Surfs up at Jolly Pumpkin's Longboard restaurant in Dearborn, opening Monday
The latest Jolly Pumpkin restaurant, opening next week in Dearborn, is the Longboard, an homage to Hawaii, tiki drinks, the West Coast and surf culture.
The 8,000-square-foot restaurant is decked out with Polynesian-influenced art, surfboards, tiki-style carvings and touches that other Jolly Pumpkins have like colorful glass light fixtures and lots and lots of beer taps.
Executive chef Dan Gawura says the menu blends Jolly Pumpkin staples with influences from Southern California, Hawaii, Philippines, Japan and elsewhere.
There's pub grub like truffle fries, Brussels sprouts and nachos, plus a burger, pizzas and a fried chicken sandwich. The theme comes in with mahi tacos, a Baja burrito, poke wrap and a longboard bowl with rice, kimchi and more, plus choice of protein like pulled, spiced chicken, smoked pork shoulder or seared sesame tofu.
"There's really nothing in town quite like this," said general manager John Elwell, who has a history with tropical-themed restaurants. He used to work at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and also has a marine biology degree.
"In the restaurant business you have to be different. You can't just be another burger joint or pizza place. Focusing on the whole West Coast culture with the California, Baja ... sprinkling in all the Hawaiian dishes that we're going to be serving, it's definitely something different that's not already here in town."
Items that are vegetarian or halal are clearly marked on the menu. Longboard also has a kids' menu with cheesy, easy-to-eat items.
The bar will serve Jolly Pumpkin ales and brews from North Peak Brewing Company. Cocktails are made with booze from Civilized and Old Mission Spirits.
The bar has two draft cocktails, two frozen and also a small menu of mocktails with no alcohol.
Elwell says Jolly Pumpkin founder Ron Jeffries and his wife Laurie Jeffries spend a lot of time the West Coast and Hawaii and he gave his input, as well as sending a chef to Hawaii for three weeks to do culinary research.
The restaurant is in Wagner Place, a new building owned by Ford, with entrances on Michigan and West Village. Guests are going to want to enter through the back where the host stand will be.
The colorful dining room seats more than 200 under two giant longboats hanging from the ceiling that are made out of beer kegs. There's a private dining room for special events, the bar seats 25 and next spring the plan is to have outdoor seating in both the front and the back. There's also talk of having fire pits and luaus on the back patio.
The Longboard by Jolly Pumpkin is at 21931 Michigan in Dearborn. Once open on Monday, hours will be 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat. and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays. They will be closed on Thanksgiving.
Walk-ins are welcome. Parties of six or more can make a reservation. (313) 914-4510 or longboardjp.com.