Visions for Vacancies: What Should Replace Cherry Martini?

Former restaurant space begs for new development in fledgling Cherry Hill Village district. What should go in its space?

Tucked away from the busy Ford Road and Michigan Avenue corridors in Canton is Cherry Hill Village, a downtown-like district that has seen its share of development woes, despite its vibrant community of vintage-style homes and theater district. 

One of the cornerstones of the still-underdeveloped district was Cherry Martini, an upscale bar that now sits vacant. 

The stalled development of Cherry Hill Village is starting to turn the page with independent businesses opening doors in the area's retail district. The Cherry Martini location is in a prime spot in the district and the right type of business could help make Cherry Hill Village the destination it was intended to be and spur other nearby development.

What would you like to see?

Do you want to see a retail spot, another restaurant or bar? Let us know in the comments!

Know about a vacancy in Plymouth or Canton you would like to see featured? Please tell us in the comments.

Cathy Donaldson September 10, 2012 at 07:39 PM
There have been 2 occasions this summer where I was in that area with my daughter and grandson..the theater, and the doctor's office. Both times we thought it would have been nice to have lunch there also, but there isn't really any family friendly restaurant there. So, we headed back towards Ford rd. I would suggest a restaurant, not another coffee shop or bar.
John McKay (Editor) September 10, 2012 at 08:12 PM
The area just got a coffee shop a few months back - the Village Coffeehouse - and it's pretty fantastic. I was chatting with the owner of that shop last week and we were saying if there was a destination restaurant in the area that would help populate the area and make people want to walk around and hang out in that area, that could be a huge boost. I'm not so certain about the chains that Meredith had mentioned... if one can get the same products along Ford Road, it eliminates the incentive to go to the downtown-like atmosphere of Cherry Hill Village. But if a cool new lunch spot could open in one of the smaller vacant spots (think Simple Sandwich in downtown Plymouth) that you can't find on the main drag of town, that could be an asset. Because I live in Plymouth, I'm using that as a point of reference, but I can picture that area with some nicer restaurants with patio dining and a few casual eateries along the way that are more family friendly, and maybe a bakery and/or deli. I think in order for any one place to thrive in CHV, there needs to be a handful of destination spots in the district to add some pedestrian traffic.
Jerry Grady September 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
There is a great Store that serves awesome food that just open there as well. Right around the corner from Cold Stone. Great Sandwiches, Salads and the like. Fat Chef in a Little Coat.
Jen September 12, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Yes, definately agreeing with most of these comments - a "destination restaurant", something unique, yet not too expensive - and family friendly is a must! However, should also serve alchohol - to appeal to all. Post office, Sec of State, or similar services, I totally agree would draw traffic there to boost area business as well, but we need the coffee shop, the market, the deli AND the bar/restaurant to support it too. I think the Fat Chef is helping a lot to fill that void - with their market, and the food is great. Also, one thing that I always "hear" (dang rumor mill) is that the Cherry Martini could never have a full food menu because with the residences above it, city code restricts those spaces from having a kitchen. Wondering if anyone can confirm or debunk that rumor? I'm assuming (and hoping) this is not true since this question is being brought up? Oh, also - any restaurant down there NEEDS to have outdoor seating as well... that is my 2 cents!
Wendy September 12, 2012 at 03:10 PM
You need to have a family friendly restaurant, food, beer, wine. I would love to see a place like Palermo's open up in CHV with outdoor seating. We are new residents to CHV and I know we would frequent a place where we could take the kids, pizza, or a good burger. Jen, I have heard the same thing about the residential dwellings above the former Cherry Martini and the limitations for food preparations due to safety factors and needing to vent any type of oven/cooktop. Probably another reason why the building is having problems attracting a business.
Kirsten September 12, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Definitely a family friendly restaurant with a liquor license. It would be so nice to go to dinner without having to get in the car.
CHV Resident Evil September 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I asked the township that question (I forget the name and title of the woman - it was a couple of years ago). Simply put, it was not specifically the township's fault that they could not serve food. She explained it that it was due to the building not being able to support the equipment and there were no code or ordinance restrictions that would have prohibited it. In other words, if there was a business willing to put the necessary equipment in, the township would have not stood in the way.
