Westfield residents Jessica and Kevin Lynch are only in their late 20s, but they already have their retirement plan in place. The plan is Birdies, a miniature golf and restaurant combination under construction northwest of Ind. 32 and Oak Ridge Road.
Kevin, who plays professionally for the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, saw it as the perfect business plan. Jessica, whose father Ted Gelov owns Heartland Food Products Group, grew up around business. The husband-and-wife team saw an opportunity for their venture in Westfield with Grand Park.
“It kind of fell into being the perfect business for me while I was playing hockey,” said Kevin, whose team is the primary development affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. “Both my wife and I are very motivated people and we like to stay busy and this is something I can have not only during my career, but something I can have when I retire and it can be ours.
“This piece on (Ind.) 32 was large enough to have something else, and we thought a restaurant would complement the miniature golf course as well.”
Jessica said her early exposure to the business world sparked her dream of one day owning a business.
“That’s why I always wanted to start my own business. Our family is very entrepreneurial,” Jessica said. “(Westfield) is our home base, but we move away for every hockey season and never know where we are going to be, and we need to lay down some roots. After we had kids, we bought a house in Westfield, and we look forward to every summer when we can come home. We really wanted to develop a business that (Kevin) can still do while playing hockey.”
The hockey offseason is May through September, which is the ideal time for miniature golf enjoyment.
The Lynches plan to open the miniature golf course this summer, with the restaurant opening either this fall or spring 2020.
“I think, obviously, when we purchased our land, we knew there was a need for restaurants in the area. We are really catering to the teams and families of Grand Park,” Kevin said. “We feel like there’s a need for it, and we feel like what we are going to bring is exactly what not only Westfield needs but what Grand Park needs as well.”
With some teams having open timeframes between games that last longer than just a meal, Kevin said he believes Birdies will be a way to fill that time.
“I grew up playing sports my entire life, and I was always in tournaments on the weekends, and in between sporting events, we want to go out to grab a bite to eat, but you might have more time than just sitting down to eat,” Kevin said. “So, kids can come play miniature golf and the parents can eat and have a drink.”
Birdies expected atmosphere
Jessica and Kevin Lynch plan for Birdies to be casual, reasonably priced and have lots of TVs, along with a rooftop bar overlooking the miniature golf course for parents who want to keep an eye on their kids.
“It’s not a place you’re going to spend more than $15 on your meal,” Jessica said. “It’s really catered towards teams and families, and we feel like this is a good place. There’s a lot of places that cater to adults with a fun and lively environment, but this really caters to families.”
“I’ve been around a team atmosphere, and so has my wife, and that’s how we want to run our restaurant,” Kevin said. “We want to cater toward teams and families or sports fans. Pretty much anybody who can have a good time, watch sports and play miniature golf.”