It’s not every day that a designer gets to reinvent a former Hooters, but that’s just the task that Ann Stevenson took on when she set out to create the interior at southeast Michigan restaurant group Union Joints’ new Latin American-inspired restaurant. Gran Castor opened its doors last week in Troy inside the former breastaurant building anchoring the corner of Big Beaver and Rochester roads.
Stevenson’s past projects including Vinsetta Garage typically focus buildings with a certain amount of historical character, but with Gran Castor, she was able to branch out and create something all her own. “I have to say this was the most fun that I’ve had with a design project for sure, because I didn’t have to be reverential to any history,” she says.
The result is an eclectic combination of decor that Stevenson describes as a quilt with “seemingly disparate elements stitched together.” The restaurant seats 245 people including a patio area and features three distinct spaces. A small cafe near the restaurant’s entrance serves coffee, espresso drinks, juices, and pastries all day in an area decked out in pink cactus printed wallpaper.
Customers who may have visited the previous tenant will find an orange fireplace still anchors the dining room — though it’s now surrounded by plush lounge furniture and decorated with Aztec-inspired designs. A mixture of booths and a lunch counter surround the main restaurant space with garage doors. In the bar area, Stevenson mixed and matched a variety of materials from boldly patterned red cement tiles to a wall plastered with Mexican wrestling posters as well as barn wood leftover from the Wagon Wheel Saloon.
While many of the interior elements and fixtures are new, Stevenson also found creative ways to reuse items leftover at the building such as two false palm trees on the patio that she had painted flat black. The facade was also upgraded using concrete fiber over the older plaster. In addition to the main dining spaces and bar, Gran Castor also features a private dining area with seats 32 people.
On the menu at Gran Castor, look out for items like a tequila-brined half chicken, carne asada pizza, curried oxtail tacos, and grilled avocado salad. For dessert there’s options like honey citrus skillet cake, chocolate flan, and soft serve ice cream. The restaurant also serves plenty of drinks including frozen margaritas, frosé, and beer. Gran Castor is now open for dinner and will be ramping up service over the next few weeks to include the all-day cafe, breakfast, and lunch service. Take a tour of the restaurant in the gallery below.
The Dining Room
The Private Dining Room
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