37ºF

Birmingham staple Hunter House Hamburgers to remain open for now

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. – Hunter House Hamburgers has been in the same spot on Woodward Avenue in Birmingham since 1952.

When plans to demolish the restaurant emerged in early January, replacing it with a large mixed-use building, the community started speaking out.

"We've been coming here our whole lives," said resident Lyn Connelly.

For residents of Birmingham, it's more than just a burger place.

Lyn Connelly had burgers and fries with her son, Barry Connelly, before he goes back to college. The family has been coming to Hunter House Hamburgers for year.

"We came here after all baseball, football games," Lyn Connelly said.

"It's always been a part of my childhood," said Barry Connelly. "I came here riding bikes to grab a burger with friends."

The proposal is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of loyal customers. Dr. Hesham Gayar, of Grand Blanc, has the deed to the property. Gayar wants to build a five-story hotel with a new Hunter House Hamburgers on the ground floor.

"The future is a giant question mark," said Hunter House Hamburgers owner Kelly Cobb.

It was Cobb's grandparents' restaurant and he has the property rights in a contract with the deed holder. Birmingham's planning board has put the project on hold, and Cobb has a lot of questions about the project.

"What I do know is there is nothing more important to us than having community staples and places the community values," Cobb said. "We've been here for 67 years. No matter what happens, the Hunter House isn't going anywhere."