Ferndale-based hospitality group Working Class Outlaws has finally found someone to take over kitchens at their new project, Antihero. Los Angeles-based chef Nick Erven is set to relocate to metro Detroit next week as he takes over the forthcoming Asian-influenced restaurant on Nine Mile.
Erven is somewhat of a household name in the Los Angeles food community since helming former Koreatown restaurant Saint Martha and is coming off a run as opening chef at Rappahannock Oyster Bar. Prior to that, Erven spent some time working as a consultant on a menu at a restaurant in LA’s Koreatown district. He also helmed his own semi-vegan and eponymous restaurant for close two and a half years and took a turn in the kitchens at Fundamental LA. Erven will be taking over for former Working Class Outlaws chef Brandon Zarb, who departed from the project and sibling restaurants Public House and Imperial in July.
Erven wasn’t really expecting to move from Los Angeles, but says he is looking forward to experiencing a new city. He and his wife are preparing to welcome another baby and that made Erven begin to consider the prospect of how to support his growing family in the increasingly expensive Los Angeles area. The chef tells Eater that he casually began looking for new positions, posting his resume online and a few months ago and was contacted by the team from Working Class Outlaws about their recently opened position at Antihero. Erven traveled to metro Detroit for the first time a little over a month ago to visit the area and cook for the owners. “We all got along the same wavelength, which doesn’t always happen,” Erven says. “I think it’s a cool opportunity to go someplace different and see some new things.”
Erven has begun working with the restaurant group to start developing the menu, though he notes it’s a bit difficult to do over the phone. He says customers can expect a mixture of bar snacks, raw items, and vegetables, as well as noodle and rice dishes. There will be some hibachi charcoal-grilled items and small Korean-style banchan dishes as well. Erven is also planning to include some large format items on the menu such as whole smoked brisket with chili hoisin sauce, kimchi cheddar biscuits, pickles, and butter lettuce.
“I’m really excited for people to see it,” Erven says of Antihero. “I think the overarching theme of the whole thing is ‘fun.’ It’s fun drinking food and fun cocktails.”
Erven says the restaurant is on track to open sometime this fall, though the date hasn’t been specifically set yet. He’s expecting to jump into the restaurant development in the second half of October.
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