The Highlands to open atop Renaissance Center Nov. 15 under James Beard Award-winning chef

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Diners will once again get to enjoy the view atop the GM Renaissance Center this fall with the opening of the Highlands, a group of four restaurants from James Beard Award-winning chef Shawn McClain. 

Shawn McClain

Based in Detroit and Las Vegas, McClain and his partners hope to bring a variety of experiences to the 71st and 72nd floors of Detroit's tallest building. An opening date is scheduled for Nov. 15. 

“Detroit’s really in an evolution and a renaissance in food and beverage and I think I have an opportunity to write a little chapter of the larger story,” said McClain. “Because it was a building that has a quiet a bit of a storied past but it was really important for us to take what we’ve learned and all the things that we’ve put together over the years and really put our best foot forward in Detroit.”

Here are the details for each concept.

Highlands Steakhouse: A modern steakhouse that seats around 140 with a focus on seasonality and wine. Master Sommelier Nick Hetzel will offer guests a comprehensive variety of vino, including some rare bottles. 

Hearth 71: The themes at this more casual, 60-seat restaurant are familiar if you've been following the dining scene lately. These include open-fire cooking, craft beer and a rock and roll vibe. Expect charcuterie boards and larger plates like a locally-inspired walleye with cornmeal crust, bacon potato salad and Brussels sprout slaw. 

High Bar: Likely to be home to one of the fall's most popular happy hours or nightcaps in town, this cocktail lounge will have a dessert menu to compliment the drinks, plus savory appetizers and small plates. 

Highland Events: The Highlands will have a private event space for weddings or other milestones on the 72nd floor. McClain's team can serve customized or personalized menus for special occasions. 

McClain opens the Highlands with McClain Camarota Hospitality, which includes he and his wife Holly McClain, a Detroit native, and their partners Richard and Sarah Camarota. McClain, who won a Best Chef Midwest James Beard Award in 2006,  has restaurants at ARIA Resort and Casino and the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.

The last restaurant at the top of the GM Ren Cen was Coach Insginia, which closed in 2017. Before that, a restaurant called the Summit was known for having a slowly revolving dining room offering a 360-degree view. Chef McClain confirmed that these new concepts will remain stationary. 

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Twitter: @melodybaetens