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Team behind four-star Chartreuse planning double concept in Milwaukee Junction

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Restaurateur Sandy Levine had been drawn to Detroit's Milwaukee Junction area for years, but it wasn't until this week that he finally was able to announce a new venture in that area. 

Two concepts, fine dining Freya and lounge Dragonfly, will open in this building in Milwaukee Junction in 2020.

He and his chef at Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails (easily considered one of the best new restaurants in town and the recipient of a four-star Detroit News dining review last fall) are planning two concepts under one roof. A fine dining restaurant called Freya will be on one side, and on the other Dragonfly, a more casual cocktail lounge. 

"It's an industrial area, and for whatever reason I was just drawn to it several years ago," said Levine, who had previously looked into opening something in an old church, but it was too much of an undertaking. 

Levine, who also owns the Oakland craft cocktail lounge in Ferndale, says he and Chartreuse chef Doug Hewitt are financing Freya and Dragonfly themselves, and expect to open in 2020. They only just closed on the building last week, which is at Beaubien and E. Grand Blvd. next to the forthcoming Chroma, a co-working space and food hall. 

Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails chef Doug Hewitt, Jr.

"We're going to push the envelope as much as we can in terms of creating the most positive, memorable dining experience in as many ways as we can," said Levine of Freya, which will seat 40-50. He said it will be the type of restaurant that you'd make a reservation and go to for a special occasion, and less one that you'd just drop into before a show or a game. This is because it's largely going to offer a chef-driven tasting menu, rather than a la carte service, but with some deviations. 

"It's certainly not going to be cheap, but it's not going to be so out of reach like some of the tasting menu restaurants that you'll find in other cities in bigger markets," he said of Freya, which is the name the Goddess of Love in Norse mythology. 

"We want it be the same clientele that we've had at Chartreuse or what I've had in the past at Atlas (Global Bistro) 15 years ago, kind of what Detroit is and we want it to be a wide variety of people and diverse and we want everyone to be able to come here at least at some point."

The lounge Dragonfly will be more relaxed, with a seat-yourself vibe and a menu of drinks that includes both low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails, plus wines and sherry. 

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Twitter: @melodybaetens