Aspen Restaurant is celebrating 20 years on Hall Road in Macomb Township.

Aspen Restaurant is celebrating 20 years on Hall Road in Macomb Township.

Photo by Dean Vaglia

Aspen celebrates 20 years after move to Macomb

By: Dean Vaglia | Macomb Chronicle | Published March 22, 2023

 Scott Pinter is the owner and chef of Aspen Restaurant.

Scott Pinter is the owner and chef of Aspen Restaurant.

Photo by Dean Vaglia

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — As Hall Road runs through the heart of Macomb County, one can find plenty of newly built buildings and land ready for development. But one M-59 staple is celebrating its second decade of business along the highway.

Located between Heydenreich and Romeo Plank roads on the Macomb Township side of Hall, restaurantgoers have known Aspen for its accommodating dining experience and classic American menu for decades.

“(It is) All-American cuisine,” said Scott Pinter, the owner and chef of Aspen Restaurant. “Steaks, chops, seafood, pasta. We’re a scratch kitchen, something that anybody can come in (wearing) a T-shirt and shorts and have dinner, or they can come in a suit and tie and have dinner.”

Aspen’s dedication to accommodating guests knows few bounds, with the same quality of service being given to whole parties down to the individual diner.

“If we had an elderly person, if they were not physically able to cut their food, we would cut their food for them so it’s a little bit easier,” said Jackie Orr, Aspen’s events coordinator. “So, that way guests aren’t having to cut their food and their food gets cold. Or kids’ meals are coming out first, so parents can get their kids situated before their meals are out.”

All of this is wrapped up in Aspen’s ski lodge aesthetic, a style aided by the wooded interior and ski racks beside the summertime patio.

But Aspen was not always the ski-themed restaurant it is known as today, nor was it even always a Macomb Township staple.

In the 1990s, Gar Wood’s Bayview Lodge served Harrison Township diners along the Lake St. Clair shoreline on Conger Bay Drive. Named after the early 20th century powerboat racer, boaters and other waterborne customers could pull into the bay and grab a bite to eat, and a patio gave land-based guests a lakeside view with their meals. While the views and ambiance of summertime dining were ideal, Pinter — a chef for Gar Wood’s at the time — says the pace of business throughout the year was not.

“It was ups and downs,” Pinter said. “Water levels were low. We realized that this would be more of a year-round business. Over there, it seemed to be really busy in the summer, and after the summer months, business was light except for maybe the holidays. But other than that, you had some pretty light months’ worth of business, and it was hard to put out a continuous product at that point.”

The seasonal nature of Gar Wood’s spurred the restaurant’s former owner to move the business away from the water and onto high-traffic Hall Road. He didn’t just move the ownership and staff — the Gar Wood’s building itself was moving, too.

“The building itself has a lot of value and character to it,” Pinter said.

And so, the building moved. The last meals were served at the waterfront site in October 2002, and once the building was cut into about 60 pieces, it was shipped over and reassembled board by board along Hall Road, opening under its new name on March 28, 2003.

Today, the cuts and joints of the move can still be seen on the walls, where they were reassembled piece by piece two decades ago. Once the restaurant was rebuilt, Pinter bought the restaurant and became its owner.

Aspen is celebrating its 20 years on Hall Road with specials throughout the week of the anniversary. The specials can be found on its Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages and on the restaurant’s website at