Ford House seeks Class C liquor license

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 1, 2019

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Visitors to the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores may soon be able to enjoy a cocktail as well as beer and wine at events at the historical estate.

A new restaurant is being constructed on the grounds as part of the new 40,000-square-foot visitors center, which was under construction at press time and is expected to open sometime in 2020. G. Hans Rentrop, an attorney representing the Ford House, appeared before the Shores City Council during a meeting Sept. 17, at which he was seeking the council’s approval of the estate’s request for a Class C liquor license from the state.

“This is in conjunction with improvements being made (on the property),” Rentrop said of the liquor license application.

Rentrop said the restaurant will be operated by a “very well-respected catering company.”

Since about 2010, the Ford House has had a tavern license, which allowed it to serve beer and wine at its former Cotswold Café restaurant in the old activities center building.

“We’ve had no problems with them” since they’ve had the tavern license, City Manager Mark Wollenweber said.

He said he was familiar with the catering company that the Ford House planned to use, and it was a reputable firm.

Because the grounds of the 87-acre Ford House parcel are home to a number of special events throughout the year, Ford House officials were seeking permission to have multiple locations on the property designated for liquor sales. Rentrop said they might need four to six locations for outdoor service, because the state considers each outdoor service area to be a “separate bar.”

Wollenweber said the city’s approval now would be better for the public safety director, who currently needs “to sign off every time they have an outdoor event” involving alcohol.

Rentrop said they weren’t seeking a cabaret license, only a Class C liquor license.

“Obviously, it’s not going to be a bar in the typical sense,” Rentrop said of the forthcoming new restaurant and outdoor service areas for food and beverages during special events.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the request, which will now be reviewed by the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.