Crown & Cork, a new look and name to a longtime Ludington restaurant.

April 25, 2021

Chef Dan Brooks and owner Lynda Matson

Crown & Cork, a new look and name to a longtime Ludington restaurant.

Set to open in May.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Lynda Matson has been involved in the Mason County business and education community for nearly 20 years. Her latest venture will begin in May when she opens the door to Crown & Cork, a waterfront kitchen and bar located at 502 W. Loomis St., formerly known as PM Steamers. 

“I’ve always been community minded and have been looking for a career change, so I thought, what better way to be in the center of the community than owning a restaurant,” Lynda, 41, said. 

PM Steamers was built over 30 years ago, overlooking the Ludington Municipal Marina and a vantage point of observing marine traffic, including the docking and departure of the SS Badger. The building continues to be the only waterfront restaurant in town. But, it was time for a change. 

Lynda and her husband, Brian, took over the restaurant earlier this year from Dick Scott. 

“This restaurant has been an institution in Mason County for many years, but it was time to change it up,” Lynda said. “I wanted it to have a new brand, to let people know that while we appreciate our past, it’s time to look toward the future.” 

Lynda is a 1997 graduate of Mason County Central High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising from Grand Valley State University, along with a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in leadership. 

Owner Lynda Matson

She began her local career as the director of customer service for Lake Michigan Carferry Service, which owned the SS Badger. She was quickly promoted to vice president. She then spent two years as the director of the West Shore Community College Business Opportunity Center before she was hired as the director of Career & Technical Education for the West Shore Educational Service District, overseeing 550 students and 14 programs for high school juniors and seniors in Mason, Lake, Oceana, and Manistee counties. She spent five years in that position. She left that position to focus on raising her three children and spending sometime re-focusing her life. 

Brian is a financial advisor for Edward Jones, and will continue in that career while Lynda manages the restaurant. 

Lynda describes the Crown & Cork as a “trendy new restaurant with a relaxed vibe.” 

Executive Chef Dan Brooks will lead the kitchen team and promises to create some new culinary experiences diners. 

“The Crown & Cork will be a full experience restaurant,” Dan said. “This place has gotten a full makeover. When people come her to eat, they will find a restaurant with new furnishing, some fresh paint on the walls, new flooring, a re-invented bar, amongst many other features. They will also find live music and a unique menu.” 

Yellow Brick Road, a dueling piano group from Grand Rapids, is booked to perform Saturday nights this summer from 8 p.m. to midnight. Lynda said she is working on having a jazz night on Thursdays. 

Chef Dan is planning a menu that features, among other items, eggplant rollintini, butternut ravioli, shrimp and grits, lamb meatballs, roasted beets, and roasted bone marrow. It will feature burgers and wraps as well. 

“We will feature locally grown items whenever they are in season,” Dan added. “I think customers will be really happy with what we are preparing for them.” 

Dan has worked in the restaurant industry since he was a teenager. He was formally trained at the Culinary Institute of Michigan, operated by Baker College in Muskegon. He has worked in restaurants in Muskegon, Holland, Chicago, and most recently, was executive chef of Timbers Restaurant in Ludington before starting his own restaurant consulting business. 

“I sought Dan out,” Lynda said. “When Brian and I bought the restaurant, I started asking who the top chefs were and Dan’s name kept coming up. I called him up and said, ‘You don’t know me but I want you to come work for me.’ Dan came in and listened to my vision for this place. He’s the perfect fit.” 

Working alongside Dan will be leading line cook Tyler Rolan, who most recently had been at Blu Moon Restaurant in Ludington. 

“I’m pretty proud of what is happening here,” Tyler said. “We are building a great kitchen team, but I know the front-of-the-house staff is going to be great as well. Lynda has really put an emphasis of creating a family environment for both the employees and the customers.” 

Lynda said the restaurant will open following the current pandemic capacity limits. This will be an advantage, though, she said, allowing the staff to “ease into” normal capacity. 

The restaurant is currently hiring for all positions. Anyone interested should inquire at www.crownncork.com. 

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