Metro Detroit chef Matt Baldridge operated the Conserva for two years on Nine Mile Road before shuttering the project last December. Prior to that Baldridge worked in a variety of kitchens including Cliff Bell’s, the Rattlesnake Club, and Seldom Blues. He also ran a traveling dining series called Dinner Club Pop-Up, which made regular appearances at the former Menagerie Kitchen in Pontiac. “Chef Baldridge and his team will continue to work closely with Detroit-area growers and local farms to develop the best cuisine possible based on the season,” the restaurants’ management states in a release.
Republic and Parks & Rec have a long record of staff turnover. Baldridge is the latest in a series of highly regarded chefs to helm the two restaurants. Chef Kate Williams, now chef and owner of Lady of the House and Candy Bar, helped open Republic in February 2015 and made a sudden exit just a few months after the restaurant opened. She was succeeded by sous chef Sarah Welch, who shepherded Parks & Rec through its opening. Welch, who has since gone on to open Eater Award-winning restaurant Marrow in West Village, was ousted in March 2017 and replaced by sous chefs Matt Currie and Allie Lyttle. Lyttle was fired last May.