Antietam reopens with warm welcome

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

At Antietam restaurant in Eastern Market, it's all about the fine details.

The art deco restaurant at 1428 Gratiot got a false start when it opened over the summer and closed shortly after. Owner Gregory Holm restaffed and started taking reservations again last weekend.

The atmosphere is stylish and warm, with vintage decor and au courant menu and drink offerings. Currently, the cuisine is French-themed, with escargot pate, seared beef tartar, mussels and braised rabbit. Entrees run around $20 each.

The craft cocktail menu looks as detailed and well planned as the food menu, with the standout being the Fine & Dandy, made with mash rye, Yellow Chartreuse and allspice dram. Another popular drink is the Gin-Gin Mule featuring dry gin, cucumber, ginger beer and Aperol. It's served in a highball glass with a long slice of cucumber spiraled around huge square ice cubes. Cocktails are $12. A pair of Michigan beers — Griffin Claw's Grand Trunk Bohemian Pilsner and Saugatuck Brewing Co.'s Bonfire Brown — are $6 each. A full wine list is also available.

What may stand out most about Antietam is the great care paid to service. As many as three employees may greet you when you walk in the door. One will take your coat, while another looks for your name in a leather-bound reservations book. The staff is nicely dressed, formal and polite.

You may be able to grab a seat at the small bar without a spot in that book, but for a table, make reservations by emailing

Farewell to Maria's Front Room

Back when Ferndale's Nine Mile and Woodward area was just starting to become a hub for nightlife and new restaurants, Maria's Front Room served Italian food at 215 W. Nine Mile.

Saturday, however, was the last day of business for Maria's. The owners announced via social media that the Ferndale location is closed for good but that a new Maria's is planned for northern Oakland County.

New club opens at MGM Grand Detroit

Friday night AXIS Lounge at MGM Grand Detroit will make its debut with a completely re-done look. Formerly U-Me-Drink, the hangout area is located in the middle of the casino's gaming floor.

AXIS will host live music nightly (some exceptions for football games) and will serve custom cocktails, wine by the glass and craft beers. Upcoming performers include the George Brothers, the Reefermen and Ben Sharkey.

The round bar, which underwent a $3 million renovation, has a Motown-inspired theme. AXIS opens to the public at 9 p.m. Friday.

Deliciously Brief

■Ohio's Bravo! Cucina Italiana will open its fifth Michigan location on Dec. 11. Located in Briarwood Mall in Ann Arbor, the new 6,551-square-foot restaurant will seat more than 200, plus a 40-person semi-private dining area. The chain is known for the full-view kitchen, where cooks churn out steaks, pasta, seafood, pizza and salads. Bravo! also has a light entree menu with nearly a dozen items under 600 calories.

■Yemans St. permanent pop-up at 2995 Yemans in Hamtramck is offering a la carte brunch service Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Reservations are required but advance payment is not. The menu includes breakfast casserole, eggs Benedict, sandwiches and soups. RSVP by emailing

Food and beverage events

Holiday Cheer at Wild Lights at Detroit Zoo: View the zoo's massive light sculpture display in an adults-only setting. 6-10 p.m. Thurs. $40 (includes three drinks and admission), $25 designated driver ticket. Woodward at I-696, Royal Oak.

Chef's Sparkling Holiday Dinner at Rattlesnake: This four-course seasonal meal is paired with sparkling wines from around the world. 6:30 p.m. Thurs. $85 plus tax and tip. 300 River Place Drive, Detroit. (313) 567-4400 ext. 6226.

Whiskey Experience at Barrister Garden Banquet Center: Hosted by Dave Harden, owner of the Butter Run Saloon in St. Clair Shores, this whiskey-tasting event benefits the Luella M. Harden Foundation. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Fri. VIP entry at 5:30 p.m. $130, $160 VIP. 24225 Harper, St. Clair Shores. (586) 675-2115.

10 Year Anniversary at J. Baldwin's Restaurant: Live entertainment and 10 percent off entire menu. All day Dec. 10. 16891 18 Mile, Clinton Township. (586) 416-3500.

Dinner Pop Up Club Xmas Dinner at Storefront Gallery: Chef Matt Baldridge crafts a four-course fine dining menu. BYOB. 5-7:30 p.m. Dec. 14. $45 per person. 477 W. Marshall, Ferndale. Advance purchased required at

Melody Baetens