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Charity Preview dinner reservations are scarce

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

You have your dress, your shoes and your auto show Charity Preview ticket, but do you have your dinner reservations?

Downtown Detroit's culinary landscape continues to grow, making trendy new restaurants a hot spot for private parties the night of the Charity Preview, which is Friday. And if you don't have interest in the Charity Preview, just know it will impact your dining plans.

Both Wright & Co. and the London Chop House are booked solid Friday evening with private events. The Chop House, on Congress near Shelby, has extended its hours for the auto show, however, and will take reservations for Saturday and Sunday (it's usually closed Sunday). Wright & Co., 1500 Woodward, is closed Sunday as usual, and will take walk-ins only for Saturday.

At the adult play land Punch Bowl Social will be open Friday. It opened in December with a full bar and restaurant, bowling, arcade, private karaoke rooms and more. Located at 1331 Broadway, Punch Bowl Social takes reservations and will be serving until 2 a.m.

Michael Symon's Roast, in the Westin Book Cadillac, doesn't have any private events scheduled, but is nearly sold out with reservations on Friday and Saturday.

Next to Cobo Center, Top of the Pontch, on the 25th floor of the Crowne Plaza, is full on Friday, but is taking reservations for the rest of the week. Another top-floor dining destination is Coach Insignia, atop the Renaissance Center. This sky-high, fine-dining spot is booked with private parties Friday evening but will accept walk-ins for lounge-level seating, which will have access to the special Charity Preview menu. Reservations can be made for Saturday at Coach Insignia, but the restaurant is closed Sundays.

Also in the Renaissance Center, Joe Muer Seafood and Andiamo Detroit Riverfront are booked solid Friday night.

"We get a lot of return parties and this year we're a little fuller than we are in the past," says Matthew Harrison, manager at Andiamo Detroit Riverfront, which is booked solid Friday night. He says many of the private parties have two seatings; they start with appetizers and cocktails, go to the Charity Preview and then return for dinner.

Harrison says the restaurant's staff definitely goes all out on the night of Charity Preview.

"Special events require special uniforms, all the staff is in tuxedos," he says. "We don't typically wear the tux shirts and bow ties, but for an event like this, we step it up. Everybody that is employed at Andiamo is there that night."

In Midtown in the Wayne State University area, the Whitney is booked solid on Friday with mostly private parties reserved by companies related to the auto industry (carmakers, suppliers, etc.). The historic restaurant does have some availability the rest of the weekend.

When it opened in December, HopCat Detroit had beer-lovers lined up around the block. Located adjacent to the Whitney, the beer bar with 130 craft beers on draft does not accept reservations and has no private parties booked. Service is first-come, first-served the entire weekend.

Also in Midtown, the car-themed Grille Midtown next to the Garden Theater serves American and international fare including steaks, fish, burgers, sandwiches and salad. The 80-seat restaurant welcomes walk-ins without reservations and has availability on Friday.

Down Selden at Second, the highly accoladed Selden Standard takes only a limited number of reservations each night and is booked Friday and Saturday. However, walk-ins will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis all weekend.

On the outskirts of downtown, the Rattlesnake Club has some tables left for Friday night, but all private rooms are sold out. The upscale riverside destination is accepting reservations for Saturday but is closed Sunday and Monday.

What's available

Some restaurants with availability Friday:

24 Grille, 1114 Washington, Detroit. (313) 964-3821. Reservations available.

Coach Insignia, 100 Renaissance Center, Detroit. (313) 567-2622. Walk-ins taken for lounge level seating.

Punch Bowl Social, 1331 Broadway, Detroit. (313) 749-9738. Reservations available.

HopCat Detroit, 4265 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 769-8828. Walk-ins only.

Grille Midtown, 3919 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 832-0892. Reservations and walk-ins welcome.

Selden Standard, 3921 Second, Detroit. (313) 438-5055. Some walk-ins seats available.