The Laundry celebrates 25 years in downtown Fenton, Michigan!
It was no small feat for the little bistro that opened back in 1997 in the small bedroom community of less than 12,000. Fenton has changed a lot since the 1990’s. Back then there was no real downtown to speak of. The main street was blocked by an urban renewal project from the 70’s gone wrong. There was no reason to go downtown. The Laundry took a chance and brought delicious, high quality, international food and drink to a downtown they believed in. Artisanal baked goods, fresh salads, outstanding cheeses, and a variety of delicious meats were the foundation that The Laundry was built on. It was opened in an old 1930’s laundromat on the corner of Shiawassee Avenue and Adelaide Street and broke every rule about where you should open a restaurant, yet from the first day there were customers lined up outside the door.
Fenton embraced the quirky little restaurant on the corner and even seemed to cheer her on, hoping that others would follow. And they did. Other great restaurants and retail shops came to downtown Fenton. The downtown was reorganized and city leaders eliminated the bad redevelopment of the late 70’s. Old buildings were rebuilt. Fenton’s downtown was blossoming into a little city.
The Laundry knew that its success relied on the success of Fenton. It helped to start community events that were missing from the town. Things like hometown 5k runs, “Taste” festivals of local restaurants, bike tours to tout local celebrities (did you know that the first woman to win the Tour de France was from Fenton, Michigan!) and French language movie series for free. If it was good for Fenton, The Laundry supported it – the local library, the public school system, public art, local charities, the chamber of commerce. It wasn’t just The Laundry though, many other local businesses did the same. Bolstering each other in their effort to support and improve their town. And that made all of the difference.
Fast forward to today and you’ll find a restaurant in a thriving downtown that is still known for its humble yet delicious artisanal sandwiches along with much more. There is a wonderful scratch kitchen that creates excellent dishes for brunch and dinner. The bar program creates innovative cocktails and touts an outstanding allocated whiskey list. It also has a hidden gem of a side door for all of your coffee beverages and housemade baked good needs. Things have surely come a long way. Cheers to 25 years!
“Over the last 25 years The Laundry has had the privilege of being included as one of the pivotal businesses in downtown Fenton and we look forward to many more at the corner of Shiawassee Ave. and Adelaide Street.” –Mark Hamel