Accoladed chef James Rigato of the Root Restaurant & Bar will bring the seasonal and creative dishes he’s known for to Hazel Park this summer when he and partner Ed Mamou open Mabel Gray.

The 40-seat restaurant on John R just south of Woodward Heights will be Rigato’s second venture and is scheduled to open in late summer. The “Top Chef” contestant says he’ll focus on a small, revolving menu and a full bar. Mabel Gray won’t be like other dining options in Hazel Park, he said, but there will be no dress code or white linens.

Rigato, who earlier this month was named People’s Best New Chef in the Great Lakes by Food and Wine magazine, says Mabel Gray will be “the best food I can possibly make. Mabel Gray is an expression of my point of view in the restaurant world.”

With the opening of Mabel Gray, Rigato will give the Root chef Nick Rodgers a promotion from sous chef to executive chef at the White Lake restaurant.

“Hazel Park is a very exciting choice for me,” said Rigato in a press release issued Thursday. “I lived just north in Madison Heights for six years and spent a lot of time at Pi’s Thai, Loui’s Pizza and Continential Bike Shop. Hazel Park is affordable, open-minded and a blank canvas for creativity.”

Applications are being accepted now for the new Hazel Park restaurant. Resumes can be e-mailed to

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