This former brewery at 24409 Jefferson Ave. is planned to become a second location of Dragonmead Brewery, to be called Dragon Landing.

This former brewery at 24409 Jefferson Ave. is planned to become a second location of Dragonmead Brewery, to be called Dragon Landing.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

Renovations coming to St. Clair Shores restaurants and breweries

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 27, 2019 | Updated June 28, 2019 2:36pm


ST. CLAIR SHORES — City Council took action on a number of site plans for local businesses, including breweries and restaurants, for improvements ranging from new operations to exterior renovations.

G. Willie’s, 31230 Harper Ave., will undergo a change in menu and theme, reopening after July 4 as a Mexican cantina restaurant.

Barry Ludvigson, representing H & L Corp., was before City Council June 17 for approval of the liquor license transfer. He said that the G. Willie’s name may be reincarnated somewhere else later, but that the plan is to change the restaurant into a Mexican cantina right now. There was no word on a new name for the restaurant. City Council unanimously approved the transfer.

Dragonmead Microbrewery CEO Spencer Channel was in front of City Council the same night requesting a new microbrewery with on-site tasting room permit for Dragon Landing by Dragonmead, to be located at 24409 Jefferson Ave.

Dragonmead Microbrewery’s original location is at 14600 11 Mile Road in Warren. Channel said that the company is opening a second facility — a brewery with another taproom — in St. Clair Shores.

“We’re working on painting the place up, getting ready to serve the community,” he said. “We’re hoping (by the) end of August.”

Parking lot repairs will be the responsibility of the property owner, but Channel’s company will have to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals to have the requirement for a 6-foot privacy wall between the property and the neighboring residential area waived.

“The residents surrounding it don’t want that wall,” Channel said. “They like access from the back parking lot and I like them to be happy.”

The city received letters of support from the owners of Jamex Brewing Co. and Baffing Brewing for Dragon Landing.

“It’s awesome to see the support the St. Clair Shores brewing community shows each other,” said City Councilwoman Candice Rusie. “We know their product and they’re vouching for yours, and that’s awesome.”

“We’re not competitors,” Channel said. “We’re all acts in the same show.”

City Council unanimously approved the microbrewery.

At the same meeting, Baffin Brewing co-owners Joe VanderMarliere and Evan Feringa were before City Council to request a new tasting room at 25113 Jefferson Ave. for a small distillery.

“It’s in the same room. In the eyes of the law, they see the brewery separate to the distillery,” explained Feringa.

Baffin will be distilling gin and vodka, he said.

Councilman John Caron told the co-owners that he appreciates everything they are doing for the area.

“You made a great establishment there (and) now going into more craft,” he said.

City Council unanimously approved the resolution for the distillery tasting room.

Ryan Balicki, a co-owner of Copper Hop Brewing Co., was before City Council June 17 for site plan approval of an outdoor seating area and overhead garage-style doors for the business, which is hoping to open in the former Vitamin Village space at 23401 Greater Mack Ave. by Nov. 1.

Balicki said that the company has received all of its approvals for brewing operations, but the outdoor seating area was an oversight on the original building plan.

In making a motion for the plan’s approval, Councilman Peter Rubino said that he thought it “looks great.”

“I think it’s really going to add to the new downtown,” he added.

The motion was approved unanimously.

A new pub will be going in the former Tudge’s Pub location at 22512 Greater Mack Ave. Representatives for Z’s Pub were before City Council for site plan approval of exterior renovations to the building.

Andrew Danaher, with Stucky Vitale Architects, said that the building is being expanded and will have a new exterior finish. The plan was approved unanimously.

Finally, Danaher brought an exterior site plan approval forward for Shores Inn, 23410 Greater Mack Ave., which would remove the outdoor seating area and replace it with a permanent four-season addition with glass overhead doors that could be opened in the warmer months. City Council unanimously approved the plan.

“This is a great agenda tonight. You see new businesses want to come in, you see existing businesses want to invest,” Rusie said.