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The Top Detroit Restaurant Newcomers of 2015

Friends and Eater contributors weigh-in on the biggest openings of 2015.

Michelle and Chris Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

As is tradition at Eater, we close out the year by surveying local food writers and our own staff on various restaurant-related topics, and we'll be publishing their responses throughout the week. Readers, feel free to share your thoughts below. Next question: What were the top restaurant newcomers of 2015?

Serena Maria Daniels, Dining Editor, Metro Times:

Mabel Gray and Standby were two of the more exciting restaurants to watch being developed. Chef James Rigato's move to open up shop in oft-overlooked Hazel Park marked a shift toward fine-dining accessibility. The story behind Standby's Brendon Edwards and Joe Robinson (Joe Rob) coming from the controversial Antietam established the duo as a creative force not beholden to management clashes.

Aaron Foley, Author/Editor, BLAC Detroit Magazine:

I went to high school with Ron Bartell, who owns Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles, so I'd be biased if I said there. And I used to work with Toby Barlow, a co-owner of Gold Cash Gold, so I'd be biased if I said there, too. I feel like everyone is going to say Selden Standard — and they were really good this year — but I'm going to go with the late-year opening of Vertical Detroit, which has everything you need in a new restaurant: Ambience, good wine, good food, great location. I also have to shout-out the Dime Store, where I had more than one good brunch.

Seoung Lee, Blogger, Chow Down Detroit:

Katoi. I have eaten at the popups in Ann Arbor and in Detroit (Two James) the most in 2015. I crave it everyday.  My restaurant of the year.

Victoria Trudeau, Eater Contributor:

Marais (under Chef Garrett Lipar) — it's so much fun to see what Chef Lipar has been able to do with a full-size kitchen, and while Torino will always be missed, it's good to see him move on to new things, and I am so thankful that he stayed in the Detroit area!

Melody Baetens, Co-Owner of Small's Bar and Features Reporter, Detroit News:

Republic, Mabel Gray, Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails, Bobcat Bonnie's, Jim Brady's Detroit, Zeke's, Huron Room, Ali Baba Shish Kabob, Townhouse Detroit. Bumbo's Wednesday night pop-ups in Hamtramck and Stache International in Eastern Market (which isn't really open yet) are both remarkable. Likely Standby and La Rondinella, too, but it's kind of early to tell.

Brenna Houck, Editor, Eater Detroit:

This is an exceptionally difficult question. I'd have to include Kuzzo's (their waffles have this cinnamon thing going on that's quite delicious), Sister Pie definitely deserves mention. One of my standbys was Bobcat Bonnie's. I like the happy hour deals there. I love Chartreuse and I also really enjoy La Dulce in Royal Oak. As far as just sheer scale of an opening Townhouse is in there. I'm also excited about Standby and La Rondinella, but giving them time since they're so very new. I almost forgot to mention Republic and Parks & Rec and Batch. What a year for restaurant reporting and for Detroiters who love food.

Dorothy Hernandez, Co-Owner of Sarap Filipino Pop-Up and Managing Editor, Hour Detroit:

Chartreuse, Standby, Mabel Gray