VERNON - The view from State Road 79 is a little different as motorists pass through Vernon these days.
Noticeably missing from the Holmes Creek Pizza & Pasta Co. site is the iconic double-decker bus as the popular hometown restaurant undergoes a facelift by new owners Allen and Misty Byrd.
However, the Byrds assure the removal of the bus is the only major change the community can expect as the couple takes the reins from long-time owners Bill and Peggy Dobbins.
"We are keeping the same kitchen staff and all the recipes that make Holmes Creek Pizza and Pasta great," said Misty Dobbins. "We may add a few new things to the menu, but the local favorites are definitely staying."
It was one of those local favorites that prompted the Byrds to purchase the restaurant.
"It was one of the first places we ever stopped by to eat when we moved to Vernon from Bay County,” Misty said. "The pizza was amazing, and when I saw the 'for sale' sign on the door, I knew we needed to buy the restaurant."
The Byrds say the Dobbins have worked closely with them to ensure that the community’s favorite recipes will not be lost.
"Bill and Peggy have been so kind to us," said Misty. "They have helped every step of the way to help us keep the same menu items and cooks."
The restaurant closed in mid-June recently to prepare for a month-long renovation.
Currently, the Byrds plan is to add outdoor seating, pave the parking lot, and set up a family friendly activity area which could include recreational options such as volleyball.
“We just want it to be a family friendly hangout," said Misty.
As the Byrds took their first steps into the restaurant business, the Dobbins said a tearful farewell to the restaurant that helped them build numerous relationships within the community.
"It is a bittersweet occasion," said Bill Dobbins. "I wish the Byrds much success."