Spring nearly here and just as Detroit begins to thaw out, a whole fleet of restaurants and bars are preparing to debut. This past season began with a flurry of new openings from Japanese izakaya Katsu in Woodbridge to Italian restaurant San Morello. However, the second half of the season was quite a bit quieter. Despite that minor lull in activity, there’s a whole lot of promising projects on the horizon for spring 2019 and beyond.
Coming up in the next few months, Detroit will likely see the debut of Astro Coffee sibling Ochre Bakery in Core City, as well as two intriguing bars on Bagley Street. The Shinola Hotel’s lingering restaurants Penny Red’s and the Brakeman are also nearly ready to make an entrance downtown. Farther north in Birmingham, chefs Takashi Yagihashi and Luciano DelSignore are collaborating on an exciting new restaurant called Pernoi. With a little luck, diners will also be filling booths and tables at Frita Batidos and Karl’s at the Siren Hotel. Construction timelines are a moving target in the restaurant world, but that’s no reason not to get excited. Here are the Detroit restaurants and bars to look forward to this spring.
Location: 4884 Grand River Ave.
Key Players: Jessica Hicks and Dai Hughes
Projected Opening: Likely in March
Corktown’s hit cafe Astro Coffee is expanding its operations to Core City. Owners Jessica Hicks and Dai Hughes have moved their fledgeling coffee roasting operations to the new space located across from forthcoming restaurant Magnet. Under the supervision of bread baker Max Leonard the ovens started heating up in January and baked goods from the new shop recently began making an appearance at Astro Coffee. Ochre Bakery will focus on naturally leavened breads using heritage grains with additional offerings like Australian-style meat pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches, and salads.
Shinola Hotel Restaurants
Location: 1400 Woodward Ave.
Key Players: Bedrock Detroit, Shinola, NoHo Hospitality
Opening Timeline: March/April
Detroit-branded company Shinola and partner Bedrock debuted a downtown Detroit hotel in late-2018 complete with restaurants and bars from New York-based restaurant hitmakers NoHo Hospitality. Italian restaurant anchor San Morello and high-end cocktail lounge Evening Bar came first. Soon they’ll be followed by a beer hall called the Brakeman and a fried chicken shop known as Penny Red’s. The hotel’s dining options will be rounded out by an outpost of Grand Rapids-based Madcap Coffee.
Location: 1509 Broadway
Key Players: ASH NYC, Kate Williams, and Matt Wang
Projected Opening: June
With a little bit of luck, visitors will be dining at a new spot inside the Siren Hotel this spring. Lady of the House chef Kate Williams and her partner in Candy Bar, Matt Wang, are looking to bring a “not-so-greasy spoon” called Karl’s to the hotel’s second floor. The name is a nod to the restaurant that Williams’ great-great grandparents owned on the east side of Detroit. The roughly 85-seat, all-day restaurant and bakery will showcase “American classics” such as doughnuts and ham sandwiches made with Lady of the House’s thin-cut Parisian ham. Representatives for ASH recently teased to Eater that like Candy Bar, Karl’s will incorporate a single (on-trend) color into the design: green. Karl’s will be followed up by a wine bar-touting Paramita Sound and piano karaoke bar Sid Gold’s Request Room this summer.
Location: 2547 Bagley St.
Key Players: Jacques Driscoll, Tony Lopez, Eddie Vargas, Carlos Diaz de Leon, Jose Maldonado, and Corey McIntosh
Projected Opening: March/April
Mexican restaurant and bar Peso is slated to land inside the former Fist of Curry space this spring, shoring up a corner that’s seen quite a bit of turnover in the last two years. The owners plan to offer a menu with options like burritos and tortas as well as lots of different styles of margaritas. Imbibers can also count on cantaritos, palomas, and sangria.
Location: 2545 Bagley St.
