In a surprise move, Rock City Eatery owners chef Nikita Sanches and Jessica Imbronone announced Wednesday evening that they will end their lease in Hamtramck and move to Midtown. The eclectic restaurant, which celebrated its two-year anniversary yesterday, will replace the former Bangkok Cuisine Express on Woodward.
The couple has been looking for a new location for several months, as the building on Joseph Campau is significantly lacking kitchen space and cold storage (RCE operates with just one standard sized refrigerator). "The kitchen is not practical at all," Sanches tells Eater. "Being in a new spot we can actually make and serve what I originally envisioned." The Midtown location has a kitchen that Sanches estimates is six times larger than the current restaurant's. "We're going to have a walk-in cooler and a real dishwashing station and hopefully make things more efficient than they are now."
Sanches and Imbronone looked at multiple locations both in Hamtramck and in downtown Detroit with help from Bedrock Real Estate, however nothing quite worked out. "This one was just meant to be," the chef says. The Midtown location requires a few upgrades including new equipment and personal touches to give it the Rock City feel, but is mostly move-in ready. With their current lease ending in February and the Woodward lease beginning that same month, Sanches expects the transition will be a seamless.