June 26, 2019


Molasses, a new barbecue restaurant and bar in downtown Midland, opens Sunday, June 30.

This is the first restaurant that restaurateur David Dittenber and Downtown Restaurant Investments (DRI) have established in Midland. They have partnered together to operate Old City Hall, American Kitchen and Tavern 101 in Bay City.

Kurt Busard, chief brand officer for DRI and general manager of Molasses, said it’s been a goal of Dittenber and DRI for a long time to build in Midland to help revitalize the downtown area.

“We wanted to do something different that was a separate concept from the other ones we’ve done,” Busard said."We wanted something fun and exciting for the city."

The menu will have traditional St. Louis molasses-based barbecue as well as vegan, Asian-fusion, Korean and more options.

Busard said he hopes the restaurant, 201 E. Main St., becomes a focal point for the community, to keep them downtown for lunch and after work. It was planned to be a casual communal hangout with comfort food and a home feel.

When Dittenber opened Old City Hall restaurant in Bay City in 1997, Busard said the restaurant’s growth in popularity brought surrounding residential growth.

“It brought people downtown. It started to bring more residents building condos in the downtown area,” Busard said. “It was integral to the revitalization of downtown Bay City.”

The idea is to help Midland build up its downtown area, invest in the city so what happened in Bay City can happen in Midland, he said.

“Midland wants to have great downtown and a beautiful harmonious residential area and I think restaurants just fit that,” Busard said. “It’s been a great piece for us to help the city of Midland with what they’re trying to do.”