There's a Donkey in East Hills selling tacos!
Well, at least there will be in November when Donkey, a new kind of taqueria, opens in what used to be a neighborhood gas station on the corner of Henry St. SE and Wealthy St. SE (665 Wealthy St. SE).
Donkey kicks up its heels just a stone's throw from The Winchester restaurant, owned by Paul Lee and his family, the main investors and idea-generators behind Donkey's concept.
"It's a taco shop, and we'll add a little bar element to it," Lee says. "It's going to be tacos, salsas, margaritas, and we'll have Spanish beers on tap. The taqueria is something that we don't really have in Grand Rapids, not like this. We want to put something in place that's very different than The Winchester and something unique for the city. We're taking a building that was existing and there wasn't much use for it anymore, and we're finding a new use for it."
While Lee doesn't open up much about what customers can expect when they walk in the door -- he wants them to have their own experience of the place -- he did divulge that the interior woodwork is crafted from reclaimed wood that came from four houses demolished a while ago in Detroit. The bar, created by Troy Bosworth of Studio Wise Design, will be one-of-a-kind and custom to the space.
Prior to the start of construction last December, environmental soil testing came back clean, despite years of having gas tanks sunk in the ground. The tanks were removed about 20 years ago. The soil wasn't conducive to compaction, so much of it was removed and replaced before work began, says Lee.
There's no onsite parking because the original gas station didn't need it, but there will be space for some 30 bicycles and seven new on-street automobile spaces.
Construction: McGraw Construction
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor