Elizabeth Perk set for spring opening

Photo by James Mitchell The Hayes family stands ready to welcome Trenton residents back to a park-side landmark with the opening of Elizabeth Perk. Mark Hayes, Debbie Rote-Hayes and their children, Gavin and Charlotte, have been looking forward to this spring's opening since purchasing the former A & W building in 2013.

Photo by James Mitchell
The Hayes family stands ready to welcome Trenton residents back to a park-side landmark with the opening of Elizabeth Perk. Mark Hayes, Debbie Rote-Hayes and their children, Gavin and Charlotte, have been looking forward to this spring’s opening since purchasing the former A & W building in 2013.

By JAMES MITCHELL

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — From the traffic that’s flowed in and out of the shop in recent weeks, Elizabeth Perk may as well be open.

“So many people have been coming through,” co-owner Debbie Rote-Hayes said.

The coffee and ice cream parlor at 2975 W. Jefferson will officially open for business later this month, a day that Debbie and her husband, Mark, have looked forward to for more than two years.

Plans had stalled, Rote-Hayes said, with the birth of the couple’s second child, Charlotte, soon after they’d purchased the building in 2013. Rote-Hayes wasn’t able to pursue the paperwork chase on a full-time basis for a while, and the couple was committed to properly restoring the landmark former A&W building.

“We wanted to make sure we did it the way we wanted,” Rote-Hayes said.

Coffee for the shop will be from Ohio-based Crimson Cup, and Michigan ice cream from Northville-based Guernsey Farms. The decor is decidedly Trenton’s, including vintage photos from the 1940s and 1950s alongside an assortment of furnishings that Hayes hunted down one piece at a time at estate sales and auctions: an old-time trash can, stained-glass ceiling panels, and marble tables with cast-iron stands are among the treasures.

Hayes said the business may be in the blood — and he hopes to pass the enterprise on to Charlotte and brother Gavin — as his grandparents had operated an old-school ice cream parlor, Hayes Candy, in their native Detroit.

Rote-Hayes said they’re eager not only to start doing business but to get involved in the community as they had earlier this month when dishing out 500 scoops of ice cream at an Easter egg hunt. They plan to host special events, whether military appreciations or senior days in deference to a pair of elderly ladies who’d dropped by recently and shared memories of sipping root beer there decades earlier.

Training begins this week for the initial eight staffers, and a final inspection should complete the long-awaited process.

Elizabeth Perk’s menu includes coffees, lattes, cappuccinos and loose-leaf tea along with a variety of ice cream flavors and Faygo-based floats. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekends.

More information will be posted on Elizabeth Perk’s Facebook page.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

Photo courtesy Mark Hayes Back in 1946 employees Hattie Duich and Marie Bradshaw take a break outside the newly-opened A&W Restaurant, among the first in Michigan. Along with vintage furnishings, Elizabeth Perk's decorations include local photos of days gone by.

Photo courtesy Mark Hayes
Back in 1946 employees Hattie Duich and Marie Bradshaw take a break outside the newly-opened A&W Restaurant, among the first in Michigan. Along with vintage furnishings, Elizabeth Perk’s decorations include local photos of days gone by.