Exclusive: Downtown Royal Oak Draws Four Restaurants, Including B Spot Burgers


tFour new restaurants are coming to downtown Royal Oak, including a B Spot Burgers by Iron Chef Michael Symon, a coffee and sandwich shop, an eatery called Iron Horse that will offer pizza, ribs, and tacos, and a Spanish themed pastry shop.

t"Downtown Royal Oak has been steadily growing because you have a very walkable and desirable environment, and you have great community leaders,” says John Hanna, principal of Hanna Development and Management in Royal Oak. The company owns the Washington Square Building, The Fifth, a hi-rise residential structure along Washington Avenue, among other interests.

tHanna, along with Paul Jackman, executive chef of D’Amato’s and Goodnite Gracie, this fall plan to open Iron Horse, a 58-seat eatery on Fourth Street located immediately east of the Royal Oak Music Theatre that will offer pizza, ribs, tacos, and other fare (the establishment will have a bistro license). “The Iron Horse name is a reference to the trains that come through the downtown district on a daily basis,” Hanna says.

tIn January, Hanna plans to open a coffee and sandwich shop at the southeast corner of Main and Fourth Street that most recently was occupied by a Caribou Coffee. “We don’t have a name for the space yet, but we will offer great coffee, a light menu with sandwiches and fresh juices, and the windows will open so you can capture the vibe and excitement of the city,” Hanna says.

tMeanwhile, the former Gemmayze restaurant space on the west side of Main, between Third and Fourth, will in the fall be home to a B Spot Burgers by Cleveland-based Michael Symon Restaurant Group. In June, Symon, who also operates Roast inside the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit hotel in downtown Detroit, opened a B Spot Burgers outlet in Rochester Hills.

tIn the coming months, the former Footprints stores at 115 S. Main will be converted into La Dulce, a Spanish-themed coffee, chocolate, and pastry shop. It joins several new restaurants in the downtown district in recent months, including Bistro 82 and Sabrage at Fourth and Lafayette; Trattoria Da Luigi on Washington, just south of Fourth; 212 on Fifth Street, just east of Washington; and Ale Mary’s on Main, between Third and Fourth.

t“More and more, people are attracted to an urban environment, and with I-75 and I-696 offering easy access to downtown Royal Oak, you’re seeing more interest here,” says Don Nahat, president of Huntington Real Estate Group in Royal Oak. “The downtown area is surrounded by wealth, and you’re seeing more professional office tenants coming in.”

tIn recent weeks, Huntington has signed leases at the former Citizens Bank building at Third and Center streets, a three-story structure that has been vacant for several years. Factory Detroit, an ad agency, recently moved into the second floor, while RBC Wealth Management, a division of the Royal Bank of Canada, took over the third floor. Nahat hopes to add a restaurant on the first floor and lower level of the building.

tIn turn, the Teftsis family, which operates Astoria Bakery on Main, just north of Fourth, has acquired the property at 218 S. Main, which was home to two drive-thru bank teller windows along with a large surface parking lot. Tasso Teftsis says the site will be redeveloped into a mixed-use project.

tIN RELATED NEWS, the city has selected a development team for the long vacant parcel at I-696 and Woodward. Plans include office, residential, and retail spaces, including the possible North American headquarters of India-based Tata Technologies, which has offices in Novi and Troy.

tBy the end of the year, the development team of Schostak Brothers & Co. in Livonia, Versa Development in Southfield, and CG Emerson Real Estate Group in Royal Oak must negotiate a formal development agreement for the 4.2-acre parcel.