Need another sign the Michigan economy is improving? Look no further: A beer lovers’ paradise has been approved to take over the long empty Citizen’s Bank building in downtown Royal Oak.

Jolly Pumpkin is set to open the fourth location in its Michigan-based chain of award-winning microbreweries, seasonal restaurants, wineries, and craft beer retail stores, at 218 S. Main Street in Royal Oak. Other locations are in Traverse City, Ann Arbor and Dexter.

“My investigation indicates the owners have operated … in a successful and responsible manner,” Royal Oak’s Lt. Thomas Goad said during the LCC meeting where licenses were  approved for the new venture.

The new Jolly Pumpkin will be located between Second and Third streets on the west side of Main, which previously held a Citizen’s Bank. It’s been vacant for six years.

Plans presented to the City Commission call for the new site to add 4,000 square feet to the existing building by encompassing the former bank drive through and parking lot. It will become a roughly 8,000 square foot establishment with two outdoor areas, including a 306-square-foot sidewalk cafe and a second patio at the back earmarked as an “outdoor urban garden.”

It would hold 379 people in the summer and 249 in the winter, including 20 bar seats and 229 table seats.

A retail area will sell the Jolly Pumpkin’s own microbrewed beer.

“At Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales we are dedicated to more than the traditions of old world craftsmanship,” the group’s website says. “Everything we do is designed to create ales of outstanding art and flavor. Focusing on traditional rustic country style beers brought to life through labor and love, we strive to create beers to lighten the spirit and soothe the soul.”

The menu includes fresh seasonal items, plus “hearth baked pizzas and gourmet salads topped with native meats, cheeses, and vegetarian suited alternatives,” per the website.

Plans call for the Royal Oak location to open in fall 2012. Greg Lobdell and Jon Carlson, owner of nearby Bastone, will act as operational general manager and general contractor on the project.


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