Whimsically designed Spanish tapas spot La Dulce is leaving its Main Street location in Royal Oak and heading to Detroit. Owner Luis Negrete announced today that after less than two years in the metro Detroit suburb, the restaurant will relocate to a new 7,000-square-foot space inside the Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront Hotel formerly home to The Jefferson House.
The move to 2 Washington Blvd is expected to be relatively quick, according to a release. The restaurant closed for service on Sunday, June 18 and will reopen in its new space on July 6 in Detroit. “We have absolutely loved our time in the Royal Oak community and will miss the neighborhood that embraced us as we built our footprint,” Negrete says in a statement. “We had an opportunity to be part of Detroit’s growing culinary scene that we couldn’t pass up — we’re so excited for our next step.”
From the get-go, La Dulce made a statement with its design. The restaurant underwent a roughly $1 million renovation and features a highly stylized interior accented with decorative plates, teacups, and boxy seats. When it first opened, the late Detroit Free Press critic Sylvia Rector dubbed it "one of metro Detroit's most distinctive new dining destinations."
The new restaurant is expected to feature a similar aesthetic, according to a rep for La Dulce, with the addition graffiti artwork from local artists. The Crowne Plaza location will seat roughly 70 patrons with an additional 30 seats at the bar. The hotel venue will also feature a patio facing the Detroit river.
Chefs Juan Negrete and Hector Sanz’ tapas menu features dishes like squid ink calamari, churros, and Iberico ham cured loin croquettes. The team says that the new, larger kitchen will allow La Dulce to offer “large-scale dining experiences” such as suckling pig and shareable paella. Beverage director Dan McCarthy will also be following the restaurant downtown and plans to release an updated cocktail menu for summer. La Dulce will open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch when it reemerges next month.
Crowne Plaza has struggled in recent years with its restaurant projects. The hotel’s high rise restaurant Top of the Pontch reverted to an events-only space earlier this year following the closure of The Jefferson House in 2015. Perhaps betting on an already tested restaurant like La Dulce will change its luck.
Meanwhile, downtown’s hotels are continuing to step up their restaurant game. The Detroit Foundation Hotel recently debuted with a large flagship restaurant, The Apparatus Room, helmed by a Michelin-starred chef. The forthcoming Shinola Hotel will also feature a food and beverage program shaped by New York’s NoHo Hospitality.
• All La Dulce Coverage [ED]