EAST LANSING — Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales will soon set up shop in downtown East Lansing.
The full-service restaurant and brewery officially committed to be in the city’s Center City District development project on March 22 and is expected to open before Sept. 1.
“We’ve wanted a location in East Lansing for some time, and it was really about finding the right location for us and the right time,” said Megan Worden. She is marketing and community outreach director for Northern United Brewing Co., which Jolly Pumpkin is a part of. “With the Center City District development opening up, it really was a perfect fit for us, and we’re excited about the opportunity.”
The new Jolly Pumpkin location will face Albert Avenue and hold around 200 indoor seats and 50 outdoor seats, Worden said. It’ll include a large bar with more than 30 taps, including sours, non-sours and ciders. Craft cocktails will also be on Jolly Pumpkin’s menu.
It will join Target, Foster Coffee Co. and Barrio Tacos in the ongoing development project.
Worden said Northern United Brewing Co. has scoped East Lansing locations for years, but a big push for the Center City District location comes from Northern United Brewing Co. CEO Tony Grant, a former MSU football player and MSU alumnus.
“Tony is really passionate about this project and thinks it’s a great fit for our brand and for East Lansing, so we’re excited about it and think it will bring a fun new place to East Lansing,” Worden said.
The Center City District project, a $125 million development sandwiched between Grand River Avenue and Albert Avenue, includes 11 stories of young-adult housing, four stories of parking and five stories on top of the parking dedicated to housing for residents ages 55 or older, in addition to retail spaces on the street level.
“I think when you look at where it’s going to go, you’re creating a restaurant and entertainment corridor with what that area can become,” said Steve Willobee, vice president of government affairs and public relations for Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors.
Harbor Bay, headquartered in Northville, Illinois, is a development firm with projects throughout the U.S. The Center City District project is its first in East Lansing.
“We think there’s going to be a multi-generational draw with the varying ages within the project itself and also with the type of restaurant experience that Jolly Pumpkin offers,” Willobee said. “It’s a tenant that appeals to everyone, not just a particular type of demographic.”
Final designs for the East Lansing spot aren’t finalized, but Willobee said he doesn’t expect that process to take too long.
Each Jolly Pumpkin plays into the overall “fun and funky” brand, Worden said, but each restaurant also has its own unique look and feel.
Jolly Pumpkin currently has pubs in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Detroit, Dexter, Grand Rapids, Royal Oak and Traverse City. Additional locations are in the works in Dearborn and the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.
Willobee said Jolly Pumpkin’s intent to take root in East Lansing could create a more robust downtown.
“It’s all about making the right experience,” Willobee said. “We want to take what is already special to East Lansing and the university and the existing businesses and try to complement that, so ultimately it creates that draw. We have the chance to do that here.”