After just over two years in northwest Detroit, Caribbean-influenced restaurant River Bistro has closed its doors. The Rosedale Park restaurant owned by chef Maxcel Hardy cited ongoing road work along Grand Avenue as one of the major factors that contributed to the closing.
“Regretfully, and after sincere thought and consideration, we’ve decided to set our sights on new goals,” Hardy says in a release. “The past two years operating River Bistro have been amazing and would not have been possible without the support from the Grandmont-Rosedale community. Our neighbors welcomed us with open hearts, and for that, we will be forever grateful.”
River Bistro opened in August 2017 and was chef Hardy’s first restaurant in Detroit. He followed it up with Caribbean chicken stall Coop at Detroit Shipping Company in July 2018. A representative for Hardy tells Eater that construction had been taking place along Grand River Avenue in front of River Bistro for roughly four weeks and had severely impacted foot traffic. Hardy shared a photos of the road work, equipment, and orange cones with “No Parking” signs posted on them to River Bistro’s Facebook page on September 7 with the caption, “What the hell City of Detroit current situation at River Bistro.”
The lack of foot traffic was compounded by other factors including the location. Hardy suspended weekday service at River Bistro in July 2018 to focus on brunch service and operations at Coop, but had recently returned to serving food Wednesday through Sunday.
Hardy was recently named among 16 black chefs changing food in America by the New York Times. The chef returned to Detroit from successful stints as a private chef to musicians and NBA players in 2017 with the goal of opening not one but three restaurants. Two of those business — River Bistro and Coop — obviously came to fruition, while perhaps the most ambitious project, Honey, is still on the drawing board.
“We’ve come to realize that we need to focus our efforts on other endeavors and open up the possibility to present new, exciting ideas in the food space,” Hardy adds. “We’re excited about what’s on the horizon and hope to offer River Bistro patrons another opportunity for unique food experiences in the city soon.”
• River Bistro Brings Caribbean Comfort Food Flavors to Rosedale Park [ED]
• Chef Max Hardy’s River Bistro Debuts August 13 in Rosedale Park [ED]
• Max Hardy to Open Three Detroit Restaurants in the Next Year [ED]
• All River Bistro Coverage [ED]