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Pastas, seen here at chef Anthony Lombardo’s pop-up at Gather, will take center stage at SheWolf in Midtown this spring.
Michelle and Chris Gerard

Detroit’s Most Anticipated Restaurants and Bars, Spring 2018

From Roman-style pasta restaurants to Italian delis, here’s what’s coming this season

Detroit’s supercharged restaurant scene is leaping forward once again with a whole new crop of restaurants and bar on track to open this spring. As winter winds down, restaurants are rushing to debut during that ever-appealing warm weather season when foot traffic is at its peak and Detroiters are actually interested in getting out of the house. Already March is looking packed with the expected arrival of spots like breakfast and lunch restaurant Folk in Corktown and the impending unveiling of downtown burger restaurant Lovers Only, with plenty more on tap very soon. There’s also quite a few fresh bars in the works including the Kiesling in Milwaukee-Junction and Cass Corridor’s Willis Show Bar.

Keep in mind that estimated opening dates are always a moving target thanks to construction and permitting delays. From Roman-style pasta spot SheWolf to long-awaited chefs table Albena to the area’s first food hall Detroit Shipping Company, here are 18 highly anticipated eateries opening in the Motor City this spring.

Emily Berger

Folk

Location: 1701 Trumbull

Key Players: Kiki Louya and Rohani Foulkes

Projected Opening: Late-March

Cafe-market combo and Eater Award winner The Farmer’s Hand is budding into a second space at the corner of Trumbull and Bagley where founders Rohani Folkes and Kiki Louya will get the chance to spin their cooking chops into a full-scale breakfast and lunch restaurant. The 24-seat eatery will feature quiche, veggie hash, meat pies, and grain bowls all with a distinctive international spin plus espresso and an ice cream counter from Reilly’s Craft Creamery.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

SheWolf

Location: 438 Selden

Key Players: Anthony Lombardo

Projected Opening: Late May/early June

Chef Anthony Lombardo (formerly of Bacco Ristorante in Southfield) is opening his Roman-style pasta restaurant in Midtown this spring. Expect the “Big Three” in Roman pasta — carbona, amatriciana, and cacio e pepe — made fresh using flour milled on-site in full view of the dining room. SheWolf will also feature a bar specializing in Italian wines, vermouths, and spritzer cocktails.

Christian Harder/The Siren Hotel [Official photo]

Albena and Candy Bar

Location: The Siren Hotel

Key Players: Garrett Lipar, Tiffany Henderson, and Emma Taylor (Albena), Marlowe Johnson (Candy Bar)

Projected Opening: Spring

James Beard-nominated chef Garrett Lipar (formerly Torino) will helm an eight-seat chef’s counter called Albena on the ground floor of the soon-to-open Siren Hotel in downtown’s Wurlitzer Building. With his new venture, Lipar is aiming to set a slightly more brisk pace than similar tasting menu-only restaurants he’s experienced with a run time around 90 minutes. Seatings will cost under $200 per person and will feature dishes influenced by the Great Lakes region. Bartender Marlowe Johnson (formerly Gold Cash Gold) will be helming the hotel’s 30-seat, pink hued cocktail lounge called Candy Bar. Those projects will be joined by a Populace Coffee bar, a second floor “not-so-greasy spoon” called Karl’s, a piano karaoke bar called Sid Gold’s Request Room, and a rooftop bar.

Brenna Houck

Cork and Gabel

Location: 2415 Michigan Ave.

Key Players: Matthew McGrail and Joe Mifsud

Projected Opening: April 31

German, Irish, and Italian flavors will all find a home on chef Matthew McGrail’s menu for Cork and Gabel. The restaurant currently under construction in a space next door to Two James Spirits will feature a large open dining room with an open kitchen and a horseshoe bar specializing in bourbon, whiskey, and scotch. An added bonus: plenty of off-street parking.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Lovers Only

Location: 34 Grand River Ave.

Key Players: Eli Boyer, Justin Tootla, and Jennifer Jackson

Projected Opening: Imminent

The latest project from the people behind Ferndale’s hit seafood restaurant Voyager is poised to debut any day now in downtown’s Capitol Park neighborhood. The menu will feature hot dogs, sandwiches, and burgers made from Michigan pasture-raised beef such as the Classic Smash (a six-ounce patty with onion, mayo, and mustard on a sesame potato roll) or the Burlington (a six-ounce patty with dijonaise, raw and cooked onions, pickle relish, and Wisconsin-style cheddar cheese sauce on a brioche bun). There will also, of course, be shakes made with Calder Dairy ice cream.

Urban Ramen [official photo]

Urban Ramen

Location: 4206 Woodward Ave.

Key Players: Kohei Kayano and Yohei Uchida

Projected Opening: Spring

Los Angeles-based noodle shop Urban Ramen is looking to expand to the Detroit restaurant market this spring. The company’s second outpost is will replace Falafill on Woodward Avenue near Rock City Eatery. The menu at the company’s original outlet features chicken, pork, and vegan maitake mushroom shoyu ramen broth and also serves sushi, rice bowls, and poke.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

White Star Pizza

Location: 2135 Michigan Ave.

Key Players: Gail and John Kwiatkowski and Matt Ziolkowski

Projected Opening: Late spring/summer

This casual restaurant and bar helmed by former Pepe Z’s pizza chef Matt Ziolkowski is slated to open in Corktown in late spring inside the former Detroit Artifactry space. The pizzeria is expected to dish up “artisanal, Detroit-style pizzas” with vegan-friendly options and a selection of local beers and hard ciders.

