A new concert hall, bar, and restaurant is poised to open next month on West Vernor Highway. As Curbed first-reported, El Club is in the process of renovating the former Mexicantown Fiesta Center in Southwest Detroit as an all-ages music venue. Co-owner Graeme Flegenheimer has tapped Pepe Z's Matt Ziolkowksi to run the kitchen, which will serve pizza out of an Italian hybrid wood and gas-fired oven.
Before joining El Club, Ziolkowksi tells Eater he used to host pop-ups around the city and used to serve pizza during concerts at the former Fiesta Center. He describes his style of pizza as a "cross between a Neapolitan and a New York-style" with a "crispy crust and a nice crumb." While standards like cheese and pepperoni pizza will be on the menu, he plans to feature seasonal pies that use locally-sourced ingredients such as mushrooms grown in Detroit. The venue will also have a small garden on the premises and mozzarella will be made in-house. He expects the menu to include a 14-inch and 12-inch pie with soups and salads coming online as the business grows.
Flegenheimer has also recruited bartender Kyle Thousand (previously of The Oakland) to manage the bar. The owner says Thousand is in the process of developing a few signature cocktails for the bar that feature Latin-inspired ingredients such as an avocado margarita. Visitors can also expect liquor infusions, kegged cocktails, and a Michelada made with El Club's house pizza sauce. The venue will also be, according to Flegenheimer, the first place in Michigan serving Club-Mate — a carbonated yerba mate energy drink that's popular in Germany.
El Club hosts its first concert on May 4 and the kitchen is expected to be up and running by Memorial Day weekend's Trip Metal Fest. Flegenheimer says the restaurant and bar will initially open only around concert and DJ nights but may eventually expand with more hours (Read: brunch, late-night options, and maybe delivery). Pepe Z's pizzas will be available for dine-in or take-out. Check out more photos of the space at Curbed.