Forget chicken wings. The owners of Vinsetta Garage are preparing to bring a Latin American restaurant to the former Hooters space at the corner of Big Beaver and Rochester Rd. Union Joints restaurant group founders Curt Catallo and Ann Stevenson tell Eater the restaurant called Gran Castor (“great beaver” in Spanish) will open by early summer in Troy.
Union Joints is known for transforming unique and historic properties into restaurants such as the church that houses Clarkston Union and the fire station used for Fenton Fire Hall. Stevenson says the new project is her first crack at creating something entirely new outside of the confines restoration. “There’s no restrictions historically,” she says. “A lot of my design is usually informed by prohibitive rules, which I’m happy to work around. But in this case anything is possible.”
Union Joints was introduced to the property by the owners of Sign of the Beefcarver in Royal Oak, who purchased the building at 2950 Rochester Rd. back when it was still home to the Wagon Wheel Saloon. When Hooters vacated the space in January, Catallo and Stevenson decided to take it over. Repurposing a Hooters has “been a pipe dream of mine that thought it was unattainable,” Stevenson says jokingly.
When renovations are completed the restaurant will seat roughly 180 diners. Plans call for a similar footprint to the Wagon Wheel Saloon and Hooters. Gran Castor will have a lounge area, a full bar, and a cafe space featuring coffee beans from Union Joint’s other Latin American-influenced Clarkston restaurant Honcho.
While the menu is still in development, diners can expect options like barbacoa sticky ribs, papas con chorizo pie, and fugazetta — an Argentinian-style stuffed pizza baked in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven. Catallo says that the Troy restaurant has more kitchen space, allowing the chefs to delve more into explore more South American cuisine. “It’s an evolution of Honcho but not a clone,” Catallo says. The cafe will open slightly earlier in the day and the restaurant open for lunch and dinner.
Union Joints expansion to Troy is significant given that the restaurant group already has several other major projects in the works including a restaurant at 8MK in Oak Park and another at the Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center in Detroit. The couple confirms that both projects are moving forward, albeit slowly due to the daunting nature of those historic renovations. 8MK has received site plan approvals and the Brewster Wheeler project is getting nearer to finalizing its plans. “It’s such a beast of a project that its required super careful baby steps,” Catallo says of Brewster Wheeler.
Still, Catallo and Stevenson are confident in their team. “We’ve been able to grow internally while bringing some great people into the fray,” Catallo says. Stay tuned for more updates as the Gran Castor gets closer to opening.