Don’t be surprised to see parents in town trailing their toddlers to the brewery this spring — Ferndale Project’s new layout has a space just for them.
Ferndale Project, located on Livernois in Ferndale, opened its doors in February 2020, just before restaurants in Michigan were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The space was never fully finished in the way its creators wanted… until now, says managing partner and owner, Dayne Bartscht.
“It finally feels like we’re returning to some level of normalcy, so with the redesign we are making sure we’re a kid-friendly space and making sure we’re supporting families in Ferndale,” Bartscht says.
The taproom’s grand unveiling was Saturday, March 12, but no worries if your family missed it because the corner designed specifically for kids will open at the end of the month.
What to expect
Once complete, the redesign will feature a spot just for toddlers and children with bleacher-style seating, synthetic turf and a child-friendly gate.
“The ground will be AstroTurf, so they can fall and not get hurt,” Bartscht explains. “It’s got a gate around the outside, so it’s visible across the entire taproom, (and) you can experience the taproom while hanging with your kids.”
“The big thing for us is we are family-friendly,” he adds. “I have four kids and I know how it goes.”
Ferndale Project has a full kitchen with a special menu specifically designed for kids as well as house-made, caffeine-free soda. Many families in the area also requested vegan options for kids, too, so the menu has choices for every type of eater.
“The vegan grilled cheese in particular is surprisingly good,” Bartscht says. “That’s been a big hit — it’s so good that there are a lot of adults buying things off the kids menu, too.”
What is Ferndale Project?
Ferndale Project is part of the Eastern Market Brewing Company. Once the brewery in Eastern Market started gaining popularity, the owners needed another space to accommodate the crowds.
The building they found in Ferndale was a recently-closed brewery, so it was easy to move, but the space hadn’t felt quite like “Ferndale Project,” according to Bartscht. So, the company partnered with Five-eighths Architecture, a local design firm, to make the space their own.
“We try to keep business local whenever possible and this firm is run by some innovative, up-and-coming architects, and it aligns with how we operate,” he says. “Later this year, we’re expanding our taproom in Eastern Market, and we’ll be working with them on that, too.”
So far, the only feedback Bartscht has gotten from kids is from his own 5-year-old daughter, who is thrilled by the prospect of a kids play space.
“My oldest, she’s seen the progress,” he says. “She calls Eastern Market Brewery the ‘elephant brewery,’ and this is the ‘doughnut brewery’ because of a doughnut pop-up we did during the pandemic.”
“She’s very excited to see the space for the first time.”
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