AUBURN HILLS — Restaurateur Patrick Elwell has opened his new Elwell Grill in Auburn HIlls at the northeast corner of Auburn and Squirrel Court.
Elwell’s history with Auburn Hills goes back nearly 50 years. He first purchased the building where the current restaurant stands in 1964, operating Stewart’s Diner for two years before remodeling and opening the doors as Shalea Inn. The name evolved into Patrick’s Shalea Inn and, in 1987, to Patrick’s. When Elwell retired in 2000, he retained ownership of the building but leased it to Kip Bourdeaux, who ran Bistro Bourdeaux for several years until its closure in 2009.
The building sat vacant for three years as the city sought a seasoned restaurant owner to take over the space. Ultimately, Elwell came out of retirement at age 75 to reignite his restaurant passion. The restaurant, which boasts a modern American menu in a cozy urban setting, had a soft opening in December and is now open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday, serving only dinner on Saturdays and closed on Sundays.
“I missed the people and I enjoy being back,” said Elwell. “I’ll work until I get tired of it and I don’t see that happening any time soon!”
Assistant City Manager Tom Tanghe, who is also executive director of the Auburn Hills Tax Increment Finance Authority, says Elwell Grill is not only a part of Auburn Hills’ history, it’s an example of the Tax Increment Finance Authority and the business community working together to bring more people into Downtown Auburn Hills.
“The main entrance of Elwell Grill was originally slated for the rear of the building, rather than on the main road – Auburn. Recognizing that the restaurant would be a greater part of the Downtown scene with a front entrance, the Tax Increment Finance Authority used its grant program to assist in funding additional windows and doors for the front of the building,” explained Tanghe. “With Elwell Grill now having a welcoming front entrance at pedestrian level, it has increased the restaurant’s prominence Downtown.”
“I have a good feeling about Auburn Hills. The city’s leaders through the years have done a nice job of planning for the future. They put their money where it matters most,” said Elwell.
“We have the streetscape in place. When the new graduate housing building opens across the street later this year, the entire vibe of the area will change. It’s going to be a blend of students, young adults, families and business people; Elwell Grill is going to make an important contribution to the transformation that is gaining momentum in Downtown Auburn Hills,” said Tanghe.
Elwell Grill was designed by Birmingham architect and restaurant designer, Ron Rea, along with accessorizing input from Patrick Elwell’s daughter, Kelly Talmers. Talmers co-manages the restaurant along with Maureen Hammond, a long-time Auburn Hills resident and Mayor Pro-Tem who also worked at Patrick’s as a teen.
Elwell Grill offers an American menu ranging from green salads and fresh fruit to sandwiches, chicken, fish and steaks with a twist, serving only top quality choice beef. The restaurant is located at 3315 Auburn Road and the phone number is 248.289.1817. For a complete history of Elwell Grill, the new menu, and hours of operation, visit http://www.elwellgrill.com/.