The eccentric Florida-based franchise Ford's Garage is now expanding to co-founder, investor, and real estate developer Steve Israel's home of Long Island.
Ford's Garage is a unique dining experience evocative of 1920s America. As it has a licensing agreement with the Ford Motor Company, it can utilize the Ford logo and other various imagery associated with the brand. The restaurants are designed to look like service stations, complete with faux gas pumps, memorabilia, vintage fixtures, and a Ford Model T or Model A car above the center bar. Servers are dressed in mechanics' uniforms, and even the bathroom sinks are made from fuel pump nozzles and tires. Israel says that the restaurants are very deliberately designed, from the design of the fixtures to the music played to the lighting. He told Long Island Business News (LIBN) that he wants the atmosphere to "hit you upside the head before you get into the restaurant."
"The Ford Motor Company has quite a rich history as one of America's most important manufacturing companies," Israel told LIBN. "And that history also translates to a pretty cool dining experience."
In 2012, Israel opened his first Ford's Garage location in Fort Myers, FL, with the help of two restaurant industry experts: Daniel Kearns of the Kearns Restaurant Group and Mike McGuigan, whose group had a part in designing other South Florida chains such as Firestones, Boathouse, and Los Cabos Cantina. In 2015, the Ford's Garage concept was franchised; the all-in cost to open a location ranges from $1.46 million to $6.35 million and there are currently 17 locations around the country in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. As of 2022, Israel says that the trio hopes to open an additional eight to 10 Ford's Garage restaurants by the end of the year. Three to five of these restaurants, Israel says, will open in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island, NY, with the help of his son Jake Israel.