Hotly anticipated new Italian restaurant San Morello is preparing to debut on Tuesday, December 18 at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Grand River in Detroit. The restaurant is the first spot from New York-based hitmakers NoHo Hospitality Group in Detroit and anchor to the soon-to-open Shinola Hotel.
NoHo Hospitality’s team includes James Beard Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini, Luke Ostrom, and Huntington Woods native Josh Pickard. Together, they’re developing all the food and beverage options for the hotel including San Morello, a cocktail lounge called Evening Bar, a beer hall called the Brakeman, and fried chicken shop Penny Red’s.
At San Morello, NoHo Hospitality is blending Southern Italian cuisine with mid-century atmosphere. The restaurant seats 100 people with an additional 10 seats at the bar and another 60 more on the Woodward-facing patio. Big windows let plenty of light into the space, which features cushioned booths with warm brown upholstery, checker patterned floors, and decorative tiles. San Morello features extensive Amish craftsman woodwork throughout. The restaurant also features a 40-seat private dining room and bar with high ceilings and big picture windows overlooking Woodward Avenue.
Chef Cory Barberio, a NoHo alum from New York, and pastry chef Jessica Leung will take the lead in the kitchen for San Morello with chef Don Hammond overseeing the overall food and beverage operations for the hotel (yes, that includes room service). Carmellini tells Eater the menu will focus primarily on regional Italian cuisine with about 25 percent of the dishes touching on Italian-American food. “I see it as a cross between all of our Italian restaurants,” he says. “We brought some of our pasta crew from New York that are going to be here hand-making pasta everyday,” with options like pumpkin agnolotti and Carmellini’s famously saucy “grandmother’s ravioli.” The space is also outfitted with a pizza oven and a wood-fired grill that San Morello’s team will use to char items like cabbage, meats, and seafood.
San Morello is expected to begin private soft openings this week before opening for dinner early next week. Following the Shinola Hotel’s big debut during the North American International Auto Show, the Italian restaurant will begin introducing brunch and lunch service.
Beyond San Morello, NoHo Hospitality is continuing to forge ahead with its other restaurant and bar projects. Evening Bar, a classic American cocktail lounge with a sister bar in New York, is expected to open before New Year’s and the Brakeman is currently on track for a spring opening. Penny Red’s is expected to be the last of the fleet to debut sometime in the first half of 2019. The Shinola Hotel, meanwhile, is beginning to accept its first reservations.