After less than two years of business and despite suggestions that it might reopen in the spring Mexican concept TAQO shuttered in Grand Circus Park. However, the prime real estate adjacent to Detroit’s downtown entertainment centers and stadiums wasn’t left vacant for long. Throughout the spring and summer a team of restauranteurs have slowly been transforming the space into a new modern Mexican eatery, Norte. Partners Mitch Resetar of Greektown’s Exodus night club and Dave Griffor of Huron Athletic Club in Port Huron teamed with restaurant manager and El Barzon alumn Eddie Vargas in developing the restaurant.
Resetar is the first to admit that the Mexican restaurant concept feels like an echo of TAQO, but tells Eater that the 96-seat eatery is significantly different from its predecessor. Much of the space has been renovated and the group has contracted a local artist to create distinctive murals throughout the restaurant. Norte’s six TVs and projector to screen major sports games daily.
In terms of the menu, Norte has undergone numerous changes to improve and expand its offerings since its initial pop-ups in June. The eatery consulted with acclaimed southwest Detroit Mexican-Italian restaurant El Barzon as well as drawing on Vargas’s knowledge of cuisine.
Diners can expect classic flavors with modern presentations including a selection of street-style tacos and a massive California burrito. The restaurant is also serving up a number of hearty lunch specials including nachos topped with onion, tomato, cilantro, crema, a choice of meat, and housemade Oaxaca cheese sauce. The bar is also slinging cocktails prepared with fresh juices and herbs and all of its house tequila-based drinks are mixed with locally-owned Cabresto. “Everything is really fresh here,” Resetar says, noting that they’ve focused on sourcing locally from companies like Hacienda Foods and Lo Piccolo Brothers Produce in Eastern Market.
Resetar and Griffor aren’t stopping with Norte either. The pair plan to develop a separate space in the mezzanine area of the restaurant building for a possible industry-only bar or high-end tequila lounge.
Norte Modern Mexican is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and later during major downtown sporting events. 22 West Adams, Detroit.
• Norte Modern Mexican Facebook [Official]
• All Opening Alert Coverage [ED]