Key Players: Mike Ketelhut and Jacques Driscoll
Projected Opening: First week of April
Longtime Detroit bartender Mike Ketelhut plans to bring the former Our/Detroit Vodka space back to life with a punk rock aesthetic. Bagley Central is expected to serve a lineup of affordable cocktails and host DJs and musicians regularly. Ketelhut also plans to bring in local pop-up restaurants.
Location: 2135 Michigan Ave.
Key Players: Detroit Optimist Society
Projected Opening: Maybe spring
Corktown is gaining a new “Midwest-style” pizzeria very soon with the addition of Grandma Bob’s in the former Detroit Artifactry space. Work is well underway on the restaurant (previously referred to as White Star Pizza), which hosted a pop-up at Mutiny Bar last August. The restaurant recently revealed an impressive piece of interior pizza slice art by artist Jim Bachor that’s manufactured from glass and subway tile.
Location: 310 E Maple Rd.
Key Players: Takashi Yagihashi and Luciano DelSignore
Projected Opening: Spring
Culinary dream team Takashi Yagihashi and Luciano DelSignore will bring Pernoi to the shuttered Cafe Via space at 310 E Maple Rd. Yagihashi, who owns Slurping Turtle in Ann Arbor, helmed one of metro Detroit’s most celebrated restaurants, Tribute, before going on to open Michelin-starred Takashi in Chicago. He’s returning to Birmingham with partner and Bacco Ristorante owner DelSignore to open a restaurant focused on global cuisine,. The interior will reportedly be designed by Kyle Evans with a “luxury yacht” finish. Expectations are extremely high for this one.
Location: Columbia Street near Woodward Avenue
Key Players: Eve Aronoff
Projected Opening: June
After years of anticipation, Ann Arbor chef Eve Aronoff finally locked down a location for the Detroit outpost of her much loved Cuban burger restaurant Frita Batidos. Aronoff’s new restaurant is heading to a space next to the new Little Caesars compound in downtown Detroit. The restaurant would occupy a 2,400-square-foot space designed by architecture firm PUSH Design. It’s expected to offer Frita Batidos classics like the award-winning egg and fry-topped chorizo burgers, tropical shakes, pressed sandwiches, and churros.
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Location: 3700 Third St.
Key Players: LJ Nelson, Anitrah Nelson, Jem Frick, and Rayna Cook
Projected Opening: Spring
It’s been a long road for fast-casual slider restaurant Slyde. The restaurant owners originally intended to open in a space beside the forthcoming Motor City Brewing Works on the Avenue of Fashion. After a lot of delays, the group eventually found a new home in Cass Corridor and made it to the final four in 2018’s Comerica Hatch Detroit small business contest. If all goes well, customers will be eating gourmet sliders in Slyde’s new brick-and-mortar space this season.
- Restaurateur Adam Merkel is bringing Pinky’s Rooftop to Royal Oak in April complete lots of pink decor, a statue from New Orleans, cocktails, and a lineup of small plates. Rooftop bars are a rarity in the region, so this is one to watch.
- Coffee trailer Drifter Coffee is shacking up with Gooseneck Coffee Co. in a two-story Ferndale space. The cafe is expected to debut in early spring.
- A new bar and flower shop serving floral beers and wines called Garden Flora is aiming to open in Virginia Park this spring.
- Anthology Coffee is heading to a new space in Eastern Market, with plans to open in March or April.
- New Center Eatery is slated to reopen sometime this spring on Woodward Avenue.
- Detroit Vineyards will open a massive wine, cider, and mead tasting room in Eastern Market in May.
- Treat Dreams Dessert Emporium will reopen with giant ice cream sandwiches in Ferndale this spring.
- A new restaurant called Frenchies is taking over the La Boheme space in West Village and sporting some new signage.
- An Asian restaurant called Pao Detroit is reportedly setting up shop near Grand Circus Park this spring.
- A new cocktail lounge and art space Barter is on track to open in March or April in Hamtramck.
- The reincarnated Como’s will return to Ferndale under new management in mid-April.
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