Greektown newcomer Friend & Associate has unceremoniously thrown in the towel after less than two months of business. The restaurant closed its doors last weekend and is currently undergoing a four-week renovation with plans to return as an extension of rooftop bar and club Delmar, the Detroit News reports.
Since the opening on July 24 in the former Santorini Estiatorio, it seemed like Friend & Associate had suffered from an identity crisis. Based on name alone it could have easily been mistaken for a law office or an accounting firm. Opening chef Christopher Johnson’s menu eschewed Greek food in favor of New American dishes such as dinner rolls on trendy cast iron pans, sauteed rainbow trout, and duck fat fried chicken wings. Everything was initially paired with a cocktail-focused bar program, but it was later scaled back.
Friend & Associate’s partners were also involved in rooftop bar Delmar, so the ownership isn’t changing. An investor told the Detroit News that the switch was the result of customer demands for “more Delmar.” When it returns, the restaurant will be headed by Public House alum, Jasmine Hughes.
Although Greektown is a hotspot for visitors to Detroit, the district hasn’t experienced the same resurgence as other popular downtown areas. The area in some sense lacks a cohesive identity with due, in part, to an influx of chains and non-Greek restaurants. However, business owners hope to bring some strategic updates to the neighborhood in the coming years. On Wednesday, the Greektown Neighborhood Partnership released a rough plan for improvements to the district that would introduce more mixed-use buildings and public spaces.