Kelley Wegner September 12, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Agree, family friendly restaurant or quick food... Such as Qudoba, Subway, Jimmy Johns, etc.
Tim Johnson September 12, 2012 at 06:30 PM
The cherry martini location is the perfect spot for a pub. If they served burgers, sandwiches and aired local sports games I think it could be a nice gathering spot. However, if CHV was to have a micro brewery and restaurant (not in the retail area) it could bring in visitors from all over. Perhaps the location on the south west corner of cherry hill and ridge where the abandoned building is. It's nice that these business's keep slowly developing but in order to make a larger impact we need two or three restaurants to open up at once, creating awareness that CHV is a thriving community. .
Mike September 12, 2012 at 07:45 PM
This is an interesting question. There are several calls for a destination restaurant, but I'm not sure it's so easy to create something like that. Wasn't the Cherry Martini supposed to be a destination spot? John McKay mentioned the good restaurants in Plymouth, but I think they mainly exist/thrive because there's already traffic there. Downtown Plymouth is a traffic hub and I don't think CHV will ever be that way because it's on the outskirts. Maybe someday it could be once the area west of CHV is developed, but that's a long way off. The other issue CHV has is that there is no space for any anchor store or business. Small businesses can thrive in spots where they can leech (in a good way) off traffic to bigger attractions where people feel they have to go. The theater was supposed to fill that role, but it just doesn't generate enough traffic. I like the idea put forth for something like a SOS or post office. A post office isn't going to happen there and a SOS probably won't either, but I like the idea of creating a need for people to go to CHV.
Mike September 12, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Problem with the quick food type of places you suggest is they can only survive if there is prexisting traffic. They are not destinations and the housing in CHV is not enough to support those types of places.
Mike September 12, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I just read through the comments again and was shocked about the structural limitations of having food in the CH storefronts. That's a HUGE miss and mistake by the developers. So how's this as an alternative - Raze the buildings at the NE corner of Ridge & Cherry Hill, leaving the theater intact. That would take down all the store fronts and apartments above, the vast majority of are, and have been, vacant for years. Sure that's expensive and drastic, but big deal since the current state will likely remain a loser given the current constaints. In its place you could build something with larger and more usable retail/commercial space that could support businesses with better chances of becoming destinations. How about putting something like a Nino Salvaggio on that block? Or maybe an actual brewery with beer made on site? That's more attractive than just a pub. A Planet Fitness? Once an anchor or two are in place then you can infill with your Subways & Qdobas.
John McKay (Editor) September 12, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I think it can work both ways, depending on the area. If you look at an area such as Clarkston, it never had a terribly vibrant downtown (at least nothing that really stood out), but if you go there on any night nowadays, it's packed with people trying to get into the Union and Union Woodshop. If there's a unique place like that, or Slow's (which reinvigorated a dead area of Detroit), I think people will make the trip, hang out while waiting for a spot and walk around the area. There's certainly residents living in that area now, there just needs to be a must-go amenity. A brewpub would be a huge attraction.
Kellen Walters September 13, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I think there should be a boutique bake shoppe located somewhere there. Canton is lacking that special spot that offers authentic and unique baked goods. I know this local Canton business called Cookies by Caitlin. She does the Canton Farmers Market on Sundays. She specializes in unique cookies as well as bake cupcakes. I love the look of her website. Check out the website. www.cookiesbycaitlin.com We (Cherry Hill Village and Canton) needs something like this. Not any commercial retailers. Keep it local and authentic.
CHV Resident Evil September 13, 2012 at 05:21 PM
What do you do with the people who live in those apartments? The Uptown Apartments are usually nearly 100% rented.
CHV Resident Evil September 13, 2012 at 05:22 PM
CHV lacks sufficient parking. I've hear complaints of people that they've come down to CHV and couldn't find a reasonable place to park and drove back to Ford road. The business aspect of CHV was very poorly planned. It will be hard to get it to prosper without changing something.
Cathy Donaldson September 13, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Trying to keep the area local and authentic sounds nice, but isn't working. In reality, they need something on a larger scale to draw people into the area, such as a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods...although I don't see that happening. Just having 2 or 3 small shops is not enough to attract lots of people. With the medical offices in the area, it would be a good idea to have a restaurant for people to eat before or after appointments, or for the people who work their to go during their lunch breaks. It is such a cute area, but a major draw is needed to get people heading out that way.
