Despite Detroit Free Press critic Mark Kurlyandchik’s plea for a downtown restaurant offering something other than burgers, restaurateur Eli Boyer is sticking with his original plan for the 28 Grand Building.
Boyer, who also owns Voyager in Ferndale, confirmed to Eater last month that his Capitol Park project would be devoted to burgers. In a response letter originally published to his private Facebook account and reprinted in the Free Press, Boyer reveals a few new details of the restaurant and pushes back on the notion that there are already too many burgers downtown. In regards to downtown burger market saturation, Boyer writes:
When judging whether a market is saturated, there are two sides to the equation — supply and demand. As you [Kurlyandchik] aptly noted, many places serve hamburgers. But in a downtown experiencing tremendous growth — in residents, average income, workforce, retail, hospitality and landmark developments like Little Caesars Arena and the Hudson’s site — I would argue that the 60-plus restaurants you list as serving burgers downtown are just scratching the surface. If they’re thriving now, what will the landscape look like in five years? Ten years?
And of those 60-plus restaurants, you list only five that would be considered burger-specific. Four of those are nationwide fast-food chains.
Here are some of the things that Boyer believes will set his restaurant — dubbed Loverboy — apart from the other eateries in the area:
- The restaurant design will be “inspired by Wes Anderson films” and feature a walk-up window with kiosk ordering.
- It will be run by two Culinary Institute of America trained chefs (presumably Boyer’s partners in Voyager, Justin Tootla and Jennifer Jackson).
- It will serve grass-fed Michigan beef that’s ground with caramelization in mind as well as hand-cut fries, veggie burgers, craft beer, ice cream made in-house, boozy slushies, and adult milkshakes.
- Pricing will be “approachable,” according to Boyer.
It will be a few months before Boyer’s Loverboy opens its doors downtown and therefore a little while before he can prove whether or not his instincts were correct. Until then, there are plenty of burgers worth seeking out around metro Detroit.
Correction: A previous version of this story suggested that the restaurant would be inspired by Wes Anderson films. Clarification has been added to state that the design is inspired by the films.
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