A sign for the revitalized Major Magic’s location on Groesbeck Highway was erected at the beginning of 2020. It will join some other new businesses on the corridor.

A sign for the revitalized Major Magic’s location on Groesbeck Highway was erected at the beginning of 2020. It will join some other new businesses on the corridor.

Photo by Jon Malavolti

Major Magic’s, seafood and Mexican fare highlight updated Groesbeck business scene

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published January 21, 2020


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — A trio of upcoming dining and entertainment options on the Groesbeck corridor are making waves.

It started with a Jan. 2 Facebook post published by Sparks Pinball Museum, in Chesterfield Township. The “major” announcement involved the collaboration with a local franchisee, Dennis McDonell, to reincarnate the popular entertainment venue Major Magic’s.

The old Riviera restaurant site, located on Groesbeck Highway south of 15 Mile Road, will be repurposed after sitting vacant for years.

Sparks said they will provide classic pinball and video arcade games, many of which were located in some of the original Major Magic’s locations around the metro Detroit area. Familiar characters — such as Sergeant Pepperoni, Flash, Barbara Stringband, Rock the Croc and the Major himself — will return as animatronic characters.

“At a time when Chuck E. Cheese has announced its plan to remove all animatronic characters from their locations, this new location will feature the original restored animatronic band from 1982,” the post stated. “This vintage band was saved from the last Major Magic’s location in Ohio before it was destroyed.”

Neither Sparks nor McDonell could be reached for comment by press time.

The evolution has taken place for about the past year, Clinton Township Building Department Superintendent Barry Miller said. The sign for the building was signed off on Jan. 3. At press time, he said the township was waiting for approval from the Macomb County Health Department.

Another addition to the Groesbeck corridor, north of 15 Mile Road, will be Captain D’s — a fast casual seafood establishment that offers what the business calls “high-quality seafood at affordable prices.”

They are taking over a shop formerly belonging to Dunkin’ Donuts, which Miller estimated had been vacant since about 2005.

Miller said a permit was issued around the beginning of this calendar year for the Nashville-based company.

Other than some landscaping work, Miller said the majority of the business change will involve interior alterations.

“That building’s been vacant for a really long time. … They’re going to dress it up a little bit and make it their own,” Miller said.

Township Planning Director Bruce Thompson said the changes basically only required building permits due to renovations essentially occurring on the buildings’ insides. There was no major change in use, he said.


Checking off the boxes
Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said the township is “thrilled” that McDonnell took an older building and put a lot of work and money into it.

As for Captain D’s, he anticipated it would be “an outstanding location” that is expected to spur a future location in the metro area — possibly even a second location in Clinton Township.

Phil Russo, vice president of real estate for Captain D’s, said via email that the business was founded in Nashville in 1969. It currently has more than 530 locations in 22 states, with Michigan joining Utah as being home to new establishments this calendar year.

Russo said Clinton Township’s population density, median income and median age “all met or exceeded” the aspired criteria. The market is not oversaturated with limited-service restaurants, he added, and direct seafood competition is minimal.

Meeting with township officials and learning about what Russo termed the “planned revitalization” of Groesbeck “further confirmed” the company’s decision to open in the township.

“Clinton Township met many of our key demographic criteria and was pre-identified when optimizing the market in early 2018, well before the franchisee, Kirit Patel, signed his franchise development agreement with us,” Russo said.

The conversion process began the second week of December in 2019, Russo said. It’s expected to be complete in March, with a grand opening to follow that same month.

Another restaurant opening soon is Taqueria Mi Pueblo. Cannon said the goal is to open the Mexican restaurant on the site of the former Pogo’s bar near Cass Avenue, by Cinco de Mayo.

The gas station next to the future restaurant was vacant for a number of years, torn down and the property was remediated. With a new restaurant, Cannon hopes the empty lot next door “will be much more desirable” to a potential future business establishment.