Greg Reyner has plenty on his plate these days. The chef/owner of successful Royal Oak restaurant Cafe Muse recently entered into a partnership with chef Matt Baldridge and Treat Dreams owner Scott Moloney to open Atomic Chicken. When he's not putting the finishing touches on those restaurants, Reyner is developing plans for Geiger Eat Shop in West Village. The chef and developer Reimer Priester of Resurgent Cineribus recently took Eater on a tour of Geiger's future home on Kercheval Avenue. The building undergoing major renovations with the help of an $85,000 Motor City Match grant.
Described as a new American restaurant with international influences, Geiger Eat Shop will feature a full bar and dining room with seats for approximately 60 diners. The restaurant will also include a 1,000-square-foot patio and private dining space in the basement. While Reyner is still in the early stages of designing the space, he says Geiger will reflect Bauhaus aesthetics with "clean industrial lines," exposed brick, banquette seating, and a "fully exposed kitchen." An L-shaped bar will span the west side of the restaurant.
Geiger is a passion project for Reyner. The restaurant's name is an allusion to his grandmother's restaurant that operated during the 1930s and he hopes to foster a lively community feeling in the space. Reyner says he discovered the Kercheval Avenue building several years during a bike ride through the neighborhood. With the help of The Villages, he was eventually connected with Resurgent.
In terms of choosing a tenant Priester says, "a restaurant is really the best way to animate a space with a lot of people in a brief period of time." He adds, "At some point we also want to bring in other retail-related things along this strip, but those aren't going to drive the kind of day-to-day traffic" that a restaurant will.
For the larger part of the past 30 years the Kercheval building sat vacant and in growing disrepair. Resurgent is currently addressing issues such as structural reinforcement, roof replacement, floor leveling, and fixes to brickwork. "One of the nice things about knowing what my plans are — [Resurgent] can actually incorporate a lot of the things that I would have to do later down the road into their actual buildout," Reyner notes. Theoretically, that should cut Geiger's buildout time in half.
Reyner estimates that the building will require three to four months of work plus an additional two to three months for the actual restaurant buildout. That puts the anticipated opening date at sometime in late Autumn.