Eddy’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill Owners Love to Light Up the Sky
Scott Foster scoops up a handful of freshly popped popcorn from behind the bar, greets customers dining at a nearby table and casually makes his way out to the patio to chat with me. We begin talking about one of his favorite topics – the July 4th fireworks!
The owner of Eddy’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill is a laid back kind of guy, usually dressed in a T-shirt and jeans and hanging out with customers. Perhaps not the kind of guy you’d think would get fired up about much of anything.
But there is one thing he is passionate about. It’s the July 4th holiday and fireworks, especially neighborhood celebrations such as the Blast on the Bridge and fireworks on Geist reservoir.
Foster has been one of the top sponsors for the Geist fireworks year after year – and this year he is again supporting the community tradition with a donation of $10,000.
“Don’t you think the fireworks display looks better than ever?” says Foster, almost dismissing his generous donation. Yes, the fireworks do look good and it is great we can keep the tradition going since it is based totally on donations.
Foster enjoys keeping the Geist tradition alive, mainly because it brings back childhood memories.
Scott grew up around a lake in southern Michigan and the Fourth of July was a favorite time of the year.
“Fourth of July was a big deal at the lake. The kids would hang out all day and then when the sun went down it was time for fireworks, our favorite part of the holiday!” recalls Foster. ”It was a lot of fun, and I hope kids and adults around here can enjoy the same kind of experience.”
That seems to be why Foster is such a generous supporter of the fireworks each year. He sees it as a way to give back. “I see it as a great big thank you to the community on the lake,” says Foster. “These are the people that support my restaurant year round, so when it comes to this great family event, I have a chance to thank them for all of their support.”
Foster also knows his support helps the Geist/Fall Creek Watershed Alliance, which helps keep our Geist water safe. “That’s the very water my restaurant is on and the water our community depends on,” says Foster. “All the more reason they deserve our support.”
The donation to the fireworks has also been a good business decision for Foster. “I don’t really do monthly coupons and so on,” says Foster. ”I like to do one big event to remind all of the community that I am here and it goes to a good cause on top of that.”
Foster’s generosity also extends to his employees, especially when it comes to the Fourth of July. He closes the restaurant on the holiday so his employees can go enjoy the Fourth of July too. One year, Foster even missed the fireworks display because he stayed and cleaned up after letting his employees go for the night!
“I know,” says Scott, shaking his head. “Some people tell me I’m crazy for closing on such a big night around here. But the employees want to go watch the fireworks too. I’m like the parent to a bunch of kids who all want to go, so how can I decide who can go and who will have to work? It works best for everyone if we all get the chance to be there,” Fosters laughs.
Maybe that good attitude of Foster’s comes from the fact that he had never been in the restaurant business before. A professional photographer for many years, Scott ran a successful photo lab (82nd St. Photo Imaging) in the 90’s. But as the business began changing, more and more customers were asking for digital photography, and Foster started thinking about changing careers.
“I am a huge fan of film, and I didn’t see myself changing,” says Foster. “I needed a business where technology wouldn’t change my business,” he adds with a smile.
When Scott told his wife Heather (of more than 20 years now), she says she was not surprised. “He may be a great photographer, but he always had a dream of running a bar,” says Heather Foster. “But only a certain kind of place … a neighborhood bar and restaurant like Cheers!”
So when the opportunity to take over Eddy’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill became available, Scott was ready to make the move. “I was all for it,” says Heather. “I told him now is your chance to do what you always wanted to do.”
The rest is history. Foster has turned Eddy’s into a fun neighborhood bar and grill and a popular destination for the Geist area. Not to mention, an establishment that does a great job of supporting its community by continuing to sponsor the Geist fireworks.
Foster also recognizes the fact that the entire Blast on the Bridge Fourth of July celebration couldn’t be done without the help of the volunteers. “We have a great group of volunteers who really care about the event,” says Foster. “They really do all the hard work.”
Last year’s Blast on the Bridge was a big success, with close to 8,000 guests on the bridge and thousands more viewing from boats below. This year, there should be even more food and beverage vendors, family activities and hopefully, no rain! You can still watch the boat parade and skydivers too, before the evening is capped off with the wonderful fireworks display.
Just keep in mind, no need to stop at Eddy’s on that night. Eddy’s will be closed so the employees can head out to enjoy the fireworks. When I asked one of the employees what they thought of that, she said, “It’s great! Scott wants us to work, but don’t get me wrong, he’s very generous – the best boss I’ve ever had. Just don’t tell him I said that!”
So when Eddy’s is open, do stop in to enjoy some of the famous Eddy’s dip, or other specials on the outdoor patio, where it is not unusual to see Scott working the tables with everyone else!
It’s nice to be reminded of how great it is to have a friendly neighborhood establishment to support, especially when you know how much they give back to the local community. So hats off to Heather Foster for encouraging Scott to live his dream and take over Eddy’s. The entire Blast on the Bridge event does depend on donations from area residents to keep going.
So this year, as the fireworks start popping in the night sky, you will know who’s behind that great display and who is making sure we all have a blast!