Wahlburgers closes, Italian restaurant in former HopCat space opens and more

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A barbecue chain is set to become the next restaurant along the M-59 corridor in Macomb County.

Florida-based Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill is slated to open Monday in the Shelby Corners shopping center in Utica. The restaurant, at 45001 Schoenherr Road, is the 62nd in the chain. The 250-seat eatery takes over from a TGI Fridays that closed in 2020. Smokey Bones has made a multi-million dollar investment into the space, according to a statement.

The menu features items such as rib tips, daily buy one, get one chicken wing specials and barbecue platters featuring ribs, brisket and pulled pork. Fully staffed, the Utica location will have more than 120 employees.

The restaurant will have a smaller dining room and a large bar area in the center of the space. It will also feature new decor, original art and a dedicated area with a separate entrance and to-go station for two delivery-only brands. Smokey Bones will also serve as a “ghost kitchen” for delivery-only brands Wings Experience and Burger Experience, which are available on third-party delivery services. They offer 50 flavors of wings and sandwiches including the Good Seed veggie burger, a green chile burger and a bacon cheeseburger.

The Utica location is the third in Michigan in addition to Grand Rapids and Lansing. It will operate 11 a.m.-1 a.m. daily.

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