Mabel Gray to open Tuesday in Hazel Park

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

One of the more anticipated suburban restaurant openings has arrived. Chef James Rigato will open Mabel Gray at 23825 John R. in Hazel Park Tuesday.

Rigato and business partner Ed Mamou announced plans for the 40 seat restaurant in April. The pair also operate the Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake.

The chef says he’ll be open at 4 p.m. Tues.-Sat. No reservations will be taken for now.

“I can store enough food for a day for 90-100 people, that’s my guess, depending on how people eat, so I imagine we’ll open at 4 p.m. and if it’s a good day we’ll close probably 10-11 p.m,” says Rigato.

“I want to make sure the business is the best it can be for the community and for us, so in the beginning because of the restaurant’s size I want to take it one step at a time.”

Rigato says the recent soft openings have gone well and he’s happy with the food, drinks and service at his new spot. Some of the dishes seen coming out of the kitchen during the soft service were rabbit, crispy Indian brook trout, beef tartare and fried banana with mole, queso fresco, jalapeno and peanut.

Those able to snag a seat at Mabel Gray this Friday or Saturday may be able enjoy a dish made by Mei Lin, winner of “Top Chef” season 12 and Dearborn native. She’s in town from Los Angeles for Hour Detroit’s Savor Detroit dining event at Great Lakes Culinary Center. She and Rigato are kicking off the event with a multi-course, sold out dinner Monday.

“She’s just going to hang out,” says Rigato, who says he’s been “harassing” Lin to open a restaurant in Detroit. “It is just as informal as everything else (at Mabel Gray). She’ll just show up and cook.”