Paint Creek Cider Mill opens year-round, with vintage feel

By Allen Jordan

Apple cider and hot doughnuts are usually considered seasonal treats appropriate for only the fall and winter.

Paint Creek Cider Mill’s new resident, Ed Granchi, is looking to change tradition at the Oakland Township staple, bringing a little of his past to the future of the community favorite.

“Being here is a bit nostalgic for me,” Ed said. “Coming here as a child when it got cold for cider and donuts with family and friends never got old.”

For the first time in its history, Paint Creek will now be open year-round, seven days a week thanks to Ed and his wife Kristen signing an extension to their previous lease back in October.

“It is a pleasure working with my husband,” Kristen said. “He has so many fantastic ideas from all his years in the food service industry and even though we both have experience in restaurants, his is what makes this place run.”

 

Meet the new neighbors

Ed, who is from the small area between Rochester and Lake Orion, is big on tradition and family values in a community small enough to build one of its own.

A photo posted next to the entrance of the cider mill shows a family standing in front of the Mill in 1980. There’s a dad, sister, grandpa and mom holding a baby boy —  Ed Granchi.

When the time came for the historic site’s new occupancy, Ed thought back to his childhood and immediately jumped at the need to once again be a part of it.

“When the opportunity arose for someone to oversee this place it was a no-brainer,”  Ed said.  “I felt if anyone was going to be involved with this place it should be someone who knows about its tradition and its meaning to this community.”

Ed is a Rochester High School graduate and has over 15 years of restaurant experience under his belt.

He has managed at both Mind Body & Spirits and Rochester Mills Beer Co. before purchasing Paint Creek Cider Mill back in October with his wife. After years of overseeing someone else’s business, he felt the need to branch out on his own.

“Being a manager was great because it gave me insight on how to run a business,” Ed said.  “But having the satisfaction to have my own and do things the way I want — there is nothing better.”

 

Time for a new look

After being closed for the winter, Paint Creek finally reopened its doors  March 1 with fresh ideas while preserving its traditional look.

Looking to showcase his love of barbecue, Ed has incorporated new items to a menu that normally consisted of cider, donuts and hot dogs.

One would be the apple cider BBQ sauce with the new homemade pulled-pork sandwich added to the menu.

While reintroducing the establishment to the residents of the area, the odd combination has taken off among customers.

“I was just messing around with how to include apple flavors into the menu and it kind of just happened,” Ed said. “It was like combining summer and winter, I figured with both of those being a favorite of mine what could go wrong, and luckily it came out great!”

The new menu also includes chicken wraps in BBQ, caesar and buffalo. Other items available are pizza, salads, chicken tenders, chili cheese fries, wings and pierogi.

The hot dogs have also changed, with customers now being able to purchase them plain, Coney-style, sauerkraut or chili-cheese.

This spring, Ed will add roadside BBQ to his menu, with items served off of a homemade smoker designed by him and his father.

Even with the menu changes and the acceptance of Ed into the community with the year-round opening of Paint Creek, there is one long-standing tradition he could never imagine changing.

“I wouldn’t dare think about getting rid of the cider and donuts,”  Ed said. “I will be introducing a cheesecake donut and also creating my own soda to be served on draft, just looking to stay creative.”

For more information about Paint Creek Cider Mill, visit www.paintcreekcidermill.org

 

Contact Staff Reporter Allen Jordan via email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @aj1218