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More outdoor seating, mini golf course planned for Nautical Mile

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 29, 2015

 Renovations at Pegasus Taverna include demolition of the building to its north to make room for more parking, outdoor seating, new bathrooms and more.

Renovations at Pegasus Taverna include demolition of the building to its north to make room for more parking, outdoor seating, new bathrooms and more.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES —It’s well past the time for spring cleaning, but summer seems to be the season for businesses on the Nautical Mile to make plans for improvements.

Several restaurants located on Jefferson Avenue along the Nautical Mile appeared before City Council July 20, asking for site plan approval for additions, outdoor seating and other renovations to their eateries.

Proprietors of Detroit’s Finest Coney Island, 25801 Jefferson Avenue, went before council looking for approval for a plan to add an outdoor seating area.

The restaurant underwent major renovations about 18 months ago, and since the business is doing well, the owners wanted to add eight four-top tables on a stamped concrete patio out front to be used from May to October. The patio is planned to be surrounded by concrete columns to match the design of the building.

Representing the restaurant, Tony Bellestri told City Council that they also just purchased the building to the north of Detroit’s Finest Coney Island to accommodate future expansion plans and more parking.

He said the restaurant sign would be moved, there would be landscaping added and the tables would be shaded by umbrellas.

“We’re going to be supporting the north end,” he said. “We’re going to make it very nice.”

He said they hope to install the footings for the cement patio soon and have the patio complete within two months.

“I love the idea of having more outdoor seating on Jefferson. I think it looks great,” said Councilman Peter Rubino. “You can see people on the avenue. It’s just a much softer, friendlier feel.”

City Council approved the plans 6-0, with Councilman John Caron excused absent, but even with an approved plan, the business has to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals to have the outdoor seating and a setback variance approved.

Down the road at Pegasus Taverna, big plans for renovation will include demolition of the building on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and 10 Mile Road, which used to be occupied by Gifts Afloat, to make way for new indoor and outdoor seating at the Greek restaurant, located at 24935 Jefferson Ave.

The plan proposes to create indoor and outdoor seating on the property formerly occupied by a storefront, with the outdoor seating encompassed by an aluminum fence with brick columns that will match the building. An addition on the west side of the building will house new bathrooms, a new entryway, new landscaping and a new sign. The parking lots will also be reconfigured and a brick kneewall is planned to go along the property line on 10 Mile Road.

Tim Flintoff, with Stucky Vitale Architects, said they will also be relocating the bar inside the restaurant and incorporating the Nautical Mile sign on the corner of 10 Mile and Jefferson into the restaurant’s exterior decor and branding.

Owner Jim Papas said they wanted to get started on the work right away, perhaps beginning construction in the early fall. He said they are trying to “maximize that corner” and make it a nice entrance to the Nautical Mile.

Mayor Kip Walby said the plans looked beautiful.

“That’s exciting to see that on 10 Mile and Jefferson,” he said.

City Council unanimously approved the Pegasus Taverna plans July 20, as well. The designs also need ZBA approval for parking and setback variances.

Big plans are in place at Mike’s on the Water, as well.

Owner Mike LeFevre was at the July 20 council meeting asking for approval to enlarge the kitchen of his restaurant and convert an attached former canvas and awning shop into a banquet facility and nautical-themed nine-hole miniature golf course.

“My business has grown to a lot of people,” he said. “I need an expansion for my kitchen. The building next to me is a beat up old storage building. It’s dilapidated. I want to take it over and make it an exciting project.”

LeFevre told council members that he turns down requests from large parties on a regular basis and would love to give them a place to go.

“We need energy on the Nautical Mile. We need to make it a destination,” he said. “I want to make it a wow factor.”

Rubino said he supported the move because, even though Mike’s on the Water is a seasonal business, it is known throughout metro Detroit. Councilman Ron Frederick agreed.

“Thanks for, once again, for using that visionary power that only you have for that building,” Frederick said.

LeFevre said he plans to work on the kitchen expansion immediately and will work through the winter to create the golf course and banquet facility. He hopes to have those two projects done by May 2016. The plan was unanimously approved. The ZBA will review the proposal for an indoor golf course and exterior materials.


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