Elegantly Down-to-earth

An eatery named after a fox features dishes made with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients.

Lisa Purchase Kelly and her husband, Scott Kelly, of Saginaw, wanted to open a restaurant of their own for years. Scott had long worked as a chef, and was ready to take on the challenge of his own kitchen. The couple talked about how they wanted to do things—to run a restaurant that had less of a negative environmental impact than the standard chain eatery, that focused on locally-sourced foods and a seasonal menu made from scratch, and that helped bring a sense of community to the area.

“We wanted to be either in downtown or Old Town [Saginaw],” says Lisa Kelly. “We were encouraged by other local business owners, like [the owners of] Dawn of a New Day [Coffee House] and the Savoy [Bar & Grill], that the downtown was in need of more dining options. We finally chose our location to give guests an option to make an evening out of any events they are attending at the Temple Theatre or Dow Event Center.”

People often ask the couple why they chose to name their restaurant Bradley’s Bistro. The name actually came about on a family vacation in northern Michigan, shortly before they began seriously creating their business plan.

“We were staying at a cabin to fly fish, and there was a fox that we would see most days running in the woods. My daughter began joking that we should bring him home as a pet, and went so far as to name him Bradley,” Kelly says. “When we began talking about names, we decided that a fox captured the elegantly down-to-earth atmosphere we wanted to create, so Bradley it was.”

The restaurant is an eclectic American bistro with global influences. Dishes that have been featured include Pad Thai, Chicken Cacciatore, Roasted Duck with Cranberries, and Poutine (a Canadian dish made with French fries and topped with a gravy-like sauce and cheese curds).

“Our goal is to create simple, elegant Midwestern fare with a global twist. We use the highest quality ingredients and utilize local, in-season foods as much as possible, so our menu rotates regularly,” Kelly says.

The bistro features warm colors and an open kitchen that is visible from every table. Guests frequently comment that the bistro has a “European” feel—comfortable and cozy without being too informal. Lunch menu items cost between $5 – $15, and dinner items cost between $8 – $23. It was important to the couple to offer a wide range of price options to customers. The restaurant’s Facebook page has the most up-to-date details on its menu and specials.

“We have been overwhelmed with the support we have received, both from other local restaurants and from the more than 100 people who donated time or money for us to see our dream [of opening a restaurant] realized,” says Kelly. “We are so grateful to be part of such an amazing community.”

Bradley’s Bistro, 216 Federal St, Saginaw, 989-752-1400, www.bradleysbistro.com. Hours: Tuesday – Thursday (11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 – 8 p.m.) and Friday – Saturday (11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 – 9 p.m.). Occasionally open late after special area events; call for details.