Brenna Houck

Willis Show Bar

Location: 4156 3rd Ave.

Key Players: Detroit Optimist Society, Steve Livigni, Sean Patrick, and Brandon Smith

Projected Opening: April

Fourty years after closing its doors, this old-school cabaret and bar in Cass Corridor is making comeback with help from both Detroit and LA-based bar and restaurant power players. The Detroit Optimist Society’s Dave Kwiatkowski is currently overseeing a meticulous renovation that aims to recreate the original bar’s distinct Art Moderne interior.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Second Best Bar

Location: 42 Watson St.

Key Players: Joe Giacomino, John Vermiglio, Will Lee, and David Vermiglio

Projected Opening: Late spring/early summer

Grey Ghost is gaining a sibling right across the street with the opening of Second Best Bar. The pub will aim to fill a more casual drinking niche with takes on cocktails and shots like kamikazes that might have been more at home in the 1990s. In addition to the drinks, diners can expect tasty bar snacks and sandwiches. The space will also feature plenty of pub games including shuffle board.

Lumen [Official photo]

Lumen

Location: 1903 Grand River Ave.

Key Players: Norman, Bonnie, Scott, and Suzanne LePage

Projected Opening: March/April

Beacon Park’s anchor restaurant Lumen is set to open its doors very soon in downtown Detroit. The 4,000-square-foot will feature a distinctive design with seating atop the swooping sustainable roof. Helmed by the owners of Big Rock Chophouse and Clubhouse BFD, Lumen will offer a blend of brasserie and Belgian-style beer garden food alongside beers from the family brewery, Griffin Claw.

Brenna Houck

Wilda’s

Location: 6568 Woodward Ave.

Key Players: Lucy Peters, Max Sussman, Eli Sussman, Sopheana Duch

Projected Opening: -late spring

Lucy Peters and Sopheana Duch of Rose’s Fine Foods have teamed up with Michigan natives chefs Max and Eli Sussman to bring an affordable, all-day restaurant and bar to New Center this year. Since the initial announcement, the idea of the 60-seat establishment has evolved. It’s now expected to feature a casual ordering format where customers check boxes on paper menus. Diners can expect options like sandwiches, salads, and soups plus snacks like chicken wings at the bar.

Brenna Houck

Chili Mustard Onions

Location: 3411 Brush St.

Key Players: Pete LaCombe

Projected Opening: possibly April 1

Coney island dining gets the vegan treatment at this forthcoming restaurant in Brush Park. Owner Pete LaCombe plans to offer meat and dairy-free burgers, gyros, spinach pie, and other Detroit diner essentials. The restaurant is also expected to offer beer, wine, and cocktails.

Detroit Shipping Company [Official photo]

Detroit Shipping Co.

Location: 474 Peterboro St.

Key Players: Jonathan Hartzell, James Therkalsen, Dominic Walbridge

Projected Opening: April

Detroit Shipping Co. is finally poised to make landfall in Cass Corridor this season bringing with it two bars, pop-up art space, retail, and six standalone restaurant vendors. The building, located next door to The Peterboro, began stacking shipping containers in November. Meanwhile, the lineup of restaurant stalls has been finalized to include Brujo Tacos & Tapas, Coop, Bangkok 96 Street Food, 320 Degrees Coffee and Creamery, Motor Burger, and Bread Meats Bread.

exterior construction wrap Brenna Houck

Rocco’s Italian Deli

Location: 3627 Cass Ave.

Key Players: Gabe Guido, Kyle Mrkva, and Jeff Guido

Projected Opening: Late-April/early May

The Cass Corridor neighborhood will gain a good old fashioned Italian deli with the long-awaited debut of Rocco’s this spring. Rocco’s will serve as both a specialty Italian market and a restaurant slinging everything from meatball sandwiches to chicken parmesan. The restaurant buildout is well-underway and the building recently gained signage.

La Noria/Facebook

La Noria

Location: 5517 Michigan Avenue

Major Players: Norberto Garita and Bertin Garita

Projected Opening: Late-March

Chef Norberto Garita is known for his Mexican-Italian restaurant El Barzon, but the owner has plans to open a casual eatery right next door. La Noria, which means “water wheel,” will offer wood-fired oven pizzas, tacos, tortas, and more in a converted coney island. The restaurant features a full bar and, most importantly, a beautiful brick patio.

EE Berger/Castalia [Official Photo]

Castalia

Location: 3980 Second Ave.

Key Players: Kevin Peterson and Jane Larson

Projected Opening: March 21

The team behind Detroit-based fragrance company Sfumato designed their Midtown storefront as a convertible space that easily transitions into a small, 18-seat bar in the evenings. On the menu, drinkers can expect a short list of cocktails that incorporate Sfumato scents for an enhanced sensory experience.

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Kiesling Bar

Location: 449 East Milwaukee Ave.

Key Players: Carlo Liburdi, Rich Perry, Rob Wilson

Projected Opening: Late-March/early April

This recently renovated cocktail lounge is set to make a splash in Detroit’s Milwaukee-Junction neighborhood very soon with a short list of original cocktails, beer, wine, and frozen drinks. The owners painstakingly restored the space while retaining its 1920s character and have assembled a top-notch bartending team that includes bar manager Rob Wilson (Selden Standard), Amanda Mentzer (La Rondinella), and Kaytee Querro (Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails). In the summer, the bar will also feature a patio hideaway.

Also Tracking:

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