Knight's Steakhouse owners want to expand prepared foods business on Miller Avenue
The owners submitted a site plan to the city of Ann Arbor asking to rezone a portion of property on Spring Street off Miller Avenue — the property bordering Knight’s Market — in order to convert an existing residence into a commercial kitchen.
The kitchen would be used to make prepared foods that would be sold out of the decades-old market, which has been in the Knight family since 1952.
Lizzy Alfs | AnnArbor.com
Lizzy Alfs | AnnArbor.com
The family owns several parcels near the Miller and Spring Street intersection, including a vacant lot, two residential homes and the market property.
The plan, said Don Knight, would be to convert the house adjacent to the market at 306 Spring Street into a commercial kitchen after rezoning the property from R2A, two-family dwelling, to C-1, Local Business. The house is currently being rented.
“We want to utilize that property to prepare ready-to-eat foods that we can sell at Knight’s Market,” he said. “We’d probably make some things [on Spring Street] that we do at the restaurant, like soups, salads and bakery goods.”
Knight said that although some prepared foods and bakery items are currently made at the Ann Arbor restaurant, located at 2324 Dexter Ave., they are too busy to keep up with all the demand. There is an additional restaurant location in Jackson that opened in 2001.
“We’re busier than ever,” he said. “We just can’t produce enough at the restaurant to satisfy all the needs at the market.”
The plans also include landscaping improvements and an addition to the market that would replace a trailer that holds all of the hanging beef.
“The city would love for us to get rid of [the trailer] because it’s an eyesore, and we’d like to get rid of it, too,” he said.
He added: “We’d like to build a permanent structure that would do the same thing.”
In September, the family held a citizens participation meeting for the plans, and Knight said the project was well received among neighbors. The architect for the project is Dick Fry of Ann Arbor-based Fry Architecture.
Knight said they plan to keep the vacant parcel on the property zoned R2A in order to build “some sort of living space” in the future, such as a duplex or home. No changes are proposed for the other residential home on the property, which is located at 308 Spring St.
If the project receives approval, Knight said it will require extensive renovations to convert the house at 306 Spring St. into a commercial kitchen.
“It will be quite the project,” he said.