The fall restaurant opening rush in Detroit has officially begun. Many long-anticipated spots are preparing to unveil freshly completed spaces and enticing menus within the next few weeks. Several establishments that were expecting to open this summer, such as chef Eve Aronoff’s Cuban-influenced burger restaurant Frita Batidos, are now on track for a September debut. Birmingham’s splashy Japanese-Italian restaurant Pernoi is also poised to open in the next two weeks.
This season, Detroiters can also look forward to seafood and wine at Mink, a new Belgian-style brewery in Islandview, three big restaurants and bars from chef Shawn McClain, and a downtown outpost of Buddy’s Pizza. Without further delay, here now is a guide to fall’s biggest restaurant and bar openings. Don’t miss Eater’s national guide to fall 2019 openings.
Location: 1701 Trumbull Ave.
Key Players: Nest Egg, LLC and chef Cameron Rolka
Projected Opening: Mid-October
Chef Cameron Rolka and the team from newly formed restaurant group Nest Egg plan to open a 20-seat wine bar and restaurant in the former Farmer’s Hand space in Corktown. During recent pop-ups at the Royce, Rolka teased options like oysters on the half-shell, vegetarian braised burdock rolls, and lobster rolls. An upcoming dinner at Frame features buckwheat blinis with caviar and chilled beetroot soup.
Location: 1249 Griswold St.
Key Players: Samy Eid and Sameer Eid
Projected Opening: Late-September
Metro Detroit’s celebrated fine-dining Lebanese restaurant Phoenicia will gain a more casual downtown Detroit sibling in Leila. The restaurant is heading to the ground floor of the Farwell Building overlooking Capitol Park. The 4,500-square-foot space on the south side of the property will seat 130 patrons with a basement level, 20-person private dining room and lounge. The restaurant is expected to focus on Lebanese mezze served family-style as well as seafood, Lebanese grilled meat dishes called mashawi, and a Phoenicia favorite — dry-rubbed pork ribs.
Location: 310 E Maple Rd.
Key Players: Takashi Yagihashi and Luciano DelSignore
Projected Opening: Early September
Culinary dream team Takashi Yagihashi and Luciano DelSignore will bring Pernoi to the shuttered Cafe Via space in downtown Birmingham. Yagihashi, who previously owned Slurping Turtle in Ann Arbor, helmed one of metro Detroit’s most celebrated restaurants, Tribute, before going on to open Michelin-starred Takashi in Chicago. He’s returning to Birmingham with partner and Bacco owner DelSignore to open a restaurant focused on global cuisine. The interior will reportedly be designed by Kyle Evans with a “luxury yacht” finish. Expectations are extremely high for this one.
Location: 1565 Broadway St.
Key Players: Buddy’s
Projected Opening: Late-fall
Buddy’s got its start on Conant Street in Detroit and has pretty much focused on expansions to the suburbs since then. But this fall, the original Detroit-style pizza restaurant will make its way into downtown Detroit for the first time with a 200-seat location near in the M@dison Building that features dine-in seating and a grab-and-go area with square pizza by-the-slice.
Location: 6568 Woodward Ave.
Key Players: Mamba Hamissi and Nadia Nijimbere
Projected Opening: Maybe fall
This East African restaurant owned by refugees from Burundi is set to anchor the corner of Grand Boulevard and Woodward Avenue in New Center. The 2017 Hatch Detroit winners plan to open a casual 65-seat restaurant serving breakfast and lunch with options like coconut rice, goat, chicken and skewered meats, as well as plantains, fried sweet potatoes, and cassava. The owners are currently hosting pop-ups around metro Detroit and with a little luck the restaurant could open this fall.
Location: 1087 Beaufait St.
Key Players: Rachel and Paul Szlaga
Projected Opening: Early October
Islandview is set to gain a big, new Belgian-style brewery this fall. After several years of development, Brewery Faisan is on track to debut this fall. Owners Rachel and Paul Szlaga are already breaking in their brewing equipment at the 9,000-square-foot production facility at taproom on the east side.
Location: Renaissance Center (floors 71 and 72)
Key Players: Shawn McClain and Sarah and Richard Camarota
Projected Opening: November
It doesn’t get much splashier than the Highlands, a collection of three restaurants and bars from Vegas chef Shawn McClain’s restaurant group. Highlands Steakhouse, a casual open-fire cooking spot called Hearth 71, and a whiskey spot called High Bar are all filling the old Coach Insignia space in the Renaissance Center. The Highlands will also dedicate substantial square-footage to events space.
Location: 1811 Parker St.
Key Players: Esteban Castro
Projected Opening: November/December
Beloved Detroit taco pop-up Esto’s Garage is aiming to debut this fall at its new home in West Village. The tiny taqueria will have a vintage aesthetic with mid-century furniture and tin ceilings. Diners can expect a handful of pantry items to be available for sale as well as a casual Mexican-American menu with options like owner Esteban Castro’s All City Chili, nachos, tacos, quesadillas, and rice bowls.
Location: 644 Selden St.
Key Players: Mission Restaurant Group
Projected Opening: September
Jon Carlson, owner of Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak Brewing Company, and partners Greg Lobdell and Chet Czaplicka are bringing a New American restaurant and beer hall to the Smith Welding Supply building in Cass Corridor. The menu features items like chorizo empanadas, corned beef sandwiches, and seared trout. The restaurant will also eventually offer beers from neighboring Nain Rouge Brewery and other small Michigan brewers. A new outpost of Barcade is also expected to debut on the same block.
