Le Culture Cafe to move from Eastern Market to former Asaysia space near Harmonie Park

Owner and chef Drew Matthews is also preparing to open a soul food diner on Eight Mile this spring

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The seafood-forward comfort food restaurant Le Culture Cafe is moving to a new Detroit neighborhood next month. 

Operating in an art deco space in Eastern Market for the past year or so, Le Cuture's Gratiot location will close up shop in the next few weeks and owner and chef Drew Matthews will reopen near Harmonie Park. The motivation behind the move is to get a bigger kitchen so they can keep up with demand. 

A server displays a plate of seafood overload mac and cheese at Le Culture Cafe in Detroit.

The new space is the former Asaysia restaurant, a 5,000-square-foot operation that opened at 1452 Brush in the spring of 2018 advertising small plates and a polished atmosphere before closing the same year. 

Matthews says he hopes to have a soft opening Valentine's Day weekend at the new Brush street location with full food and liquor service. Reservations via the OpenTable app could be available as soon as next week.

He's unsure exactly when the Eastern Market restaurant will close, but it's likely to go dark before the new location opens. The original Le Culture is where French-themed Antietam was for five years until early 2018.

With more back-of-house space at the former Asaysia, Matthews says he'll be able to get his crab cakes, salmon burgers, seafood mac and cheese and other comfort classics to tables faster. This was an issue over the past year with some guests waiting up to an hour for their meals. The kitchen footprint in the new location is four times bigger. The dining area will seat around 125. 

"It's beyond beautiful," Matthews says of the new space. "I'm just putting some twists on it. The space was immaculate. It's insane how beautiful it is." 

Drew Matthews, owner and executive chef of Le  Culture Cafe holds a plate of the Oscar de Le' Culture (20 ounce Angus ribeye with broccolini, jumbo lump crab, rock lobster tail and whipped mash potatoes) in the main dining area.

The menu at the new location will be similar to what his clientele has come to know — he calls it "down-home comfort food" and not fine dining — and Matthews and his team will add happy hour and live music, including a daily piano player. 

"We were in the Black Bottom area over there on Gratiot, so now with the transition ... you know Paradise Valley is more entertainment (focused), so we're bringing the dining and entertainment aspect together.

"It's been extremely great," said Matthews of the past year. "It's been a real learning experience, a learning curve. I'm more than blessed." 

The chef, who was formerly in the funeral home business, has seen success at Le Culture Cafe, which is his first restaurant business, and now he's readying to open a soul food carry out spot later this spring. 

Culture Soul Detroit is a southern comfort food spot set to open in April with about two dozen seats and carry-out service at 24737 W. Eight Mile just west of Telegraph in Detroit. 

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Twitter: @melodybaetens

A plate of the Seafood Overload Mac & Cheese, (Cavatappi, five cheese blend, rock lobster tail and jumbo lump crab.