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New restaurant JungleBird to bring tropical flair to downtown Kalamazoo

Restauranteur Mark Sellers’ newest concept will anchor key commercial space in The Exchange

KALAMAZOO, September 21, 2021 — Art deco decor, Caribbean flair, and casual island sophistication arrive in downtown Kalamazoo in early 2022 with the opening of JungleBird, a restaurant and cocktail lounge inside The Exchange.

The restaurant, 155 W. Michigan Ave., was concepted and designed by Michigan restauranteur Mark Sellers, best known for creating HopCat, Stella’s Lounge, and Max’s South Seas Hideaway.

The new concept will feature an extensive list of craft cocktails and eclectic cuisine inspired by the tropics in an atmosphere infused with elements of Havana soul, Miami-style art deco, unique artwork, and tropical plants.

JungleBird is being developed as a collaboration between PlazaCorp, the developer of The Exchange, and Mark Sellers. They previously worked together to open HopCat – Kalamazoo.

Sellers is drawing on his travels to Miami, Cuba and various other Caribbean islands to create a unique experience with a chef-driven food menu and craft cocktails. When guests enter JungleBird they’ll be transported into an alternate reality that will feel like an oasis off bustling West Michigan Avenue.

“This is a restaurant concept I’ve been thinking about for years. JungleBird will combine much of what I love about the Caribbean — island hospitality, a welcoming, sophisticated atmosphere, creative and flavorful cuisine, and unforgettable tropical cocktails,” Sellers said.

JungleBird’s food menu is being created by Chef Richard Williams, who previously created the menu for Max’s South Seas Hideaway in Grand Rapids. Max’s was recently voted “Best New Restaurant in West Michigan,” “Best Craft Cocktails,” and “Most Innovative Cuisine” by readers of Revue Magazine.

On the JungleBird menu, guests will find small plates such as Croquetas de Jamon (Potato croquettes stuffed with ham and red dragon cheddar) and Charred Octopus, as well as entrees like Churrasco Brick Chicken Thigh, Braised Short Ribs, and Chilean Salmon.

For dessert, guests will be able to choose from options such as Key Lime pie, Pastelitos de Cucurucho (layered puff pastry filled with guava, papaya, and coconut chutney with Chantilly cream and caramel deco), and homemade avocado sorbet.

The craft cocktail menu is still in development but will include well-known drinks such as the Brazilian Caipirinha, the Cuban Mojito, and of course the rum-based Jungle Bird, from which the restaurant takes its name.

“Mark has created some of the most innovative restaurant concepts in the state, so we jumped at the opportunity to partner with him to bring this unique experience to The Exchange,” said Jeff Nicholson, founder of PlazaCorp. “We think JungleBird will provide an everyday escape for locals and a memorable destination that will draw more people to downtown.”

JungleBird’s dining room will seat approximately 220 guests, with private event spaces for groups of up to 50, and an outdoor patio with seating for 40.
Applications for management and culinary team positions may be sent to jobs@junglebirdkzoo.com.

Follow JungleBird’s progress on Facebook and Instagram (@JungleBirdKZOO) and on the web at junglebirdkzoo.com.

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