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A James Beard Award Winner Is Bringing Three New Dining Spots to the Top of Detroit’s RenCen

The Highlands will feature a steakhouse, a whiskey bar, and a casual beer bar with open-fire cooking

A photo of the Renaissance Center at twilight looking northeast up Jefferson Avenue. The sky is pink and blue.
Chef Shawn McClain will open a steakhouse, a whiskey bar, and a open-fire cooking restaurant and beer bar in the GM RenCen this fall.
Ryan Gobuty / Gensler [Courtesy photo]

Three new high-rise restaurants and bars with views of the waterfront and downtown are scheduled debut in Detroit this fall. James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain in a release today confirmed plans for his forthcoming food and beverage projects collectively called the Highlands. The restaurant and bar projects, which are being developed in partnership with Sarah and Richard Camarota, are scheduled to debut sometime in November at the top of the GM Renaissance Center, the Detroit Free Press first reports.

McClain had previously revealed plans to open multiple restaurants, bars, and an events space on the sprawling 71st and 72nd floors of the RenCen — an area once home to Coach Insignia. The release today from McClain Camarota Hospitality lays out the details of those previously unnamed projects. They include two restaurants, one bar, and an events space. Here’s a rundown of what’s coming to the Highlands:

  • Highlands Steakhouse: This high-end, 140-seat American and Mediterranean-influenced steakhouse will be helmed by chef Scott Garthwaite and focus on locally raised beef prepared in an open kitchen with a wine list developed by master sommelier Nick Hetzel.
  • Hearth 71: A smaller, more casual counterpart to the steakhouse, the 60-seat Hearth 71 will specialize in “open-fire cooking” and beer. The menu is expected to features options like roasted Amish chicken with honey butter biscuits, fried walleye, and charcuterie boards.
  • High Bar: Find 14-seats and lots of whiskey at this cocktail lounge headed by bartender Tony Abou-Ganim. The drinks will be paired with a variety of desserts.
  • Highlands Events: The developers are also dedicating a large section of the floor plan to a huge private events space with room for 240 people.

The Highlands represents a first step by McClain Camarota Hospitality’s into the metro Detroit market. The group is known for its Las Vegas restaurants and bars including Libertine Social, Sage, and Five50Pizza Bar. Prior to opening restaurants in Vegas, McClain co-owned a successful restaurant in Chicago called Spring and received a James Beard Award for Best Chef: Midwest for his work there in 2006.

The Highlands is part of a mini revival of Detroit’s high-rise dining destinations. The Monarch Club opened to the public this spring and has quickly become a popular spot for drinks with a view. Other projects such as Pinky’s in Royal Oak and Cøllect in Eastern Market have also embraced rooftops.

If all goes well, the Highlands projects could open sometime around November 15. Stay tuned for more updates and check out a teaser trailer for the Highlands below:

Chef Shawn McClain Reveals Details, Opening Date for New Restaurants Atop the RenCen [Freep]
James Beard Award-Winner Shawn McClain Brings High-Rise Restaurant to the RenCen [ED]
All Eater Tracking Coverage [ED]

Highlands Steakhouse

Renaissance Center 72nd Floor, Detroit, MI 48243

Hearth 71

400 Renaissance Center 71st Floor, Detroit, MI 48243

High Bar

Renaissance Center 71 floor, Detroit, MI 48243

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