Stockyard Handcrafted Goods is a family affair

Jun 8, 2016 at 1:00 am
Stockyard Handcrafted Goods is a family affair
Photo by Meghan Martini. Courtesy of Stockyard Handcrafted Goods.

Stockyard Handcrafted Goods quietly opened their doors for the first time Feb. 22. The family-owned restaurant had no grand opening celebration or special announcement to the public, yet the place has been packed since that winter day.

The bar and restaurant is owned by 25-year-old Robby Gjokaj, a lifelong resident of Lake Orion whose family owns and operates the Ox Bar and Grill in downtown Oxford.

"We all grew up in the restaurant industry," says general manager Pashka Micakaj. Gjokaj and Micakaj are cousins whose fathers first ran restaurants and then built them. Now the two, along with brothers, sisters, and other cousins, are working to make a new generation of restaurants successful.

In three shorts months, Stockyard has become popular among locals, attracting beer lovers with their impressively long tap list. The place boasts 100 craft taps and Micakaj says 90 percent of those are Michigan made.

"For beer lovers, it's the best place to go in Oakland County," she says.

And the love of craft extends far beyond the beer list here. In fact, the place got its name because everything from the beer to the food to the tables and chairs to the bar is handmade and sourced locally.

"The whole bar, the tables and chair — everything — was made by hand," Micakaj says. On top of that, the materials were sourced from salvage yards in Detroit where hardware, ironwork, and wood were purchased to create Stockyard's beautiful 161-seat interior.

The menu is crafted by executive chef Steve Crawford, who left Union Woodshop to help open Stockyard. He works diligently to ensure the ingredients for their barbecue, sandwiches, tacos, soups, and salads are bought locally.

With things solidified with the dinner menu, Micakaj says Crawford is working on lunch and brunch menus that will ensure Stockyard can open for business earlier in the day. As for now, it's dinner service only.

Behind the bar, manager Harmony Albright whips up special shrubs, infused moonshine, flavored bourbon, and craft cocktails. The craft cocktails menu has a 10 to 12 standard drinks and she constantly mixes up new ones.

"She's like a mad scientist behind the bar," Micakaj says of Albright.

With things moving in the right direction inside, Gjokaj and Micakaj are readying their outdoor seating area for a July 4 opening. The patio's aesthetic will contrast slightly from Stockyard's interior, with firepits and lounge-y couches, but the full bar and food menu will be available al fresco.

For metro Detroiters who live at the southern end of Wayne County, Lake Orion might seem like a hike, but the truth is that Stockyard is only about nine miles north of the Palace of Auburn Hills and maybe 20 minutes away from DTE Energy Music Theatre, so if you're heading out to enjoy a blockbuster concert this summer, we highly suggest you check out Stockyard Handcrafted Goods while you're at it.