Last year, Jacques Driscoll received an unusual email. Seemingly out of the blue, two Malaysian men contacted the Green Dot Stables owner. The Malaysians said they'd learned about his slider restaurant from a story in The Associated Press. Driscoll was, understandably, a little suspicious that the inquiry might be an internet scam. However, he recalls, "They seemed to know a lot of details about everything and the more we chatted the more it seemed like these guys are for real," he says. The pair was interested in opening a second location in Kuala Lumpur. "It seemed too fun and interesting to pass up.
A year later, Green Dot is preparing to open their first location in Southeast Asia. "It's so bizarre and crazy. We would have never guessed this would happen in our wildest dreams." With contracts signed, Driscoll and his colleague chef Les Molnar will hop on a plane in two weeks to visit Malaysia for the first time.
The owner says he's still not completely sure what the final restaurant will look like, but anticipates it will feel very similar to the original, with brick walls and other Detroit-inspired details. For a while, the partners toyed with calling it Green Dot Detroit, thinking that "stables" might not translate well, but they've since settled on the original name. One emissary from Green Dot is already on the ground in Kuala Lumpur. Chef Tim Ziegeler (a former instructor of chef Molnar's) will be heading the Malaysian kitchen. The menu will be 80 percent identical to the Corktown location with a few menu items being traded for more Malaysian-friendly dishes.
As for his project in Mexicantown, Driscoll says when he and Molnar return from Malaysia, they'll give the site more attention. "We're starting the build-out, but we change our mind on [the concept] every other day." It's the first time Driscoll and Molnar are starting in a space with a clean slate. Driscoll is very tentatively shooting for a summer opening, but that could easily change. "We want to make sure we do it right." The Malaysian restaurant opens April 15.