What was once a traditional Birmingham restaurant has reopened its doors with a new owner and a completely new look, chef, and menu. 220 Restaurant was purchased by Denise Illitch back in February, and she lost no time in starting renovations. The restaurant reopened this month, and the changes are significant. She has no prior experience running a restaurant like 220, but is apparently well on her way to having Birmingham's hottest new eatery.
Sylvia Rector of the Free Press said it's too early for a review (a small jab at Molly Abraham of the Detroit News?) she says she tried it out, and found new chef Scott Garthwaite's food "very good" and the people watching excellent.
As for the decor, it seems to contribute quite a bit to the vibe, which she describes as "a little like Birmingham-Bloomfield-meets-Miami".
The new interior is definitely not traditional, and her take on the bar area shows exactly why she said "Miami":
"The reconfigured bar sits beneath a color-streaked glass panel surrounded by color-changing lights. Lighting fixtures that look like spiky, three-dimensional lights hang near the high-top tables. Big modern-art canvases add splashes of color to the pale walls."
Redundant language aside, she seems to react favorably to the revamped restaurant, from food to decor, noting only that the kinks still haven't been worked out when it comes to service.
But not everyone is so positive. Early Yelp reviews have been either glowing, or horrendous condemnations of the service and the food. One reviewer even dared to wax poetic about the loss of her expensive handbag to a glass of accidentally spilled champagne, complaining that she "was stunned that no concessions were made for such a miserable experience." Birmingham meets Miami indeed?
· Sylvia Rector's First Look: New 220 Menu Infuses Fresh Flavor into Seasonal Favorites [Freep]
· 220 Restaurant [Yelp]
· 220 Mystery Solved, Denise Illitch Officially Has The Keys [-ED-]