Corktown's Gold Cash Gold is one of the year's most anticipated restaurant openings, and after years of work and planning they finally have an opening date in sight.
"Things are going well" with the pawnshop turned restaurant, according to chef Josh Stockton and managing partner Eli Boyer. They tell Eater Detroit that the winter menu is ready, the interior is making daily progress, and staff have been hired and will begin training this week.
The backbone of the restaurant will be Stockton's food, which is highly seasonal, and best described as "farmstead" according to the chef. They are working with farmers from Corktown and the surrounding area to procure produce, which Stockton is pickling and preserving for year-round use. As for the meat, a highlight will be whole pigs from Stockton Farms (his father's farm in Tennessee), an easy choice for someone with a background in butchery. His plan is to make use of everything both plant and animal, focusing on old world technique.
As for the style of cooking, it will have a bit of a Southern feel, some peasant Italian or country French influence from time to time. One dish from the first winter menu is homemade burrata cheese with Stockton's pepper jam and warm grilled bread, also homemade.
The chef's focus is on making everything possible from scratch, and the menu will be kept small to highlight the attention to detail in each offering. Stockton says that there are about 15 dishes on the current menu, counting sides, but notes that there are 28 to 30 dishes in the rotation for the season. As for what stays and what goes, Stockton says it will all depend on what people respond to.
Keeping in the spirit of making everything in house, pastry chef and baker Natalie Zarzour of Chicago recently joined the culinary team. She will be making bread and more at the restaurant on a daily basis, and Stockton has great things to say about her technique and the quality of her work.
The beverage menu will remain small and food-focused. A joint effort of Stockton, Boyer, the rest of the management team, and the lead bartender, drink offerings will include wine, beer, and cocktails. Bartender Brock Massaro just moved back to Detroit from New York, bringing his passion for cocktails to the team. The plan is for the beverages to reflect the food, so expect around 10 low ABV beers, 12 high acid wines, and 8-12 cocktails.
The restaurant itself is still undergoing some construction, but according to Boyer the décor will be anything but generic. For example, the chevron patterned wood tiles that form the ceiling are made from wood lathes that originally held up the plaster of the buildings walls. The concrete bar top comes from Ponyride, as do the door handles, with local artists supplying the art and a floor from an old elementary school gymnasium.
Thursday marks the beginning of staff training, which will be intensive according to both Boyer and Stockton. They say that they are thrilled with their front- and back-of-house staff, emphasizing that they found individuals who are bringing passion, dedication, and no small amount of pride to work every day. The focus is on sound, heartfelt, casual service, with room for the staff to show their own personalities.
Asked when they will finally be ready to welcome guests, both Stockton and Boyer are emphatic that barring catastrophe they will be open by December. The hope is that it will happen before Thanksgiving, which Boyer calls a "realistic" timeline. Once that happens they will be closed Mondays, open Tuesday through Sundays, starting right away with both lunch and dinner, all set to a soundtrack of rock and soul.