A dining guide to Detroit’s evolving Capitol Park

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Have you been to Detroit’s Capitol Park area lately?

The historic district has seen many changes during the past several months. Construction is constant, with heavy equipment vehicles scattered among renovated buildings and new shops and places to eat opening frequently.

On the ground floor of the Albert, a building at Griswold and State that is now home to luxury apartments, there’s Dessert Oasis Coffee Roasters, new Italian restaurant La Lanterna and Go! Sy Thai, a local chain of Thai food that has soups made daily, a lot of vegan and gluten-free options and a swift carryout business (try the von sen, a bean thread noodle dish).

(Also in the Albert: a smattering of retail shops like Detroit Bikes, Bird Bee clothing boutique and City Bark pet store, which works well with the tiny, elevated dog park in the middle of Capitol Park.)

One of the city’s more anticipated restaurant openings of 2017 was Capitol Park’s Prime + Proper. The two-story, 10,000-square-foot modern steakhouse is in the Capitol Park Loft building. It’s tucked into the park, but looking down State Street, you can catch a glimpse of it from Woodward.

Prime + Proper is owned by Heirloom Hospitality, the same team behind the Townhouse restaurants in Detroit and Birmingham. Owner Jeremy Sasson told me he’s working on a second business in Capitol Park, but isn’t ready to talk about details.

Another hot spot right here is Eatòri Market, a grocery store with the basics plus some prepared foods, produce and gourmet items. It has everything from bagged ice to gourmet macarons, plus a full cocktail bar. (Do not confuse this with Eataly, a chain of Italian markets and food halls with locations worldwide; the closest one is in Chicago.)

Sit at the bar or one of the few cafe tables overlooking the park and sip a drink and have a bite to eat. A recent lunch menu featured a savory $14 burger topped with tarragon truffle aioli and arugula and served on brioche with house-made potato chips. They also have a Caesar salad, mussels and a club sandwich with turkey and pancetta.

Located in the Bedrock-owned Malcomson Building at 1215 Griswold (which also has luxury apartments), Eatòri’s retail side is open 8 a.m.-10 p.m. daily, and the bar serves 10 a.m.-midnight Sun.-Wed. and 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Thurs.-Sat.

In the Grand River and Griswold area, Capitol Park will soon get a French pastry shop. Chef Matt Knio, a graduate of the Academie de Versailles in France, will open Cannelle Coffee & Pastries, a second location soon to complement the Birmingham’s Cannelle Patisserie, which offers baguettes, croissants, cakes eclairs and, for the holidays, Bûche de Noël (yule log cakes).

With this spot, plus the aforementioned Dessert Oasis and the longstanding Urban Bean Co. all in the same glance, the modern version of Capitol Park looks to be a very caffeinated place.

Also coming soon near that corner, a new burger joint from restaurateur Eli Boyer, a former partner at Gold Cash Gold who is doing wonderful things at the shoebox-sized seafood restaurant Voyager in Ferndale.

For the holidays, a Capitol Park market has sprouted up at the plaza in the middle of the district. Small businesses have popped up in what look like tiny greenhouses, including Black Vinyl, Detroit Shoppe and Flamingo Vintage, selling clothing and other wares.

Greystone Gardens is selling a variety of Christmas trees at the plaza under the statue of Stevens T. Mason, Michigan’s first governor. Etori has a bar set up in one of the heated glass houses with wine, beer and cocktails.

In the middle of the market is a fire pit, decorative lights on strings and seating around small tables made of hunks of wood, giving the space a rustic, winter-chic look. The Capitol Park Market is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. and noon-5 p.m. Sun. through Jan. 7 (closed Thanksgiving and Christmas).


Twitter: @melodybaetens