New DTE park to feature new restaurant

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The owners of Big Rock Chop House and Griffin Claw Brewing Company are diving into the downtown Detroit restaurant scene.

Norm and Bonnie LePage are partnering with DTE Energy to open a new restaurant this fall at the company’s public park at Cass and Grand River, near DTE Energy Headquarters. The park is expected to open in July.

Architectural firm Touloukian Touloukian Inc. is designing the yet-to-be-named restaurant, which has indoor and outdoor dining areas separated by sliding-glass walls and a rooftop dining space with a view of the DTE park. A mahogany ceiling will be built using sustainably harvested wood.

“It is really going to be a wonderful situation, and it’s so cool for that area because that area is underserved. You’ve got Republic and Parks and Rec, but other than that there’s really nothing around there, so I’ve got a good feeling,” said Norm LePage.

The menu at the new restaurant will be “a brasserie type” with a light emphasis on Belgian cuisine with mussels and Belgian-style beer, LePage said. Naturally, Griffin Claw’s line of beers will be served as well.

“We’re still working on the menu,” he said, adding that the restaurant will offer variety. “There’s going to be so many types of things taking place in the park, we pretty much have to appeal to a broader stroke of the brush.”

“Bonnie and I have been going downtown a lot and eating and checking out the stores, and one of the fun things we’ve discovered is so many young people that grew up in the Detroit area and then moved elsewhere and now have come back to the city because of all the growth,” he said, adding that he was downtown Friday and saw folks lined up for the launch of the QLine. “There’s a vibrancy down there that we haven’t seen for a long time, so it’s a wonderful thing.”

Besides the chop house and brewery, the LePages also own the Reserve banquet facility in Birmingham and are working on opening a second Griffin Claw location in Rochester Hills this fall. Their son, Scott LePage, owns Clubhouse BFD in Rochester Hills.

“We’re so pleased that the LePage family is partnering with us on this restaurant,” said DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson in a press release. “They bring decades of experience in operating distinctive restaurant concepts in southeastern Michigan. The LePage family’s culinary point-of-view will complement the iconic architecture and ambiance of this restaurant.”

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Twitter: @melodybaetens