A new dining establishment coming to downtown Howell has generated a social media buzz with its decision to seek a liquor license and the owner is answering critics.

M. Street Baking Company is moving into the building previously occupied by Mexicalli Allies on North Michigan Avenue. Company owners Nancy, Emily, and Stephanie Mazaris have sold their baked goods at the Howell farmer’s market for the last two years, but plan to expand their business in its permanent home.

Earlier this week, Howell City Council recommended approving a liquor license for the establishment, which is required in the company’s submittal to the state. Social media responded to news of the local approval, with many users asking why a bakery needs a liquor license. Stephanie Mazaris says the license is necessary as M. Street Baking Co. is both a store-front bakery and a restaurant. The bakery will host events like cupcakes and cocktails and the restaurant will sell alcoholic beverages if the Michigan Liquor Control Commission approves their application.

Social media comments were also directed at the Mazaris’ relationship to Adam Merkel, who owns several restaurants in downtown Howell. Nancy Mazaris is Merkel’s mother, and Stephanie and Emily are his sisters. Users suggested Merkel owned M Street Baking Co., calling it another “Merkel establishment”. Stephanie Mazaris provided clarity, stating that M. Street Baking Co. and its building is not owned by Merkel, nor has it ever been.

At a Downtown Development Authority Meeting Wednesday, Director Cathleen Edgerly said the city welcomes developments that diversify downtown. She says officials are excited to see the business's contribution to the community.

Extensive building renovations have set the project timeline back, but Mazaris says they hope to open by the end of the year. This coming weekend is the last for the Howell farmer’s market this season, so Mazaris says anyone with questions can contact M. Street Baking Co. via Facebook or phone. (DK)