The developer behind Takoi and the True North Quonset hut community, revealed new details this week about upcoming projects in Core City including an interior rendering for chef Brad Greenhill’s and Prince Concepts founder Philip Kafka’s next restaurant project, Magnet.
The restaurant, previously teased last year, is heading to the former Magnet Radiator Works building at 4848 Grand River Ave. on the same block as Architectural Salvage Warehouse. Kafka and Greenhill are aiming to create a neighborhood restaurant. “The core of the menu is vegetables and things that you want to eat every day,” Kafka tells Eater. Equipment in the kitchen will be limited to a wood-fired grill and a wood-burning oven. “It’s an exercise in simplicity,” he says. In addition to the regular menu of vegetable dishes, Magnet will offer rotating daily specials or “indulgences,” as Kafka refers to them, such as pizza, burgers, steak, and even Chinese food.
Kafka and Greenhill are once again collaborating with Takoi designer Ishtiaq Rafiuddin on the 2,100-square-foot space. Being a former garage, the building shares many similarities to Takoi’s structure including cinderblock walls and a rectangular space. “I see like dozens and dozens of abandoned garages all over the city and they’re overlooked, [because] there isn’t a use for them that is viable, perhaps,” Rafiuddin says. “It’s very fascinating for us and to be able to work on a second one... and to put life back into it.”
Rafiuddin is taking a minimalist, industrial approach to the design of Magnet. The restaurant will feature 14-foot-high exposed ceilings with an open kitchen at the back of the space and large windows framing a park that Kafka is developing on a neighboring property. All together, the restaurant will seat roughly 80 customers at a mixture of booths and bar stools. The restaurant design includes plans for two communal booths seating between 10 and 12 customers. Three containers will serve as extra storage for the restaurant.
At the center of the space is a large 32-foot-long rectangular bar that will be “sunken” into the ground, so that diners at the bar, the bartenders, and customers sitting at the surrounding booths will all be at eye level. “Everyone in this restaurant and will be able to see each other at any given point, because it’s a completely open restaurant,” Rafiuddin says. “There’s an element of theater in the design.” The interior will include walnut, tile, and metal finishes with lighting focused on the tables. Plans for the exterior are still in development, but Magnet may eventually feature some outdoor seating next to the park.
Beyond Magnet, Kafka is also developing several buildings in the surrounding area including the Sawtooth. That property will house multiple businesses including a commissary kitchen that will handle cooking education, prep, and whole animal butchery for Takoi and Magnet and a new shop called Ochre Bakery from the owners of Astro Coffee. Across the street at True North, Kafka is also in the process of converting one of the quonset huts into a private dining space.
Design plans for Magnet are close to being finalized and Rafiuddin estimates that permitting proposals will be submitted in June. Kafka is anticipating a December opening for the restaurant. Stay tuned for updates as the project moves forward.
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