Two years after setting out to open her passion project Lady of the House, chef Kate Williams is almost ready to welcome Detroiters into her dining room. The hotly anticipated restaurant and bar, located in the former St. Cece’s building, is slated to open next week in Corktown.
Williams traces her its roots back several generations on both sides of her family to the Corktown neighborhood. Her great grandparents were Irish immigrants who met at the nearby Gaelic League on Michigan Avenue and her grandfather grew up nearby on Vermont Street. While the original location for the restaurant changed over the course of the project, Williams never wavered in her determination that Lady of the House would be in Corktown.
Designed by Patrick Thompson Design, the 63-seat restaurant was shares similarities to the former pub space. Williams fought to preserve the stonework surround the entrance but removed the stained glass windows to allow more light to flood into the 1970s era building. The renovation brightened the interior of the restaurant with white stained woods while maintaining the general footprint of the previous occupant. New globe light fixtures hang above an updated 13-seat bar counter. Booths and chairs are upholstered in warm browns and green leathers and fabrics.
Throughout the development of the restaurant, Williams has maintained a vision of exemplary service in a comfortable, almost homey setting. “It's meant to be my personal dining room,” the chef recently told Eater’s Hillary Dixler Canavan.
Each part of the dining experience has been carefully assembled by Williams and her bar manager and collaborator Christian Stachel from the restaurant’s special Detroit Rose “Lady” scented candles to the Lady of the House gin collaboration with Detroit City Distillery.
Stachel’s bar menu features tapped sake and sherry as well as a wine list showcasing wines made with organic or biodynamically farmed ingredients. Lady of the House will also offer a collaborative saison made by Batch Brewing Company.
As in her past roles at Republic and Rodin, Williams will be focusing on nose-to-tail eating and locally-sourced ingredients. The restaurant will, however, offer more seafood than she’s used in the past. Throughout the development of the menu, she made numerous visits to neighborhood farms as well as hopping on an Asian carp fishing boat in the Great Lakes. “Often times that's where menu items come from. Just going and being there and feeling the product,” she says.
Meals will open with a Joseph Wesley Tea service (a nod to Williams’ Irish roots). Diners can also expect a mix of sharable or individual entrees such as lamb steak with charred cucumber, sweet corn, and crispy corn soup and a chilled squash soup with Asian carp gribiche, salmon roe, and nasturtium oil. Sous chef Larissa Popa will also be bringing her charcuterie and butchering skills to the kitchen. For dessert, look out for white potato doughnuts with chamomile cream, dried yogurt, and sugared thyme.
Lady of the House will open initially for dinner before expanding into brunch later this fall. The restaurant also plans to open a private dining space in the basement and a second, unspecified bar project next year. While the specific opening date hasn’t been set yet, take a look around the space ahead of the opening in the gallery below.
The Dining Room
Lady of the House is located at 1426 Bagley Avenue; the restaurant will open with dinner service from 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday (bar will remain open until 2 a.m.); the restaurant will take reservations.
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