February 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Palace touts work on final phase of $40M renovation

Palace Sports & Entertainment on Wednesday announced the details of the third and final phase of its $40 million renovation project, most notably a re-branded Palace Grille.

Among the completed improvements are an updated 160-capacity dining space, a revamped menu and an effort to attract diners before events.

“We want to compete with restaurants in the Birmingham and Auburn Hills area,” said Dennis Mannion, CEO and President of Palace Sports & Entertainment. He said they looked to area restaurateurs like Bill Roberts (Town Tavern and Beverly Hills Grill) for inspiration.

One of the ways the Palace will do that is to offer locally sourced menu items that may change depending on what kind of event is happening at The Palace, be it a rock concert, hip-hop show or Pistons game.

“The clientele and the demographics is so much different from a concert than a game,” said executive chef Terrance Louzon. “So when we have a game, I find it’s a lot of season ticket holders that have been coming for a long time. They don’t mind missing the beginning of the game now that we have the TVs in here. But your concert crowd, that’s when we do a lot more burgers and our sliders.”

Chef Louzon says on concert nights they will try to offer specials that coincide with the theme of the headliner.

“For George Strait (Friday), we’re going to have some beef and some barbeque type foods. For Billy Joel (Saturday), we’ll have some New York-style fare,” Louzon said.

Some of the new menu’s highlights are shareable small plates, like the Mediterranean dips and spreads and macaroni and Zingerman’s cheese with smoked pork belly. Bread for the fried chicken and lobster roll sliders comes from Rochester’s Give Thanks Bakery.

There’s also an effort to serve Michigan products at the bar, with 15 Michigan beers and several local wines, too.

Other renovations in this third phase include an overhaul of the 100- and 200-level suites, which have new flooring, sleek new furniture and redone terrace seating.

Changes also include a new concierge lounge for premium season ticket holders, a re-launched President’s Club for corporate meetings, entertaining and networking, updates to the Coors Light Cold Zone bar and upgrades for greater handicap access.

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Fried calamari and green beans are served in the renovated Palace Grille. / Robin Buckson / The Detroit News
The Palace of Auburn Hills has renovated and rebranded the Palace Grille, ... (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)