FLINT, Michigan — Bedrock Diner is Johnny Edmond’s dream come true. Nearly 30 years and 270 miles ago — during his first kitchen apprenticeship — Edmond learned classic recipes and developed a passion for cooking that he always hoped would allow him to one day own his own restaurant.
And, he learned from the very best.
“My love for cooking started with Mom and Grandma in the kitchen,” Edmond says.
Bedrock Diner sits on East Court Street in the College Cultural Neighborhood. Edmond opened the restaurant with little fanfare about eight months ago and there he serves up the foods he learned to make back home in Chicago, where he was born and raised and where he learned to cook first in his family kitchen and then — after working his way up from being a dishwasher — at a Red Lobster in the Windy City.
After starting a family, he made the move to Flint, where they could be closer to the mother of his children’s family. And, he continued working in the restaurant industry for 25 years as a cook at the old Ryan’s Steakhouse on Miller Road, then Olive Garden and Old Country Buffet.
Memories of his family’s home cooking — from scratch, always — continued to motivate him. Edmond says his food was always good, even while working for chain restaurants, but wanted to be able to give people a taste of that kitchen back in Chicago.
Restaurants have come and gone in the spot where Bedrock Diner now stands. Rizzo’s Pizza and Wildroot Cafe both occupied the space over the years — and Edmond always thought it would be the perfect spot for what he wanted to do. “I actually used to drive by here every day. I’ve had my eye on this spot for 15 years,” Edmond says.
When it became available, he jumped at the opportunity.
And, he soon realized there was more work than he realized that needed to be done with the space — including renovations to the kitchen and making sure the building was up to code. That meant he had to take money set aside for decor and other visions he had for the interior to make sure the restaurant passed inspection.
Those bumps in the road were no issue for Edmond. “I actually wanted to start small,” he says. “I’m still learning how to run the place — especially the business side of things.” Once the restaurant opened, he hung banners, started a Facebook page and mostly relied on word of mouth to bring in customers. He also set up a large barbeque grill outside and began cooking up some BBQ each day — literally sending smoke signals out to get people to come try his food.
The menu includes all made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are all the usual breakfast foods as well as burgers, sandwiches and homemade soups for lunch, and his grandma’s beef stew or fried chicken for dinner. “I want them to feel like they are at home and welcome,” Edmond says.
The restaurant business isn’t easy — but Edmond remains thankful. “I appreciate it, both the ups and the downs,” says Edmond, who credits his attitude to his faith, celebrating life and overcoming challenges. Edmond is celebrating more than two years sober. On May 5, 2019, he’ll celebrate another year of being clean. Living his life through recovery and sobriety ishis ongoing inspiration to keep living his dream.
In fact, Edmond says he is already planning a Bedrock 2 — date and location to be determined, but with the same good food he was raised to make … with one little twist on that Chicago kitchen: “Mine’s better,” he says with a smile.
Bedrock Diner is located at 1913 E. Court Street. Hours are 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays-Saturdays, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays. Closed Tuesdays.
For more information, check out Bedrock Diner’s Facebook page