James saw a gap in the market and used his free time to “get into the restaurant game,” he says.
by Jade Small
The unexpected free time at home during the pandemic lock-down is probably welcomed by many and is being put to good use by tackling spring cleaning and long overdue home repairs and maintenance. But once all the chores are done, instead of going nuts with the time on your hands, perhaps you can join the squirrel appreciation trend and create a special place for your local squirrel population like James Vreeland from Detroit did.
James saw a gap in the market and used his free time to “get into the restaurant game,” he says on Instagram.
While sit-down restaurants are currently shut down, there’s no ban on squirrel restaurants and James promptly planned and built a squirrel specific, outdoor restaurant in his yard and named it Maison de Noix, or “The Nut House” in English. The menu, earthy ambience, picnic tables, and natural grass flooring is already hit with locals as a prime gathering spot.
Although primarily a squirrel hangout, the restaurant is open to all local critters, and according to James, blue jays are also regular guests.
James thought of everything, including a coat rail with hangers for squirrel jackets and a single menu at the entrance to avoid unnecessary touching.
The menu offers known favorites that include a Mixed Seed trio, Stale Bread or Pizza Crust, Raw Peanuts on the Shell, and Counter Softened Apple.
Maison de Noix should have no problems with health authorities since James is the owner, chef, waitperson, and chief sanitizer at the establishment, currently the only one of its kind in the United States.
According to James, although they aren’t allowed to eat there, humans are also enjoying the restaurant while keeping recommended social distancing. “The response from humans has been pretty great with people stopping all the time to take a photo or watch the frenzy,” James said.
James has started live streaming the daily comings and goings at Maison De Noix on Facebook. James commented during one recent live stream: “Sorry for the shaky cam—there is a blue jay sitting on the camera.”
You’ll find a time-lapse video of the “brunch rush” on his Instagram. We hope James’ efforts and success with Maison de Noix will encourage others to take the time to get to know their local squirrels and show appreciation of squirrels’ joy for life, their agility, funny antics, and for creating new growth by planting seeds—not only now, but after lock down too.too.