WRITER | BARBARA WACKER
PHOTOS | SCOTT LANE AND SEAN DENVER
I love quaint downtowns. I love the walkability. I love the sense of community. Add to that an incredible restaurant, and you have the perfect combination for an evening out.
Such is the Fenton Fire Hall Kitchen and Taproom. Sitting just outside the heart of downtown Fenton, adjoining a park complete with waterfall, is where you will find the Fire Hall. The Fenton Fire Hall started life as an actual fire station in the 1930s, and its first life is still evident. From the fire truck doors to the bell tower, the owners, the Union Joints chain, have preserved its original history as an homage to the brave men and women who served from the station. The City of Fenton’s Downtown Development Authority wanted to make sure the building was preserved and used effectively, and that vision has been successfully implemented. Repurposing, upcycling, and recycling are not just buzz words to the Fire Hall owners – they are the purposeful direction used to bring the original fire hall to its current glory. The owners have even taken the extra step to honor Fenton’s current volunteer firefighters with individual portraits.
The Fire Hall mainstays are created for the BBQ aficionado. From the moment you enter the restaurant, you are aware of the wood-fired pit. Pork, beef, steak, chicken – all are cooked on the open pit fire. Being true carnivores, we tried the pulled pork sandwich — spicy and amazing, the meatloaf sandwich — my husband is still raving about the glaze, and the ribs – tender to the point of falling off the bone. Not to be outshone are the side dishes: the famous Union mac & cheese, sweet mash, and green bean casserole. The menu also includes Fire Hall chili — a fire station must — with options for veggie lovers. This is a casual spot, perfect for a fun night out with friends, a couple’s getaway, or dinner for families with children. The atmosphere is energetic; the restaurant is an open concept but does include one special table in the bell tower.
I admit that I am not a beer drinker. I often fall for the appeal of a Short’s Strawberry Short’s Cake or Neapolitan only to find that they do not taste like cake or ice cream. But, with 48 beers on tap, beer lovers will find a wide array of tasty brews. With options like Keweenaw Widow Maker, Cheboygan Blueberry Crème Ale, and I love quaint downtowns. I love the walkability. I love the sense of community. Add to that an incredible restaurant, and you have the perfect combination for an evening out.
While our dinners were delicious and the wait staff perfectly accommodating, dessert scored highest on my list. I admit I am still 12 at heart, so the ice cream made from Faygo Redpop was a smash hit. Redpop churned with liquid nitrogen is chemistry at its best. Add some pop rocks and any 12-year-old is in heaven. Other tempting sweets include decadent peanut butter icebox pie, brownie pot pie, and a variety of Pumphouse custards made with liquid nitrogen. Dessert can be ordered in the restaurant or from the sweet ice cream stand out back. Ice cream and a walk around the park and downtown was the perfect finish to our evening.
The Fenton Fire Hall is open for dinner all week and for lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Weather permitting, there is seating outside and on the rooftop deck. The deck is currently serving drinks and appetizers and provides a stunning view of the park and downtown area.
There will be a wait, but it is fully worth the time investment. Take a short walk around the park or enjoy a cocktail and app on the deck – this Fenton gem is worth it.
Fenton Fire Hall Fenton | (810) 936-0442 l FentonFireHall.com