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Clarkston Union Owners Want to Serve Food Not Found Anywhere Else

Fenton Fire Hall selection committee conducted interview Tuesday.

Taking old buildings and turning them into destinations with great food worked for owners at the Clarkston Union and the Union Woodshop in Clarkston.

Now they hope to do the same thing for Fenton.

"We think there is no better way to preserve a great building than a restaurant that benefits the community," stated Curt Catallo, owner of Union Joints. "The best thing you can provide is something people can't get anywhere else."

He said the focus would be comfort food, that people would be familiar with, but still be surprised by.

The plans call for an open fire pit kitchen and 60 beers on tap visible through a glass window. The menu would include the Union’s famous macaroni and cheese, customized with bacon and other items. It also plans to enlist a Michigan brewer to create a Fenton Fire Hall Ale and perhaps create a Fenton Fire Hall Cider and Fenton Fire Hall BBQ sauce.

Catallo said his group has experience working with old buildings and turning them into restaurants, including the Vinsetta Garage in Detroit. He said he has plans for a patio on the roof of the building in Fenton, and a bar downstairs. Catallo said seating would be very communal. He said construction could be completed in six or seven months for $1.3 to $1.6 million.

He said he would also plan events for Fenton, including a firemen chili cookoff, something he might try to pitch to the Food Network.

“It is rare to find a building in a community that has what it takes to help build a community. The Fenton Firehouse is that kind of place,” stated Catallo. "You can get something out of an old building you can't build. That’s soul."

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, the Detroit Beer Company and Royal Oak Brewing Company.
  • 12 p.m. with the owners of and .
  • 1:45 p.m. with the owners of
  • 2:45 p.m. with the owners of Union Joints ().

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

The 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.

Webster May 24, 2012 at 03:48 PM
The Union Woodshop is a great community restaurant. They would be a perfect match for Fenton. I would like to see how any restaurant parking will impact the surrounding area.
Johnny BBQ May 24, 2012 at 11:48 PM
The Union concept is the better choice. Brew-pubs will never have a top-to-bottom knock out food menu not to mention the variety of drink options. It will appeal to all audiences and with the chef's touch, will stay fresh! All of Fenton's taste buds will be better served.
Mary Miettinen May 27, 2012 at 01:22 PM
This is just wonderful news for our community. I am so glad the building will be preserved. Thank you for this article.
PRO UNION June 12, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Curt & Ann would be the best choice for Fenton to make! They're local, family friendly, they give A LOT of community support and involvement, They keep that old school/ hometown charm with all of their businesses and have GREAT food! They also know how to bring people from far and wide to come visit their business (and even get featured on cable food networks!) This can only add up to nothing but good for Fenton , between notoriety, increased spending from out of town visitors and an increase in tax dollars. The choice should be simple! (If Fenton decides NOT to go with the Union family...That's fine by me, I still have them up the road here in Clarkston, which means I won't have a reason to go visit Fenton...Your loss, our gain!)

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