Adam Merkel continues to invest and demonstrate faith in downtown Howell.
The owner of Diamonds Steak & Seafood and Mr. B’s Rustic Tavern on Wednesday confirmed that he plans on opening two more restaurants in the city.
Merkel will open The Silver Pig, 102 S. Michigan Ave., early this summer, just behind Mr. B’s in the space formerly occupied by The Candy Bar. Construction is expected to begin this month and take between 60 days and 90 days to complete.
Merkel also will open a new Italian restaurant shortly after he unveils The Silver Pig to the public. He plans on announcing the location of the Italian restaurant May 10.
“Our team has, literally, been working around the clock developing the new concepts and testing recipes,” Merkel said. “We’ve spent a lot of time on research trips across the country.
“It just kind of ties in with the goal in the beginning to make downtown Howell known as a top destination,” he added.
The Silver Pig will offer brick-oven pizza and fresh oysters shucked to order and flown in daily from the East and West coasts as well as other parts of the United States and Canada.
The restaurant also will offer a variety of shareable appetizers and made-from-scratch bar snacks. A welcome area with an 8-foot-by-6-foot reclaimed barn-wood door that will slide on an iron track will connect The Silver Pig and Mr. B’s.
The Silver Pig will have a bar with seating for 24 and tables around the perimeter.
A metal silver piggy bank that Merkel once emptied in a Kroger coin machine to buy groceries for his family will hang above the bar. Merkel named the restaurant after the piggy bank.
“This will be a place for patrons to bring a small group to enjoy great pizza and a cocktail and also a spot with a really creative and innovative beverage program, which would include craft cocktails, squeezing all of our own juices and incorporating fresh herbs — things that haven’t made their way to Howell just yet,” Merkel said.
Diamonds and Mr. B’s will remain open. Merkel recently hired Tim Kenrick as director of operations to oversee the project management teams. Kenrick is a former district partner with Bravo and Brio, steak and Italian restaurants, respectively.
The Silver Pig will have up to 25 employees. Mr. B’s currently employs 50 and Diamonds has some 40 employees. Merkel expects to have more than 100 employees by the time he opens the Italian restaurant.
Merkel’s restaurants now have more than 10,000 Facebook followers. More than 500 people began following The Silver Pig in less than five hours Wednesday.
“We’re thrilled and honored with the outpouring of support that the community continues to give us,” Merkel said. “We’re really excited to show them what we’re working on.”
Pat Convery, president of the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce, praised Merkel’s investment plans.
“This is another example of how great things are happening in downtown Howell,” Convery said. “I look forward to the opening of The Silver Pig and all it will have to offer both residents and visitors alike.
“It’s hard to resist Italian food,” she added. “I know that Adam is generating mouth-watering interest and expectations with his promise of a modern Italian restaurant. We’re all anxious to hear where it will be located and when it will open.”
By Noe Hernandez, Livingston Daily, April 13, 2016