By Lara Mossa, The Oakland Press
LAKE ORION >> Plans have been approved for a Lockhart’s BBQ, a new restaurant and bar that will be built in the village hall and could be open by the end of the year. The Lake Orion Village Council unanimously approved the proposal to sell the village hall and redevelop the site.
Lake Orion solicited proposals for the property in January and received one bid from Drew Ciora, who lives in Lake Orion, and has opened six restaurants since 1993, all in historic buildings. He is the sole owner or partner in the Royal Oak Brewery in Royal Oak; Detroit Beer Co. in downtown Detroit; and Lockhart’s BBQ in Royal Oak; and previously was a partner in the Rochester Mills Beer Co. in Rochester.
Ciora will pay $525,000 for the building and could spend nearly $2 million on the total project with renovations to begin this fall.
“I think the new business will really change the dynamics of downtown by adding a destination attraction for people in our community and throughout Metro Detroit,” said Suzanne Perreault, executive director of the Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority. “We’re really looking forward to working with them and seeing the renovation of this historic building as well. We’re pretty excited about this opportunity for our downtown.”
The village — working with the DDA — requested proposals that would keep and incorporate the historic characteristics of the village hall, which was built in 1990. The two-floor building has 3,444 square feet on the first floor and 1,900 square feet on the second floor.
Over the years, the building has housed a fire hall as well as the village offices and the police station.
Ciora’s conceptual drawings would keep the brick arches in front of the building and create patio seating outside along with a full bar and dining room inside.
The Lake Orion Lockhart’s will have a bigger, more diverse menu than the one in Royal Oak.
The proposal stated the restaurant will serve smoked brisket, pork, ribs, chicken, sausage and other items as well as appetizers, salads, desserts and offer a children’s menu.