Bored Guy in Quarantine Builds a Restaurant for the Squirrels in His Yard

This quarantining period has helped so many people appreciate their pets and neighborhood animals more. The little pooches may not be able to speak or chat away the whole day with you, but their company — and antics — are now more exciting than ever, and they are helping people deal with all of the COVID-19 misery. 

James Vreeland from Michigan, Detroit couldn’t take the boredom anymore and decided to give himself something to look forward to every day. [1] A longtime lover of animals, Vreeland was dealing with too much free time and decided to delve into “the restaurant game,” only that it’s not quite what we’d expect. 

Michigan is known for its abundance of squirrels. The adorable little nut-buggers are in almost every tree and bush and you can’t help but love all that shy cuteness. He wrote on Instagram: “Figured now was as good a time as any to get into the restaurant game. Anyone know how to get ahold of @gewhitmer for a variance to keep our patio open?”

Vreeland went all out with the Maison de Noix (or “The Nut House” in English), an incredibly tiny open-air restaurant featuring picnic-style tables and chairs, squirrel statues, natural grass floors, a mini coat wood rack, and an elaborate entrance. The squirrel statues are probably there to encourage the shy little animals to come in and have a seat — no one’s going to hurt them. 

While he won’t be expecting any 5-star reviews on Google anytime soon, you’d have to agree he did an impressive job with this one. Of course, the neighborhood squirrels are in love with their new hotspot (the only hotspot), and even the birds aren’t left out in all the fun. 

“What would you be having, sir?”

Some people are such perfectionists, aren’t they? Vreeland went the extra mile to print out an elegant menu showcasing the restaurant’s specials. The animals could “choose” to have raw peanuts, stale bread/pizza crust, mixed seed trio, or counter-softened apples. Now that’s one way to offer a smorgasbord of tasty delights.

Raw peanuts are certainly a squirrel favorite and pizza crusts? Excellent addition to a simple-yet-sophisticated menu. 

Vreeland’s new “venture” has turned into a booming business in such a short while. They are attracting squirrels and blue jays from all over the neighborhood and there’s never a dull moment out in Maison de Noix. Well, there’s no competition anywhere else in the city (or country), so they have a full monopoly of the business.

Squirrels aren’t the only ones delighted by the unique restaurant. Vreeland reveals that humans are crazy about the hotspot too, even though they can’t join in all the fun. 

The response from humans has been pretty great with people stopping all the time to take a photo or watch the frenzy.” 

Vreeland has put in a lot of effort to make his restaurant a reality, and he wants the rest of the world to share in all the cheer and brightness. You can now tune in to his Facebook page to watch live videos of the nuthouse buzzing with its esteemed customers. You’d have to deal with the occasionally shaky camera though — the blue jays aren’t exactly fans of sitting where you tell them to.

It seems squirrel care is gearing up to be a big deal this period. Another bored guy in Pennsylvania built a tiny little picnic table in his front yard for the neighborhood squirrels to come over and chow some tasty nuts. [2] It was such a hit that people started requesting the miniature furniture and he’s already sold hundreds of them on Etsy. This is a time to clutch onto happiness wherever we can find it, and those shy little animals are total joy-givers.

Image credits: James Vreeland via Instagram


  1. Bored guy in quarantine builds a restaurant for the squirrels in his yard.Upworthy. Robin Zlotnick. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  2. A man built a tiny picnic table for squirrels in his garden after losing his job, and now it’s become a full-time business.” Insider. Anneta Konstantinides. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  3. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic Staff. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  4. James Vreeland. Instagram.