Machinery sits at the future site of Sylvan Table, 1819 Inver-ness St., near Sylvan Lake City Hall, Dec. 18.

Machinery sits at the future site of Sylvan Table, 1819 Inver-ness St., near Sylvan Lake City Hall, Dec. 18.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Restaurant development slated for lot near Sylvan lake City Hall

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 19, 2018

 The future restaurant will feature a garden in the back and outdoor seating, and is located in a C-1 Neighborhood Commercial zoning district.

The future restaurant will feature a garden in the back and outdoor seating, and is located in a C-1 Neighborhood Commercial zoning district.

Photo by Deb Jacques


SYLVAN LAKE — A new restaurant is coming to Sylvan Lake, and while many in the community look forward to pulling up a seat, some have lamented the loss of trees.

Sylvan Table, 1819 Inverness St., is currently in the process of being developed, which includes removing a large area of trees on the 4.5-acre property, which is across from Sylvan Lake City Hall.

Sylvan Lake City Manager John Martin said during a Nov. 14 meeting that it has been a “really, really busy month.”

“A lot of conversation when developers started clearing the property across from City Hall, mainly (about) where are all the animals going to go. And I get it — it’s a big shock to see that happen, even though the project itself had been talked about for a little over two years. When it finally happens and things are removed, it’s just a shock. I get it — so, removal of the ‘forest.’ I get it.”

The restaurant will feature a garden in the back and outdoor seating, and is located in a C-1 Neighborhood Commercial zoning district.

Earlier this year, the Planning Commission approved the development site plan and recommended for approval by the City Council a special land use for outdoor seating and the sale of alcohol.

Property owners Tim Ryan and Nicole Ryan could not be reached for comment by press time.

According to the minutes of the June 5 meeting, the Ryans said this establishment is a “great fit for the area.”

The planned hours of operation for the kitchen will be 4:30 p.m.-midnight Wednesdays through Sundays. Per the local noise ordinance, outdoor dining must close by 11 p.m.

Dan Wilson, a civil engineer for the Sylvan Table project, spoke for the Ryans during the meeting and said that they are very excited to be part of the community.

“It will be a gathering place with the pedestrian connection,” he said, according to city documents. “They are excited about the character of the development, the uniqueness of it and creativity of it. It has been a fun project to be a part of.”

Nicole Ryan said during the meeting that the establishment will be one of casual and fine dining.

“The plan is that everything grown on-site will be served at the table,” she said in the minutes.

Project architect John Gonzales explained during the meeting that the barn that will be home to the restaurant was built in 1730. It is in Maine and will be shipped in pieces to the city.

Zoning Board of Appeals approval for the height of the barn is needed.

According to the Planning Commission minutes, the location, size and intensity of the proposed use are compatible with nearby uses and the zoning of the property.

The property is located next to other commercial uses and is separated from the closest residential area by the Clinton River Trail, per the minutes.

The size and scale of the proposed building are also consistent with the size and configuration of the parcel, the minutes read. The proposed use also does not interfere with the natural environment or natural resources, and will add to the character of the area, according to the minutes, because it will utilize a relocated barn designed to fit into an almost-rural setting.

Also according to the minutes, any dead, dying or diseased plant material will be replaced as outlined in the zoning ordinance.

Martin said during a June City Council meeting that the City Council is the last step in the approval process for Sylvan Table.

Martin said that a couple of years ago, the City Council approved an ordinance that is “pretty limiting” on what someone can do when serving alcohol.

“(It’s) got to be a restaurant that serves alcohol, not a bar that serves food,” he said, adding that the application process for Sylvan Table was “quite extensive.”

He said it is important to make sure that businesses that come in meet all the special criteria for the sale of alcohol.

“They have to have high percentage of food sales versus alcohol (sales),” he said, adding that there was an extensive review by the City Council, himself, the Police Department and the city attorney. “They exceed all of the expectations and requirements to open this business.”

Mayor Pro Tem Luke Cassar said during that same meeting that the restaurant is “going to be a great asset to the city.”

“Something everyone is looking forward to, and we welcome them to the community,” he said.

Martin said during the November meeting that some people are “very passionate” in expressing their opinions of the demolition of the wooded area across from City Hall.

“I think we need to be reminded of a few things. One is that this whole area at one point was pretty much undeveloped and was all woods. Then it became more and more developed.”

Martin said that things are going to continue to change.

Sylvan Lake Mayor Aaron Lorenz said he is “very optimistic” about the restaurant that is going to be developed.

“There is going to be a real excellent addition to our city and a real success,” he said. “Probably many of us have heard it before — it is a farm-to-table concept. They are going to have gardens in the back area, and it is going to be a really splendid situation.”

Lorenz said that it will be  more than just a restaurant with an asphalt parking lot.

“So I am really looking forward to seeing this versus some of the other proposed developments that we have been submitted over the years,” he said.

Some of the proposed developments have included a self-storage facility, a discount mall and a multiunit living facility.

“We ... really feel great about the option that we ended up with, which was a restaurant specializing in some higher-end cuisine that is going to embrace the outdoors and gardens within our city.”   

Sylvan Lake historian Helen Jane Peters agrees and said in a phone interview that many in Sylvan Lake which are excited about the restaurant, will grow some of its own vegetables.

She has been a resident of the city her entire life.

“But this is the first one that will be a farm-to-table restaurant,” she said, adding that she will miss the plethora of trees that used to call 1819 Inverness St. home.

“Sylvan needs trees, so we want to preserve as many trees as we can, but they have in the last three to four weeks taken trees down,” she said of the new restaurant.