Detroit's licensing process is severely hindering the build-out on downtown's Rockefellers Oyster Bar, restaurateur Jai-Lee Dearing tells Eater. While he continues to pay bills on the property on the same block as Punch Bowl Social, Dearing confirms the restaurant will not debut on Tiger's Opening Day as previously reported. "It's not our first rodeo in Detroit," Dearing says. "It's hard to move things along in a quick efficient manner. You almost have to know someone in the back to get things moving."
The good news is that contractors are making headway on a different project in Grosse Pointe Park. Dearing says securing licenses for his forthcoming Bootlegger's Pig & Whiskey was a much quicker process. Bootlegger's will offer some "really funky barbecue" with items like grilled pork belly, smoked pulled pork, ribs, and burgers. The 2,500-square-foot restaurant near Rockefellers first location will also house a substantial bar comprised of more than 100 different varieties of whiskey and hard to find single malt scotches. Additionally, Bootlegger's will provide a notable craft beer selection with 35 taps.
Dearing expects that work on Bootlegger's will be complete by the end of May in time for soft openings around Memorial Day weekend. Meanwhile, he continues to work on acquiring licensing for the downtown project, "but sooner or later we're going to have to make a decision."
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