Downtown Dexter will have a new restaurant to add to its growing list of eateries with the opening of Dexter's Coney Island this month.
The restaurant, which occupies the space formally known as , opened its doors on Sept. 1.
Owner Jim Cacini of South Lyon purchased the property from Loreen McCalla earlier this summer and plans to add his unique take on Greek and American cuisine to the restaurant's menu.
"I had no idea it was up for sale," Cacini said. "I just happened to be driving through Dexter on my way to Ann Arbor one day and I fell in love with the community."
Cacini said before purchasing the restaurant, he and his son Jim, a part-time firefighter for Salem Township, considered opening a business in Ann Arbor to help supplement Jim's income.
"We met with the owners of Loreen's and decided that it was too good to pass up in Dexter," he said.
Cacini has owned and operated restaurants throughout Southeast Michigan since 1976, most recently in Dearborn, Howell, and Livonia.
While plans are already underway to improve the restaurant's menu — including the addition of Greek salads, gyros, and daily homemade specials — Cacini said he has no plans to change the building's interior decor.
"It's going to stay the way it looks," he said. "I've heard that some people complain about the overtly patriotic theme, but I have three kids and I know you can't please everyone."
The staff, for the most part, has also remained the same.
One new addition includes plans to extend the restaurant's hours to accommodate evening traffic. Dexter's Coney Island will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
"The hours may change depending on the customers," Cacini said. "After a few months, we'll start asking around to see if its worth staying open later."
Since taking ownership of the building, Cacini said he has had a steady flow of customers despite a recent notice from the village to remove his flashing neon "open" sign and neon trim around the windows.
"It's not like I'm a Vegas casino," he said. "Removing my sign will hurt business."
Allison Bishop, community development director, said the restaurant's sign is in violation of the village's sign ordinance, which does not permit "blinking, flashing, or fluttering lights ... which have a changing light intensity." Signs with flashing, intermittent or moving lights and revolving parts are also prohibited.
Bishop said Cacini is allowed to keep his sign as long as its in compliance with the ordinance.
"Our ordinance is aimed at equity for all of our businesses," she said.
Cacini said he has removed the neon trim, but plans to appeal the violation to the village council.
"The sign is inside my business. I don't understand why I'm being told to take it down," he said.
Dexter's Coney Island is located at 8124 Main St. in Dexter.