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Lockhart's Would Bring In-House BBQ to Fenton

Fenton Fire Hall selection committee conducted interview Tuesday.

Barbecue would be the name of the game for Drew Ciora and Rick Ghersi if they were to open a restaurant in the Fenton Fire Hall.

Their Royal Oak-based eatery, , was named not for the proprietors, but for a town in Texas that is famous for its smoked meats. The restaurant has wooden tables set around an open kitchen.

“Everything is made in-house with smoke,” Ciora said. “About 80 percent are recipes my mom and grandma used.”

Dry-rubbed pork and beef ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken, all smoked over Michigan oak and hickory in a smoker imported from Texas, headlines the menu, costing between $12 and $14 for dinner. Four housemade barbecue sauces are on the tables and so is a jar of pickles.

The business also focuses on bringing in Michigan craft beers on tap.

Ghersi said the old Fenton Fire Hall would be similar to their other projects with the Royal Oak Brewery and Detroit Beer Company. He said the owners have plenty of experience rehabbing old buildings.

"We are part of the neighborhood. We are neighborhood-friendly and family-friendly," Ciora said.

The Lockhart’s BBQ proposal included plans for an “old firehouse” concept restaurant. The proposal listed a budget of $750,000 and plans to use only the first floor with some outdoor seating and perhaps some deck spaces.

The owners said contruction could be completed in four to five months.

The interview process

The selection committee consists of DDA director Michael Burns, DDA member Tom Bertschy, City Manager Lynn Markland, DDA Vice Chairman Jim Saule and DDA member Doug James, similar to the group that previously selected .

Interviews will began at 11 a.m. Tuesday. After, a financial analysis of the final candidates will be conducted that may take up to 30 days to complete. A recommendation from the committee will then be made to the full DDA Board for approval. The schedule for interviews is as follows:

  • 11 a.m. with the owners of Lockhart BBQ, the Detroit Beer Company and Royal Oak Brewing Company.
  • 12 p.m. with the owners of Tavern 131 and Ciao Amici.
  • 1:45 p.m. with the owners of Arbor Brewing Company.
  • 2:45 p.m. with the owners of Union Joints (Clarkston Union and Union Woodshop).

Read about the other old Fenton Fire Hall interviews on Fenton Patch.

The Fire Hall Selection Committee hopes to narrow the list of finalists following the interviews Tuesday afternoon.

The group hopes to have decisions finalized by the DDA meeting on June 19.

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