Following several nights of soft openings, East Coast import Calexico debuted Friday in downtown Detroit. The restaurant chain founded by David, Brian, and Jesse Vendley, and Peter Oleyer, got its start in 2006 as a food cart but eventually expanded into multiple locations across Manhattan and Brooklyn. Detroit restaurateur and investor Randy Dickow (Freshii, Lunchtime Global, and Sweet Lorraine's Fabulous Mac n' Cheez RenCen) is behind the downtown brick-and-mortar — the company's first foray outside of New York. The restaurant filled the vacancy left by Olga's Kitchen last summer.
Named after a Southern California town bordering Mexico, the restaurant serves up California-style Mexican food including tacos, burritos, salads, rolled quesadillas (like a cross between a burrito and a quesadilla). Calexico also features a full bar with house margaritas and other cocktails.
John Janviriya developed the look for the hulking 4,000-square-foot, 130-seat casual eatery. The design includes a mixture of banquette seating, bar stools, and four tops with distressed brick walls, industrial-style sphere light fixtures, and Woodward Avenue-facing patio. Photographers Michelle and Chris Gerard visited the new restaurant for a look at the interior. Take a tour in the gallery below.