It’s no secret that one of the hottest tickets in town right now is Mabel Gray. Chef James Rigato’s small Hazel Park passion project has drawn attention to the working class suburb attracting new developments including a forthcoming bar project. The Michigan-centric even even received a nod from the James Beard Foundation this year, making the list of semifinalists for Best New Restaurant, and earned praise from critics at The New York Times and the Detroit Free Press.
Now, Mabel Gray can add yet another feather to its cap. On Thursday, Eater’s roving national restaurant critic Bill Addison revealed his list of the country’s best new restaurants including a big shout out to metro Detroit’s very own Mabel Gray.
Here’s what Addison had to say about the trailblazing new American eatery:
Rigato’s outspoken dedication to Michigan’s bounty has made him a hometown hero, and the clamor for his food is justified. Mabel Gray’s daily-changing menu draws from the global pantry, but Rigato knows how to edit dishes to keep flavors from muddling: In April I savored asparagus with Béarnaise mayo, Manilla clams with pepper jelly and coconut milk, and green apple kimchi with yogurt and celery.
Addison compiled the list by dining anonymously around the country, visiting multiple restaurants in each city. "The final cut," he writes, "reflects the country’s geographic breadth and a gamut of culinary styles, and spotlights those places most clearly advancing our very notions of dining." Not every city visited had a restaurant that made the list. To be eligible a restaurant must have opened between May 2015 and May 2016. A total of 21 restaurants landed on the list including Monteverde in Chicago, Petit Crenn in San Francisco, and Salare in Seattle.
Rigato, who appeared on Top Chef season 12, recently confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that the restaurant has acquired nearby ice cream stand Doug’s Delight. The shop will be renovated and reopened as a chef-driven seasonal ice cream shop headed by pastry chef Kristina Conger.