The hotly anticipated Detroit outpost of Ann Arbor’s beloved Cuban burger restaurant Frita Batidos is on track to arrive by mid-July. Chef Eve Aronoff tells Eater that the restaurant is entering the final stretch on construction and will begin training staff later next month to prepare for the opening of Frita and the wider Columbia Street promenade.
Aronoff’s new restaurant will fill a 2,400-square-foot space — nearly twice the room of the original location — along that pedestrian walkway near the Fox Theatre and the forthcoming Little Caesars World Headquarters. Designed by architecture firm PUSH Design with input from University of Michigan assistant professor of architecture Neal Robinson, the Detroit location will seat 96 customers inside with a 45 seat patio looking out on the newly completed promenade.
Aronoff is also putting the additional space to good use by building a larger kitchen and expanding the restaurant’s menu. Core items like the egg-topped chorizo burgers, crispy plantains, and creamy tropical milkshakes will be serve alongside newer items like guava-cheese empanadas and sliced fruit seasoned with lime and chili. Several of the crowd favorite seasonal specials at Frita in Ann Arbor, such as chicken and salsa verde, are also making a leap to the new menu. Those dishes will be served in the form of sandwiches, coconut-ginger rice bowls, and salads. During high-traffic hours such as game days at Comerica Park and Ford Field, Frita Batidos will offer an express menu.
Aronoff says she’s also looking forward to expanding the bar menu at Frita Batidos in Detroit, too. The new location will serve Frita classics like mojitos and sangria sold by-the-glass and in shareable fishbowls as well as a broader list of seasonal cocktails. Frita will also have four draft beers on rotation.
Opening Frita in Detroit has been a multi-year pursuit for Aronoff, who was looking into locations for a second restaurant as far back as 2015. The restaurant group came close to signing a lease on several occasions along the way, but each time the deal fell through. When Aronoff saw the vacancy in Olympia Development’s Columbia Street project, she says that something clicked. “We had a conversation with the landlord and we just really hit it off,” she says. “Everyone has their own opinions about their landlord, but we have a wonderful relationship and hit it off from day one and they’ve been incredible to work with for us.”
When it opens this summer, Frita will be joined by other retail shops and restaurants including Sahara Restaurant & Grill. Stay tuned for more updates as the project moves forward.