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Dexter's Coney Island Opens in Former Lighthouse Restaurant

The new restaurant will replace Loreen's Village Cafe, and will include Greek and American food on the menu.

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.

Monica Cash February 13, 2013 at 01:33 PM
I used to eat there when it was Loreen's, it was a good place to eat. I gave this new restaurant the benefit of the doubt, and continued to order my favorite food to go(biscuits and gravy). The first few times it was good, then I ordered potatoes with it one day, and they were burnt, and I had to throw them away. I called to let them know that they were burnt. I recently ordered my favorite again, and when I opened the box the gravy was white like milk and runny. I could not eat my breakfast, and was at work so I called the restaurant the next morning...they put the owner on the phone, and he was extremely rude to me, he said that he knew that I was the one who complained about the potatoes, in case I thought he didn't know. He told me there was nothing wrong with the breakfast, it was me that was the problem! He also told me to come into the restaurant, order my favorite, and he would watch me eat it! I would advise anyone to keep going, and not to stop here. I will never frequent this place until it is sold to someone else! MC
steve March 17, 2013 at 05:46 AM
I am not a hunter, nor am I a gun lover. I dont think I should be nor would I want someone to tell me I cant be. If i dont like a restaurant, i dont go. Same applies to a grocery store, garage, dealership and any other venue. It is what makes america great not only does capitalism give the right to express yourself in any way imaginable, it gives others the choice to chose. So go to hell you rightous zeelots who feel they must chose for me as well as the liberals who feel they must protect me. I can think for myself, decide for myself and feel free in america to do for myself. I dont need either side to do it for me.
dexters March 22, 2013 at 02:35 AM
the staff at dexters coney island feel bad that you are unhappy with your service we tryed to correct your complants several times to your satisfaction sorry you remain unhappy with us..........
dexters April 27, 2013 at 01:15 AM
@gake i dont know who you are i have never spoken to you or anyone else about any women or my disrespect for them i work to hard to please my customers and to give them the kind of food they like i have no time for your nonsense i work 10hrs 7 days a week for my customers and i run a clean place anyone is more than welcome to look around ..... the only roach that has been in here is you.......
Pamela Herren September 05, 2013 at 09:41 AM
Dexter Coney Island is a joke. I worked there for 3 months and then my mother passed away in July and I went in 2 weeks later to get my pay and they said they didn't have enough money and to come back later. I went back a week later and then they told me they already paid me and then in the same breath said they have no records of me working. REALLY?? They offered their employees a free meal during their shift which I never took because I've seen how the food is handled, stored, etc. They smoke in the food area and never wash their hands. If the food is prepared wrong, its always the customers fault. Stay clear of the Dexter Coney Island.

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