Southwest Detroit locals, Julie and Jason Stevens, have axed plans to open Guanajuato-style Mexican restaurant, Detroit Loves Tacos to the North End, but there’s another outpost scheduled to arrive in the new year.
Owner and cook Julie Stevens tells Eater that she has cancelled plans for her John R. Road restaurant after failing to come to terms on a lease agreement, buildout, menu, and name of the business with landlord Steven Harris. Now, she wants to make sure customers are aware that she’s no longer operating out of the space, as a new Mexican-influenced pop-up by AJ On The Block has filled the address, causing some confusion.
Stevens’ pop-up, which runs out of her husband’s family’s bar Nancy Whiskey Pub in North Corktown, became wildly popular this year for its version of the ultra trendy dish, birria de res tacos — which feature tender stewed beef in a tortilla that’s dipped into a cup of consommé.
While popping up in the North End, Stevens also experimented with adding vegetarian options to the menu like potato and soy chorizo tacos. She’s since added Puerto Rican and Cuban items to her menu based off her experiences in Miami, including empanadas (some filled with pizza toppings) and Cuban sandwiches with her own recipe for mustard. Stevens says many of her dishes are things her mother and grandmother taught her how to cook. “I cook with love. I don’t put anything in front of people that I wouldn’t serve my family,” she says.
While the John R. location fell through, she’s also been busy striking up a deal for a more permanent space on Fort Street in the West Side Industrial area of Detroit. That spot, located inside the Happy 4 Liquor party store across from Detroit’s main post office, is schedule to open on Tuesday, January 5. While Nancy Whiskey’s is closed during the indoor dining shutdown, Detroit Loves Tacos will also continue popping up there.
Stay tuned for more updates as the projects move forward.