The Rapidian

Lyon Street Cafe brings pourover coffee to Midtown

Kameel Chamelly and his daughter Alex Chamelly have brought Madcap coffee to the Midtown neighborhood, with much of the interior furnishings created from reclaimed lumber from the Grand Rapids area.
Wall mural and edison bulbs

Wall mural and edison bulbs /Eric Tank

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Location and hours

617 Lyon NE

7 a.m. - 10 p.m. seven days a week

/Eric Tank

Alexandria Chamelly, Director of Operations

Alexandria Chamelly, Director of Operations /Eric Tank

The northeast corner of Union and Lyon got a little brighter and busier last Saturday, on opening day for Lyon Street Cafe. The latest venture by Kameel Chamelly, who also owns Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Baking Company, Lyon Street Cafe expands a slowly growing footprint.

The new cafe is bright and modern, with an urban upcycled vibe. The brick walls are painted white, and all the flooring, furniture and counterfronts are various kinds of reclaimed lumber. Single post, laquered oak high tops serve as tables, and a row of custom built booths line the wall opposite the counter. One long high top stands behind the storefront glass.

Interior woodwork was done by local heritage craftsman Brent Ahmicasaube, who has worked with Chamelly on several other projects. Ahmicasaube sourced the lumber from demolitions in and around Grand Rapids, and one historic barn in central Michigan.

With the warm, modern-industrial vibe of the white walls, edison bulbs and heritage wood, Lyon Street was designed to feel inviting to just about everyone.

“We really feel that this neighborhood deserves a good coffee shop and has needed one for a long time,” says Director of Operations Alex Chamelly, daughter of the cafe’s owner. “We just wanted to create a space that was welcoming to everyone, whether you’re a student, or doctor, or professor or live just down the street. This really is a wonderful neighborhood, and we want to give the community a space they can enjoy.”

Alex Chamelly oversaw the redevelopment of the space and the training of the cafe's new baristas and staff. She was attending college when her father offered her the opportunity to take over the cafe in its early stages.

Lyon Street Cafe exclusively serves Madcap coffee, using the same barista training and pourover style as is rigorously adhered to at Madcap’s downtown shop. One of Madcap’s coffee engineers trained the cafe’s team of new recruits for two weeks before opening.

“Madcap has a really good product. It’s very consistent, and they have a good system in place, so it made sense to adopt their product and their style. We have a great space, so we brought in the best coffee experts we know,” says Alex Chamelly.

Martha’s Vineyard and its sister business Nantucket Baking Company have been local favorites in the heart of Midtown for deli, food, beverage and baked goods. A new parking lot separates the buildings housing Martha’s Vineyard and Lyon Street Cafe. 

Most of Nantucket’s storefront space has moved down the block, next to the cafe, although the bakery’s old Union facing storefront will continue to sell soup and pizza.

With Nantucket’s main bakery operations next door to the cafe, the pizzeria and Martha’s Vineyard are slated to undergo changes. In the spring, Kameel Chamelly has plans to tear down the wall between Martha’s and Nantucket, and to combine the two storefronts into an expanded deli.

In the meantime, pizza, wine, coffee and fresh baked bread continue to be plentiful in Midtown.

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