Ford’s Garage, a budding burger-and-craft-beer franchise best known for its vintage garage- and prohibition area-themed restaurants, is expanding its Motor City footprint.
With one restaurant already open and operating in Dearborn, Ford’s Garage recently signed an agreement with existing franchise partner Billy Downs for the development of four new restaurants throughout the metro area. Though leases have yet to be signed, site selection has begun, and Downs says he’s “eyeing all the areas where there’s restaurant synergy.”
When it’s all said and done, the four new restaurants combined will occupy approximately 30,000 square feet of real estate and create approximately 400 new local jobs.
“With people ready to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror, they’re ready to get out. They’re looking for entertainment. They’re looking for some great food and great energy in a restaurant that is comfortable, unpretentious and unique to the casual dining space,” says Downs. “As it turns out, the Ford Motor Company’s rich history as one of America’s most important manufacturing companies also translates to a pretty cool dining experience. I’m excited to be bringing more of the Ford’s Garage experience to Detroit.”
Founded in 2012 near Henry Ford’s winter home in Fort Myers, Florida, Ford’s Garage has a unique licensing agreement with the Ford Motor Company, enabling them to use the company’s iconic blue-oval logo and other brand imagery.
Each restaurant gives the vibe of being in a 1920’s service station and/or prohibition bar. Model Ts and Model As hang above the bar. Servers sport blue mechanic shirts. Blue shop cloths double as napkins. The bathroom sinks are made from tires and fuel pump nozzles. Even the bars inside the restaurants are decidedly vintage, mixing prohibition-style elements like brick, richly colored woods, and a copper bar top that’s hammered by hand.
Aside from all the nostalgia, Ford’s Garage is a good old fashioned burger and beer joint, too.
Burgers are the main draw, black angus beef (and a vegetarian option) coupled with all-natural aged cheeses, fresh toppings, and sauces on artisan buns branded with the Ford’s Garage logo. The restaurants also specialize in popular American comfort food options like homemade meatloaf, chicken wings and tenders, onion rings, and macaroni and cheese. Lighter fare such as fresh salads, grilled chicken, and various seafood options are also available.
The bars highlight over 100 types of beer including 40 on draft, with an emphasis on local microbreweries, which vary from one location to another. The restaurants also serve wine, cocktails and nonalcoholic options.
“Ford’s Garage has proven itself a turnkey operation that will be a popular dining out choice in any neighborhood,” says Ford’s Garage Vice President of Business Development & Franchise Relations Scott Estes. “We’re thankful for franchise partners like Billy, and look forward to serving up even more burgers and beers in the Detroit area with a side of automotive history.”
The announced expansion is part of a broader growth initiative that expects to see the 17-unit chain – all of which are operated by franchisees – open 8-10 restaurants nationwide by the end of this year. The company already has additional development deals in place including restaurants in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, and Kentucky.