Almont Village officials have announced that an A&W restaurant will soon be built on property located in front of Vinckier Foods on the east side of Van Dyke (M-53).
The project was proposed by business owner Mike Vinckier, who owns the supermarket and gas station located behind the proposed restaurant.
Almont Village Clerk/Treasurer Kim Keesler reported that Almont Planning Commissioners approved a site plan for the project on Thursday.
She noted that the site plan was unanimously approved, subject to certain contingencies.
They include: completion of an engineering review; a plan for parking lot lighting; specifics related to landscaping; and increasing building setback requirements from 18 feet to 20 feet, per village ordinance.
Keesler said original construction plans for the 2,400-square-foot restaurant included an east-to-west drive-thru, which has been changed to a north-to-south drive-thru with access off Research Drive.
Mike Vinckier said ground was broken at the site this week, with the new restaurant scheduled to open to the public in the spring 2018.
"I grew up in Yale, where there was and still is an A&W restaurant," Vinckier said. "We had been looking at other franchises, but decided to go with A&W.
"Their focus is on good, all-American food for families," he continued. "We feel A&W was the perfect fit for us — and for the community."
When completed, the new eatery will feature seating for 52 people, along with 39 parking spaces.
Vinckier said there remains another 2.5 acres of property available at the location for future development.
For future development of the site, Vinckier hopes to work with MDOT (Michigan Dept. of Transportation) to allow motorists to access the business off of Van Dyke (M-53).
"I'm really excited about an A&W coming to town," Keesler said. "I think it's a great idea and should be well-received.
"It will be nice to have a new restaurant in the community that is unique to our area."
In addition to Yale, an A&W restaurant operated for many years at the northeast corner of M-53 and M-21 in Imlay City.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.