Last year was no slouch for new bars and restaurants in Metro Detroit, and 2017 is shaping up to be just as busy.
True, we lost some big names in 2016 — Peabody’s in Birmingham, Hogan’s in Bloomfield Hills, El Zocalo in Mexicantown and most recently St. CeCe’s in Corktown all closed. Now the next generation of restaurateurs are gearing up to open new favorites next year:
Lady of the House: Chef Kate Williams’ restaurant has been hotly-anticipated for all of 2016, but the auto shop in north Corktown she was banking on didn’t pan out. The likeable chef (formerly of Republic) instead announced she’ll move Lady of the House into the former St. CeCe’s building, 1426 Bagley in Detroit, in 2017. Also in Corktown, ima (pronounced ee-ma) will replace Rubbed sandwich shop at 2015 Michigan with Japanese comfort food.
Caucus Club: The original Caucus Club closed after 60 years of business in 2012. In late 2015 restaurateur George Sboukis announced he would renovate and reopen the Penobscot Building restaurant in the spring. Later it was pushed back to a fall opening. The site still looked very much under construction as of last week, but here’s hoping to an early 2017 debut. 150 W. Congress, Detroit.
Avalon International Breads: This year we saw the Cass Corridor’s beloved bakery and cafe expand. It now offers baked goods inside of the Harvest Grounds Newsstand at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and another cafe opened in mid-December in Ann Arbor (120 E. Liberty). A Woodward cafe just steps from Campus Martius is expected to open in early 2017.
La Laterna: From the DaEdoardo Restaurant group, this Italian and pizza restaurant is set to open soon in the Albert building in Capitol Park. The name is the same as a 1950s restaurant owned by Edward Barbieri III’s family in the same area. 1214 Griswold, Detroit.
Dangerously Delicious Pies: Last summer, this gourmet and sweet pie-maker got its first brick-and-mortar shop in downtown Wyandotte after operating out of Detroit bars for several years. A Midtown location of Dangerously Delicious Pies in the Strathmore Building is almost ready-to-go and could open any day. 70 W. Alexandrine, Detroit.
Gather: Lea Hunt, Kyle Hunt and Nate Vogeli are readying their 30-40 seat restaurant in Eastern Market. Over past year the chefs have previewed their farm-to-table cuisine with pop-up dinners around the city. They plan to open in late February with a liquor license and family-style meals cooked over a wood-fire grill. 1454 Gratiot, Detroit. Nearby, Eastern Market Brewing Co. will open at 2515 Riopelle in the spring.
Livernois Tap: Axle Brewing Co. has styled its forthcoming tap room after a European beer hall with an American design. Recently, the brewery announced that the culinary program at Livernois Tap will be headed by the team behind Grey Ghost Detroit: John Vermiglio, Josef Giacomino, David Vermiglio, and Will Lee. Expected to open in the next few months. 567 Livernois, Ferndale. Also coming to Ferndale soon, the cozy Voyager (600 Vester) will have sustainable seafood dishes from chef and owner Marc Bogoff.
HopCat Royal Oak: The latest beer-centric restaurant in the HopCat chain is expected to open as soon as March in an 11,700-square-foot space where Woody’s and Onyx used to be. 208 W. Fifth, Royal Oak.
Gino’s Surf: After closing in the summer of 2015 following a bankruptcy filing by the owners, this east side hot spot is set to return 2017. Paradise Lake Properties purchased the building and liquor license and plan to re-open the landmark restaurant in early spring. 37400 Jefferson, Harrison Township.
Testa Barra: An Italian restaurant expected to open in February from the owners of J. Baldwin’s. A preview dinner is set for Jan. 31 at J. Baldwin’s Clinton Township restaurant with a strolling dinner and wine and cocktail tastings for $65 per person. Testa Barra will be at 48824 Romeo Plank, Macomb Township.
Downtown chains: The world’s first combination Applebee’s and IHOP is set to open in a nearly 12,000-square-foot restaurant in the Millender Center as soon as April. We’re still patiently awaiting the Shake Shack to open in the First National Building at 600 Woodward.
Hamtramck: This tiny and diverse enclave of Detroit looks to be getting a sushi restaurant where Rock City Eatery used to be (11411 Jos Campau). Also in northern Hamtramck, Amar Pizza is moving from its Conant location to a new spot on Jos Campau. Coming further into 2017, gourmet chocolatier Bon Bon Bon will open a new shop and production facility on Jos Campau closer to Caniff.
Downtown Mount Clemens: Developer John Hanna purchased and renovated the historic Emerald Theatre in 2016, and with that came the restaurant formerly known as Johnny G’s. Hanna — who owns several properties in Royal Oak, including the Iron Horse restaurant and the Royal Oak Music Theatre — will reopen that spot this year as Mexican restaurant El Reys (27 N. Walnut). Nearby, Sushi N’ More will open at 55 N. Walnut as soon as next month. With the involvement of Hanna in Mount Clemens’ downtown area, I would expect to see even more restaurants and retail pop up in the next several months.
Also coming: Chef Garrett Lipar’s Albena Restaurant (location unannounced); Eli Boyer and chef Marc Bogoff’s restaurant on the ground floor of 28 Grand, a new apartment building at Griswold and Grand River; an American-style bistro from restaurateur Mike Abrams, who owns several Five Guys Burgers and Fries, on the ground floor of the Scott and Brush Park apartment complex.