A former downtown restaurant of long-standing which closed in February will re-open next year with a new name and an entirely new format and theme. The Brighton City Council Thursday night approved a downtown redevelopment liquor license for the former Yum Yum Tree, which will become a Mexican eatery called El Arbol.

The restaurant at West Main and St. Paul streets was a Brighton landmark for over three decades with its homey style, signature sandwiches, premium ice cream and miniature electric train which ran on a track above the customers. It was purchased recently by Corrigan Construction Co. under a Limited Liability corporation called 140 West Main LLC. Steve Pilon, who owns the Wooden Spoon, tells WHMI he will co-own the building with his daughter, Lauren, who will be the general manager.

The application by Corrigan indicates the company will spend over $200,000 to renovate the building and – between its investment and Pilon’s own money, around $320,000 is expected to be spent in renovating the building. Pilon plans on having several types of tacos, about 20 types of salsas made in-house, along with carne assada and carnitas, plus margaritas, high-end tequila, beer and wine.

The bistro will seat about 50 and will have a carry-out window on the St. Paul side. Pilon recently signed a lease for the property and plans to open it in time for St. Patrick’s Day activities next March. The liquor license application must go before the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for final approval. (TT)