The team at Rock City Eatery is entering the home stretch in its long-anticipated move to Midtown. Since announcing the move nearly a year ago, the restaurant like so many projects, has been plagued by delays. However, chef Nikita Sanches tells Eater that the buildout is nearly complete with minor tweaks, new signage, and cleaning left to complete. If the restaurant can secure city and health department inspections next month, the RCE could debut in its new digs by the end of August or early September.
"This is going to really be more grown up"
Rock City Eatery’s location inside the former Bangkok Cuisine space will offer a larger setting with a more refined, ambitious menu and experience than what’s offered in now Hamtramck. "[At] the current spot we really accomplished everything that I envisioned," Sanches says. "The ambiance [in Midtown] is going to reflect the higher-end quality of the food."
RCE's Midtown digs will feature a full bar led by beverage director Liz Cosby with a greater focus on the technical side of craft cocktails such as an ice program, digestifs, and aperitifs. Sanches is also introducing RCE pizzas — featured originally during the restaurant’s appearance on Restaurant Startup. The frequent alterations to the opening timeline have had an impact on the menu process as well. "I wrote the menu for a March/April opening," Sanches remarks. "Now it's going to be like late-August, I've got to [update it again]."
Initially Sanches and his wife and partner Jessica Imbronone Sanches had planned for a seamless transition from one location to the other, but that timeline has changed to leave room for staff training. The restaurant will grow from around nine staff members to 30 at its new location. "I want people to right away have a good experience with no glitches," the chef says. He now expects at least one week between the closure in Hamtramck and reopening on Woodward Avenue. "This is going to really be more grown up," Sanches says of the new RCE. While you wait for the official debut, get a quick preview of the pre-opening interior in the photos below