A neighborhood “American fusion” restaurant is poised to open near East Village and the Joseph Berry subdivision in Detroit this year. Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails is nearing the finish line on construction as part of a five-year-long redevelopment project of a building at 9205 E Jefferson Ave. Developer Nya Marshall is behind the restaurant, which aims to bring a refined, casual dining to an area without many options beyond fast food.
Marshall, who has a background in automotive engineering and finance, purchased several commercial properties and lots in 2014 with the goal of stabilizing and developing them. Although she had some experience with rehabbing homes, the Detroit native says that the circa 1928 building that Ivy will reside in was bigger than any project she had undertaken before. The foundation was in good condition and the roof only required minor repairs; however, the rest of the building after roughly 30 years of vacancy required significant investment. “The whole front was missing. It was just open,” she recalls. “It didn’t have walls. It didn’t have any electricity. There was no plumbing and no HVAC. There was no nothing.”
As she began to undertake the construction project, Marshall says she also reached out to the community in the surrounding neighborhood to do some market research about the types of businesses people might want to see in the building. Many neighbors expressed an interest in a sit-down restaurant that could offer something beyond coney island diner food. Marshall, who has some experience working in restaurants, agreed that her adopted neighborhood on the east side was lacking food options. “I said to myself, ‘I’m a person that wants to do well and add value to the community and if this is direction that I have to go in, this is what I’m going to do,” she says.
The 60-seat restaurant occupies just over 2,000-square-feet in the redeveloped brick building. Marshall designed the interior herself and says it will incorporate a mixture of golds, antique whites, caramels, and navy blues into the overall color scheme with marble, porcelain, and ceramic tile. Customers will enter into the dining room filled with velvet-upholstered banquette seating leading back to a 12-seat bar and semi-open kitchen.
While Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails is working with a chef, Marshall declined to provide a name at this time. She says that diners can expect a menu with options such as wagyu beef burgers, hand cut french fries, and goat cheese and beet salad. Dishes will rotate seasonally with a mixture of classic American, Caribbean, Mexican, and Italian food. On the beverage side, Marshall says that Ivy will serve cocktails made with fresh mixers and emphasize classics like dirty martinis with blue cheese. The restaurant is expected to open for lunch and dinner service with a reduced late-night menu from 10 p.m. to midnight.
As Ivy nears its opening, Marshall is beginning to work on plans for developing her second, larger 10,000-square-foot building on the block. “I am actually currently seeking capital to raise funds to redevelop that space,” she says. Her plans for that building call for a coffee and wine bar with space for a business incubator as well as a parking lot and patio.
If all goes according to plan, Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails is on track to open this summer.
Stay tuned for more updates as the project moves forward.