Mike September 13, 2012 at 06:57 PM
CHV Resident Evil-That's news to me. I just assumed the occupancy rate of the apartments above match the stores below. And I agree with your statement elsewhere in this thread about a lack of parking. Planning was poor and the infrastructure is just not set up to support strong businesses. That is what was behind my suggestion to raze. They need to essentially start over in one form or another. I admit razing is drastic, but something structural needs to be done - even if it's just finding a spot for a small parking garage and/or reconfiguring some of the apartment and store space.
Mike September 13, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Yep - Cathy gets it!
Wendy September 14, 2012 at 02:29 AM
I think another great opportunity could be a yoga place, we really do not have one in Canton, and that would require a minimal investment....too bad I'm not a yoga teacher :)
Kathleen September 18, 2012 at 02:04 AM
I've lived in the neighborhood 9 yrs now. I think it really needs a family-friendly pub with some tv's for sports. It would be successful if it could turn into a kind of neighborhood hangout. Doesn't have to be an extensive menu at all. I like the idea of a microbrewery too. I'm picturing a place like amici's pizza & living room in Berkley or shorts brewery in bellaire....something like that would work well!
Sara October 03, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I see a few good ideas here. I think it would be great if a Trader Joe's could go in on the corner of Cherry hill and Denton as an anchor and a micro brew on another of the currently empty lots. Then the rest of the currently empty retail buildings could fill up with a bakery, and other speciality shops.
Jane Doe October 03, 2012 at 04:56 PM
So to summarize, what would be great is a microbrewery that is also family friendly and has TVs for sports, plus outdoor seating (perhaps facing the farmland to the west to take advantage of what would be Canton's ONLY outdoor seating not facing a busy street or parking lot.) We need something that is unique (otherwise, why wouldn't everyone else just go to Ford Road), yet accommodating to all patrons (lunch workers, dinner families, pub-atmosphere for the nighttime.) We should probably just start a community, non-profit business, like the Green Bay Packers, and just build it ourselves! ;-)
John McKay (Editor) October 03, 2012 at 08:05 PM
I would love another microbrewery in the area.
Bill Hue October 03, 2012 at 09:04 PM
There's plenty of people living in the area, and not a lot of stores nearby. We don't need restaurants, coffeeshops and bars, we need a party store, a Subway, another hair salon, another doctor office (within the main strip), etc - Things that local people in the community are going to use often, and which aren't likely to go out of business within a few years.
Bill Hue October 03, 2012 at 09:06 PM
CHV has plenty of parking. I always see parallel spots open, and there is plenty of parking behind the stores.
Bill Hue October 03, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I should clarify, since any functioning shopping district has restaurants. The restaurants, coffeeshops and bars should come as a result of these other businesses being there and consumer demand necessitating them. Restaurants and bars will not draw people to the area if there is nothing else there.
CHV Resident Evil October 04, 2012 at 12:44 AM
That's because there are few businesses in CHV. Back when there were more businesses here, you had a difficult time finding parking close. I had friends tell me they couldn't find anything close and went over to Ford Rd. Also, the owner of the building where Cold Stone and Fat Chef are stated that he has a hard time getting businesses to rent in the building because of the lack of easy parking. Canton approved the rezoning of the dilapidated house next to Cold Stone to allow a parking lot to be added behind it. There was a lot of unhappy CHV home owners about it. So, I guess he never put it in.
Perry October 30, 2012 at 12:01 PM
If CHV can pull something together it would also give us Superior twp residents only a mile or two to travel instead of always heading to Ford road. It would also make moving to Superior twp more attractive also. Even though we all love the rural look here in Superior twp we have no local business to frequent. it would be a win win for everyone. just one mans opinion.
Chrissy Hughes December 31, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I echo some of the sentiments made about a specialty restaurant such as Amici's Pizza & Livingroom... Slows BBQ. Being a new CHV resident, my family and I all loved our old neighborhood which had Amici's. I also feel it must be a novel place that appeals to the majority demographic which was mentioned; younger to middle-age families with children. A microbrewery, something similar to WAB/ROB could be a nice asset. Now my wheels are turning. As mentioned by most of you, it is imperative that it is unique. The proper brand identity would be crucial.


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