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UPDATED: New Berkley Restaurant Will Feature Two Patios, Retail Space

Crispelli's will include a stone pizza oven, an in-house bakery and a deli bar; developer tells City Council he hopes the eatery will be the first of many in a chain fit to rival Panera Bread.

A new Berkley restaurant tentatively expected to open in January will include a stone pizza oven, an in-house bakery and retail space, a deli bar and two outdoor patios, thanks to a special land use permit that was granted Monday night.

The Berkley City Council approved the permit for Crispelli's, whose developers – Glen Willson and Mark Artinian – plan to add two outdoor patios at 28939 Woodward Ave.

Work already has begun on the building's interior and the restaurant's exterior will feature large windows, plants on the roof and awnings, City Planner Amy Vansen said.

One patio on the southeast side of the building "will be like an outdoor room," featuring a masonry wall covered by ivy, a fireplace and an awning, Vansen said. A second patio on the building's north side will be surrounded by a metal railing and feel "like an outdoor cafe," she said.

"The proposed patios will face Woodward, so there will be no impact on the residential properties abutting the subject property at rear," Vansen wrote in a memo to City Manager Jane Bais-DiSessa. During the council meeting, Vansen added that the restaurant will close at 10 p.m. and will not play music on the patios.

The Planning Commission held a public hearing on Willson's special land use permit application Sept. 27 and recommended its approval to the council. Property owners within 300 feet of the business were notified and no comments were received during the hearing.

While concern was expressed Monday about adequate parking, Willson said that the property has more than most on Woodward and he plans to work with nearby business owners to find a solution.

"Mr. Willson, thank you so much for investing your time and a considerable amount of your money in Berkley," Councilman Dan Benton said.

"This is the best location in Michigan, in my opinion," Willson responded. "Even in a recession, Woodward is busy.

"This will be the first of many Crispelli's," he said, adding that in 10 years time, he hopes the restaurant will have blossomed into a chain fit to rival Panera Bread.

"And we can all say we knew you when," Benton quipped, to laughter.

Willson said he expects the restaurant will have a soft opening in January, later than originally planned due to the discovery that a sprinkler system needs to be installed in the building.

Crispelli's will have 85 to 90 seats inside, approximately 50 seats outside and a retail space where people can buy items such as the restaurant's signature spaghetti sauce, olive oil and wine, Willson said. The restaurant will serve beer and wine, but no liquor.

"It's about 90 percent restaurant, 10 percent market," he said.

A special stone oven is being flown in from San Francisco to make thin-crust and deep-dish pizzas at the eatery, which also will have its own in-house bakery and deli bar, Willson said.

The deli bar will offer fresh Italian meats and cheeses, as well as corned beef and turkey, Artinian told Berkley Patch. He added that the restaurant's retail space will serve as a mini-gourmet, to-go market.

Willson said a breakfast menu will be added approximately six months after Crispelli's opens.

"We can hardly wait," Mayor Marilyn Stephan said.

"Neither can I or the bank," Willson replied.

Clarification: Crispelli's' deli bar will not serve products from Zingerman's. During his City Council presentation, Willson had referred to a "Zingerman's deli bar" at Crispelli's, but subsequently clarified that he meant his restaurant would have a deli bar styled after the Ann Arbor-based eatery's model. Zingerman's Marketing Manager Pete Sickman-Garner confirmed there is no relationship between the two businesses.

Jessica October 04, 2011 at 11:40 PM
Where would I go to apply?! I would love to be a part of this exciting new restaurant!
Virginia October 06, 2011 at 03:53 PM
This sounds good, so glad to see something going into that long-empty space!

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