Fast-casual slider restaurant Slyde appears to have found its home. The restaurant, that’s been in the works since 2016, has faced numerous roadblocks in its development over the years, leaping from the former Hunter’s Supper Club on the Avenue of Fashion to a space in Cass Corridor. Now, Slyde is in the process of settling into a former bank building along Kercheval Avenue in West Village. The owners tell Eater that it could open as soon as October, barring any more delays.
“It sounds cliche, but It truly is about the journey,” says LJ Nelson, a founding partner in the restaurant. He has watched the restaurant face challenge after challenge in the road to opening, but says he feels like West Village was the neighborhood they were meant to end up in and that they have the team Slyde were meant to open with. “Say we had been in Midtown, we might be closed now because of lack of traffic,” Nelson points out.
Slyde currently counts six full partners in the business including two new additions to the group, general manager Justice Akuezue and chef Davante Burnley. Akuezue was previously brought on to manage the restaurant and then introduced Burnley to the owners after the original chef dropped out of the project. Both are now co-owners who will manage the day-to-day operations at the West Village restaurant. The pair also work together through their pop-up and catering business, the Exchange.
While the location and the owners underwent shake ups multiple times over the years, the vision for Slyde remains nearly identical to the original plans: a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant and local beer-focused bar with an affordable, eclectic menu of sliders and sides.
The pandemic has also spurred Slyde’s team to think about different ways to serve customers and make them feel comfortable. The restaurant will fill the full ground floor of a bank building, previously occupied by Brix, Detroit Body Garage, and the Good Rug, and will feature a carryout walkup area called the “Slyde-thru.” The owners also plan to create a more robust outdoor seating area and beer garden with green space in the parking lot to allow for more open air social distancing. The restaurant will also offer retail options for customers who want to purchase beers, spice blends, sauces, and other ingredients from Slyde to make their own meal at home. Eventually, Slyde will offer local delivery.
“[We’re] bolstering what we’re really good at,” Nelson says. “I think we were kind of designed from the beginning as, “How [do we] get our food out the door?” he adds, noting that Slyde was developed as a better alternative to fast food for Detroiters. Nelson says the group hopes to expand to other locations within the city as they become more established in the community.
While the official opening won’t happen until the fall, Slyde is trying to get a feel for the area and get feedback on its menu and service ahead of time by hosting a series of “Slyde-thru” pop-ups. The first in that series is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 25 at 7960 Kercheval Ave. People interested in trying out the restaurant’s preview menu can register online to help the restaurant get a headcount for food prep and place orders online.
The menu include options like Southwest black bean sliders with avocado aioli, jalapeno, tomato, and pepperjack cheese and Pub Chicken sliders with fried chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese sauce, and pickles. Seasoned steak fries and pineapple rum wings are also available.
Clarification: A previous version of this story characterized the Slyde-thru as a drive-thru. The description has been adjusted to state that it’s a carryout area.