More than a year after purchasing the beleaguered Antihero izakaya in Ferndale, the Hometown Restaurant Group is gearing up to open an eatery with a similar theme, Tigerlily. The new spot at 231 W. Nine Mile opens to the public on Wednesday, Aug. 10, and will feature Edomae-style sushi, shareable small plates, and robata “fireside cooking.”
According to a news release published late last week, helming the kitchen is a veteran in sushi-making, chef Chris Vasquez, a metro Detroit native who comes to Tigerlily from the critically-acclaimed Japanese restaurant Momotaro in Chicago’s Fulton Market. Locally, he’s also previously worked at Maru and Nippon.
“This is a new kind of sushi that Detroit hasn’t seen,” Vasquez says in the media release. “We are taking an Edomae style of sushi and bringing in different contemporary flavors and techniques. We are creating a new style — not like New York sushi, but fusing it with different cultures while still being authentic to what sushi is. It’s really an expression of a fun new concept that’s a bit more sophisticated and unique.”
The Working Class Outlaws restaurant group previously ran Antihero and Public House, but faced backlash in summer 2020 after former employees at another of the group’s property’s, Imperial, and Public House came forward on social media accusing the ownership of fostering a toxic work environment and turning a blind eye to accusations of racism and sexual harassment.
Kramer Restaurant Group purchased Antihero and Public House in 2021, the entity behind three other Nine Mile establishments: One-Eyed Betty’s, Pop’s For Italian, and Rosie O’Grady’s. Headed by CEO Brian Kramer, Hometown Restaurant Group was later formed in May 2021.
The 4,000-square-foot main dining room was designed by Birmingham architects Ron & Roman and features an open, marble-topped sushi bar set beneath a six-panel mural installation by Detroit artist Glenn Barr and retained from the original Antihero design, the news release says. Since its formation, Hometown Restaurant Group shuttered Rosie O’Grady’s and reformatted Public House to feature a vegan-centric menu with Megan Shaw — who made up one half of the beloved, now closed all-vegan pop-up Street Beet — leading those efforts.