Fly Trap restaurant in Ferndale to reopen next month with new ownership

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

When Ferndale diner the Fly Trap closed temporarily in September, the fate of the popular breakfast and lunch spot was uncertain. 

Now, with new ownership underway, the "finer diner" could return as soon as early March. 

Previous owners Kara and Gavin McMillian, who opened the Fly Trap 17 years ago, said the problem was never a shortage of supportive customers, but staffing issues and a lack of work-life balance for the longtime business owners. 

Shannon Jones, manager at the Fly Trap restaurant and bar in Ferndale, paints the windows with the carryout hours during the coronavirus pandemic, March,16, 2020.

"When we had to close our doors at the end of September, we weren’t sure what was going to happen. We did know a few things — we were dead-tired, emotionally zapped and feeling bleak about our future," the McMillians said in an email to The Detroit News. "(We were) feeling like we were losing so much of ourselves that we weren’t able to provide the true 'fly trap experience' for each and every one of you. So, we stepped back and tried to look forward."

The McMillians sold the Fly Trap to one of their regular customers, a friend and fellow restaurant owner Matt Buskard. 

"We entertained no other offers in the sale of our beloved business because we knew that his heart was all Fly Trap and in the preservation of our small diner’s legacy," they said. 

Buskard, who also owns Bobcat Bonnie's restaurants throughout the area, said he has no plans to change anything about the Fly Trap and is taking an "if it's not broke, don't fix it" approach. 

"While we do own other restaurants, our goal is singular which is to ensure that the Fly Trap stays the Fly Trap. There will be no crossover either way in operations whatsoever," said Buskard, adding that the only changes may be some physical improvements to the building. 

"When The Fly Trap closed I reached out to Kara and Gavin to see if there was any way we could support or help to keep our favorite breakfast spot open. That conversation led to us figuring out a way that everyone could get what they wanted — Kara and Gavin got to move into the next part of what they want to do, and we got to ensure our regular breakfast spot, and their amazing staff kept going."

Buskard hopes to reopen the Woodward Avenue restaurant next month. Because the changing of ownership is between friends, they expect a smooth transition. 

"You never gave up on us and that is the last thing we ever want to do to you," the McMillians said regarding their loyal customers. "We know every business tries to make this claim, but we know it to be unique to our business and absolutely, unequivocally true … the Fly Trap patrons are the BEST customers out there."

The Fly Trap is at 22950 Woodward in Ferndale. Visit theflytrapferndale.com.

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mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens