Everyone has one. You can find one in every city. You know the place. The one you gravitate to at the end of the day. The place you gather with your friends for the big game. That place that usually finishes the sentence “Meet you at…” The local bar. That staple of American culture.
Yet the times they are a changin’. Those places reminiscent of the old television show “Cheers” seem to be fading. Fewer and fewer people have a corner bar they can call their own. Local pubs are on the decline across the ocean as well, and many are in search of that place “where everyone knows your name.” Mid- Michiganders searching for that neighborhood completeness need not search any longer. The Corner Bar & Grill is your watering hole destination and more.
“OUR APPROACH IS, YOU EAT WITH YOUR EYES BEFORE YOUR MOUTH.”
– JUSTIN KNIGHT
Opened in Fenton in 2015, the Corner Bar & Grill embraces its rock ’n’ roll gastropub description. A term coined in the early 1990s, the true gastropub essence is focused on craft beers, handcrafted drinks and incredible food. All three aspects make this local bar the hottest spot in town seven days a week. Owner Justin Knight along with his wife, Liz, knew right away that Fenton was the perfect location for something fresh and new like the Corner Bar & Grill. Justin Knight was certain that the key to appeal was relying on the visual experience for the customers. From the ambiance to the menu selections, it was going to be a “love at first sight” type of vibe.
“Our approach is, you eat with your eyes before your mouth,” he says. The goal was to create a place that was cool and hip, something Knight feels is lacking in abundance in the area. Both Justin and Liz felt confident that the location and the city were the perfect place to open a neighborhood bar. Knight isn’t shy about saying he has taken inspiration from bars across the country that impressed him with their originality and individual touches.
“The inspiration for the JCB Burger came from a bar in Denver called My Brother’s Bar! I love the flavor and knew it needed to be on our menu,” he says. The bison burger comes with jalapeño cream cheese. Knight also notes that after 25 years in the bar business, he knows that it takes more than just serving drinks and food to make an impression on customers. It’s really about creating an experience.
What separates the Corner Bar & Grill (CBG) from the pack is the approach to the menu. “We are raising the bar on bar food,” chef Justin Trombley explains. A graduate of the Art Institute of Michigan and a foodie since childhood with a grandfather who spawned his love of cooking, Trombley has taken the average to amazing. With picks ranging from an appetizer of Parmesan Crusted Feta Dip to an entrée of Black Sabbath Salmon, Trombley has created a unique array of delectable dishes that mirror high-end eateries more closely than traditional bar food selections. As for launching a new menu in October, Trombley states he was looking to develop new tastes while keeping the regular favorites a staple. The culinary selections aren’t overly vast, but they’re deliciously distinctive.
Trombley states the thought is “Do what you do great, not everything just okay.” What also sets CBG apart is a commitment to following suit with the true “local” neighborhood image in using locally owned meat suppliers, breads from Detroit bakers and produce from locals found at the Eastern Market in Detroit. Trombley feels a welcomed comfort to continually explore new ways to keep raising the level of the dining experience without losing the comfort of the atmosphere he and Knight have created at CBG.
Aside from the menu, CBG offers other touches to set it apart from the norm. The award-winning weekend brunch dubbed Bedhead Brunch as a nod to a “come as you are” mood is not a usual find for most bars. Its spectacular start to the day menu it makes CBG the perfect place to kick off your day rather than just end it. The ability to take the bar atmosphere to your home or a business gathering with both takeout and catering options is another bonus. Still, Knight keeps with those usual rule-of-thumb bar standards by providing incredible live entertainment from DJs and karaoke and showcasing bands such as WestFall. Regulars will tell you there is really no need to go anywhere else. With all the success, it’s easy to wonder whether the future will see additional locations.
“I think it’s important to keep the beauty that is the corner bar. Expansion maybe, but if anything it would be something else with a different concept and not a duplication,” Knight states.
CBG has established itself as Fenton’s choice for quick drinks, celebration dinners and nights out. That place you call “your place.” The one where you feel at home and with friends. That place with amazing food and great rock ’n’ roll. Places like CBG give a neighborhood or community a sense of completeness. All the elements are there. The priority lies in making every detail matter: how customers are treated, the decor and pictures on the walls, the range of beers and spirits offered, the presentation of the food and even the volume at which music is played.
Corner Bar & Grill is truly a sensory experience, right in your neighborhood waiting to enjoy.
ACOUSTIC MUSIC THURSDAYS – KARAOKE EVERY OTHER FRIDAY – LIVE MUSIC SATURDAYS
FOR A FULL LINEUP VISIT CBGFENTON.COM OR FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK
VISIT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BAR AT 4015 OWEN ROAD IN FENTON, OR PLACE YOUR TAKEOUT ORDER AT 810-354-8808.