Chef George Azar of Flowers of Vietnam is bringing a new Mexican restaurant to the historic, turreted Grosfield Building, Crain’s reports. The as-of-yet unnamed restaurant is expected to land sometime in 2020, signaling another major development in the evolution of the Michigan Avenue corridor.
Located at the corner of Michigan and 23rd, the Grosfield Building dates back to the late 1800s when it housed a hardware store. As recently as 2017, the property had sustained significant damage with parts of the brick walls crumbling in a windstorm, according to Curbed. A year later, the property became the target of a redevelopment project, which finally appears to be coming to fruition.
Azar is once again partnering with Zingerman’s co-founder Paul Saginaw on the project, which will span 3,200-square-foot restaurant and seat roughly 80 people. The chef intends to highlight Mexican cuisines from regions that are “underrepresented” in Detroit such as Oaxaca.
Azar grew up in Southwest Detroit and returned to the area several years ago to transform the former Vernor Coney Island into a weekends-only Vietnamese restaurant pop-up called Flowers of Vietnam. Partnering with Saginaw, Azar renovated the restaurant in 2017 and reopened it January 2018.
The news marks yet another sign that business owners are beginning to look beyond Corktown and down Michigan Avenue into Southwest. Azar’s Mexican restaurant will be located roughly equidistant Takoi to the East and Hygrade Deli to the west. Farther down, restaurateur Dave Kwiatkowski recently revealed plans for a sushi bar and Korean pub just a stone’s throw from La Noria and El Barzon.