Location: 51 West Forest Ave.
Key Players: Jordan Whitmore and Rebecca Wurster
Projected Opening: End of September
Two Chef’s Table alums chef Jordan Whitmore and bartender Rebecca Wurster are teaming up to open a new French-influenced diner called Savant. The pair are in the process of converting the former Bolero Latin Cuisine space into a restaurant and bar serving dollar oysters, croissant biscuits and gravy, vegan fruit carpaccio, and caviar “bumps.” Wurster is filling out the beverage menu with eclectic drinks such as a gruyere-infused cocktail.
Location: 14300 E. Jefferson Ave.
Key Players: Gary Mui and Alicia Sanchez
Projected Opening: Late-October
The Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood is gaining a casual fusion restaurant called Alma Kitchen this fall in the Kresge building. Owners Gary Mui and Alicia Sanchez will serve a menu that combines American, Chinese, and Mexican flavors in an 84-seat space with Art Deco features. Diners can expect options like almond boneless chicken and scallion waffles — a mashup of the popular Chinese-American restaurant item and Chinese scallion pancakes.
Location: 1439 W Elizabeth St.
Key Players: Kristen Calverley and Nate Peck
Projected Opening: November
Folks can already try Michigan & Trumbull’s version of Detroit-style pizza at Fort Street Galley in downtown, but more is still to come. Metro Detroit natives Kristen Calverley and Nate Peck returned to the city this summer from Pittsburgh in order to open a full-service pizzeria devoted to square slices. The restaurant is headed to Corktown not far from the corner that inspired Michigan & Trumbull’s name.
Location: 4848 Grand River Ave.
Key Players: Chef Brad Greenhill and Philip Kafka
Projected Opening: Fall
The team behind Takoi is aiming to bring a new “vegetable centric” restaurant called Magnet to Core City in August. The restaurant, located across from Ochre Bakery inside the former Magnet Radiator Works building, will feature dishes primarily cooked on a wood-fired grill and in a wood-burning oven. The interior, designed by Ishtiaq Rafiuddin, will feature 14-foot-high exposed ceilings with an open kitchen at the back of the space and a 32-foot-long rectangular bar that will be “sunken” into the ground.
Location: 4870 Cass Ave.
Key Players: Mike Ransom
Projected Opening: Fall
Chef Mike Ransom’s Eater Award-winning Corktown noodle bar Ima is preparing to expand to a third restaurant inside the Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Brewz space near Wayne State University. The restaurant is expected to feature Ima’s core menu of udon noodles and rice bowls as well as an expanded list of izakaya-style options, fried foods, and grab-and-go items.
Location: 1375 Michigan Ave.
Key Players: Brian Siegel and Geoff Kretchmer
Projected Opening: Late-fall/early winter
Detroit’s list of bar and entertainment venues is expanding this fall with new outposts of Detroit Axe and the Corner. The ax-throwing venue and board game bar is heading to a 7,000-square-foot property near Nemo’s in Corktown. Like their Ferndale predecessors, Detroit Axe and the Corner will feature a full bar, 16 axe-chucking lanes, and 1,000 board games. The owners are diverging slightly from the original format by hosting a full-time food truck rather than operating a kitchen.
Location: Columbia Street
Key Players: Eve Aronoff
Projected Opening: mid-July
It’s relatively rare for a burger restaurant to get too much fanfare in Detroit these days. As some have pointed out, this city has a lot of good burger restaurants already. But diners seem willing to make an exception for Frita Batidos, chef Eve Aronoff’s wildly popular Ann Arbor restaurant known for its Cuban-influenced chorizo burgers. The new outpost located near the Fox Theatre seats 96 customers inside with a 45-seat patio. Diners can expect the burgers as well as tropical milkshakes, guava-cheese empanadas, and options like chicken and salsa verde. Frita also features a full bar with shareable fishbowl cocktails.
Location: 17740 Woodward Ave.
Key Players: Meiko Krishok
Projected Opening: Mid-September
Catering company Guerrilla Food, which operates the charming farmside food truck Pink Flamingo in North Corktown, is opening a new carryout restaurant and commissary kitchen near Palmer Park in September. The restaurant called Pink Flamingo To-Go is located inside a former Bread Basket Deli and will offer grab-and-go items, Hyperion Coffee, a hot bar, and a juice bar year-round.
- Wine bar and record shop Paramita Sound is set to make its official debut on Friday, September 6 in downtown Detroit.
- A new wine bar may land in Southwest Detroit this fall in a former fire station.
- Ohio-based taco chain Condado Tacos is opening another outpost in Detroit this fall.
- A New Orleans-influenced restaurant Gabriel Hall is now on track for a spring opening in West Village.
- Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails is looking for a new chef ahead of its anticipated opening on the east side.
- A new bar called Gent appears to be in the works below Lady of the House in Corktown.
- Construction on the Gathering Coffee Co. in the North End is expected to begin soon in time for a December opening.
- Motorburger is working to open inside Detroit Shipping Co. by the end of the year.
- Work is underway at Tenacity Brewing Company’s new Tenacity Craft bar and cafe in Virginia Park.
- Beyond Juice is on track to open a new juice bar this fall in New Center.
- Restaurant, bar, and live music chain Tin Roof is expected to arrive inside the former Cheli’s Chili building this fall.
- Stunt food chain Poke Burri is on track to open this fall in the former Le Petit Zinc space.
- White Wolf Patisserie is opening in September in Clawson.
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