Apr 27, 2023 - Food and Drink

2023 comings and goings in Detroit's restaurant scene

An array of food is set out on a wooden table, including cheese and wine and crusty bread.

Alpino food offerings. Photo: Courtesy of Perry Haselden via Alpino

Inspired by cabins in the mountains of Europe, a taste of the Alps is joining Detroit's restaurant scene soon.

Why it matters: Scheduled to open Monday, Alpino is among many intriguing comings and goings we're watching in the industry this year.

The big picture: Consumers are spending more money dining out than on groceries — but restaurants, especially small ones, are still slowly recovering from the pandemic.

Zoom in: Alpino, in the former Lady of the House space in Corktown, is focusing on lesser-known wines and food inspired by the regions around the Alps, owner David Richter tells Axios.

  • Richter wanted to create an atmosphere where "you walk in the door and it wraps its arms around you, it feels like you're in a neighborhood place," he says. He describes it as a "cabin in the woods," complete with fireplaces.

Plus, there are also nontraditional foodservice concepts looking to open, like Paradise Deli and Marketplace, planned for the LOVE building in Core City.

  • Owner/chef Nezaa Bandele hopes to open the mostly plant-based deli in September, she tells Axios, with an overarching goal of wellness education.
  • It'll offer grab-and-go meals, hot food and mostly outdoor seating, as well as local retail, coffee and Jamaican juices.
  • Bandele uses food "as a vehicle to talk to people about health and wellness," she says. "It's easy to get those messages across when you feed folks."
A to-go container of food.
Vegan red bean gumbo with spicy sausage, rice, smoky greens and a corn muffin from Paradise Natural Foods. Photo courtesy of Featherstone Moments

Other recent restaurant activity includes:

🌮 The space for Nepantla Cafe in Mexicantown is expected to open in December, they tell Axios, but their vegan tacos are available now via a food trailer.

🍔 Tocororo, a tropical-themed bar with sandwiches and bar snacks in Eastern Market, is opening in May, per Crain's.

😂 One Mike Detroit, a downtown comedy club and restaurant space from comedian Mike Epps, is planning a soft opening for its restaurant June 18 and a larger grand opening in September.

🧆 Sahara Restaurant and Grill opened a location in the District Detroit this month.

ğŸ¦ž What's Crackin', featuring seafood carryout from chef Max Hardy, has been in the works for a while but posted in March that it's "on the way."

🍹 Lost River on the east side closed but is reopening next month.

🍲 And Afro Caribbean Yum Village opened a location inside southwest venue El Club this month with a different menu from its other restaurants.

We also lost PizzaPlex and Orchid Thai while adding Mad Nice and a new version of Empire Kitchen.

📬 Which closings have hurt the most? Which opening are you most excited about? Email [email protected] to let us know.

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