanistan. Returning after their deployment, Nowak left the service but Peltier stayed in until 2009 when he too left the Army. After that, they continued to serve United States, NATO and civilian contractors in Afghanistan under government contract from 2009 through 2013.

Returning to Grand Rapids, they talked about opening their own restaurant using the skills they had learned in their training and through their experience.

Peltier says, “We looked around Grand Rapids for a good location, and I found this spot in the Calder Building; it is centrally located and was already set up as a café.”

He goes on, “We had both saved money and were able to self-finance the Silver Star. We opened quietly on February 1, worked through how to operate and then had our grand opening on March 1. Since then we’ve been doing a steady business. We started out being open just Monday through Friday but now we’re also open on Saturdays. We’re a breakfast and lunch place so our hours are 8 AM to 2 PM.”

Peltier says that he wants the Silver Star to be a comfortable place for vets to hang out and visit with other vets. The ten percent discount the Café offers for veterans is a tribute to their customers’ service.

The two Nates have already received a good bit of publicity including segments on Fox 17 and WZZM, both in Grand Rapids as well as being featured in the Grand Rapids Business Journal and the Whitehall Beacon newspaper. They are also included in the first print publication this month of the EATGR Facebook group.

Peltier is excited to report that they have purchased a food truck (what they call their “deployment unit”) which will take to the road by the first of April and will appear at locations throughout Grand Rapids as well as at the Michigan State Fair in Novi and at Hippie Fest in Mears in the Fall.

The Silver Star has already catered a couple of local events, and they hope to grow that part of their business.

Sit down restaurant, food truck, catering—an ambitious agenda for these two young men. But their record of service to their country, praise-worthy work ethic, and willingness to do what it takes bodes well for the future of the Silver Star Café.

Their website is: 1515


About the Author

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington

Jane Whitttington is a freelance writer and editor who lives in Grand Rapids. A Michigan native and Michigan State University grad, she enjoys reading, travel, politics and volunteering.