Royal Oak: Cantina Diablo’s to Add Outdoor Seating, and More Dancing

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(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 25, 2016)

Royal Oak, MI – Nearly five years after opening in Downtown Royal Oak, Cantina Diablo’s is getting ready to switch things up by adding outdoor seating and having two dance floors open at once. The change in business plans comes along with some remodeling and new agreements with the city to accommodate the changes.

At the Jan. 25 City Commission meeting Diablo’s owner Brian Kramer and his attorney Kelly Allen were on hand to answer questions about the project, which only drew concerns over having two dance floors at once. The dual-concept space has Cantina Diablo’s on the first floor and Red Fox on the second. Like other two-story establishments, the City had placed a twist_club01provision requiring them to limit dancing to just one dance floor at a time. Royal Oak requires a special permit to allow dancing, and can revoke the dancing permit at their discretion.

The changes call for decreasing the first floor dance floor from 13’X25’ to 10’X10’, decreasing firs floor seating from 200 to 196 persons, increasing second floor seating from 176 to 178 persons, and adding an outdoor café with seating for 16 persons

Since the dancing permit process was instituted several years ago the city has not ever taken a permit back. However, Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue said it is a tool they can use to deter problems. “It’s a nice hammer to have but we’ve never had to use it,” he said.

Chief O’Donohue opposed allowing dancing in two places at once. “Generally speaking you’re more likely to have a problem,” he said, noting that dancing attracts a “younger demographic” and that with dancing they are more likely to have people bumping into each other. He alsoNewWay_Jazz_Tuesdays said that monitoring two floors is an extra strain on security, and was concerned that if they approved it for Diablo’s they might have other establishments applying for dual dance floors.

Commission members questioned if the introduction of dancing to Downtown Royal Oak had brought any increases in crime and the Chief responded that calls for police service at consistent levels. “For the most part the places with dance floors manage them pretty well,” he said.

He stated that Diablo’s had not been a problem in terms of straining the department, but noted that there was a fight the Friday before just outside the establishment where six people were arrested. “I don’t think that is typical though.” he said. The attorney noted that the incident took place outside Diablo’s and did not have anything to do with dancing.

Commissioner Charlan Douglas joked that she felt like a Puritan for talking about a reduction in dance space, but noted that Kramer’s plan candlewickshoppeADbluewould make the dance areas smaller.

Allen gave some background about the history of Diablo’s opening, noting that dancing was a contentious issue at that time. She said that Diablo’s had agreed to operate only one dance floor at a time with a “gentlemen’s agreement” that if they were good and did not have problems that they could come back with the proposal for dual dance floors. The compromised helped the Commission at the time feel comfortable with the business plan.  She noted that prior to Diablo’s the former business had dancing on both floors at the same time.

“Mr Kramer has proved himself repeatedly to be a good operator,” Mayor Jim Ellison said. “You know what the hammer is, it’s up to you to make it work.”sidebar012stairs

The Commission voted to approve the plan, with only Commissioner Jeremy Mahrle voting against it, saying “I agree with the Chief on this one.”

In addition to the increased dancing, Diablo’s will be adding an outdoor patio area in front of the business that will seat 16 people.  Design specialists Ron & Roman of Birmingham are helping to bring some exciting changes to the business, including new furniture, new fixtures, interior paint, new garage doors on Main street, new cafe patio, and painting the outside of building.

The improvements to this business come as the owner also prepares to launch a dual-concept restaurant space in Ferndale which will be Pop’s Italian in the front and the Daily Dinette in the back. Kramer also owns One-Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale and Rosie O’Grady’s in Ferndale, Chesterfield and Sterling Heights. Learn more about Cantina Diablo’s and Red Fox at


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