The Oakland's owner to open restaurant in Midtown

Nov 14

11:25 AM

By Elise Fields

Tagged: Art Center

Read the Detroit Free Press article in its original format HERE


The Oakland's owner to open Detroit restaurant

 By Sylvia Rector, Detroit Free Press Restaurant Critic

Sandy Levine — owner of the Oakland Art Novelty Co. craft cocktail bar in Ferndale — plans to open a restaurant in the Park Shelton building in Midtown Detroit next year in the former home of Rodin, he said today.

Levine signed the lease last month and is already applying for a liquor license for what he is tentatively calling Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails.

"I wasn't actively looking, but somehow I found this place," he said. He and his wife talked it over and weren't sure exactly what they wanted to do with it, but they couldn't get it out of their heads. "We just said we'll figure it out," Levine said. The storefront space at 15 E. Kirby faces Woodward, a block north of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Levine said he had worked in restaurants his entire career until opening the speakeasy-style Oakland three years ago. "This is the first time I've been away from food and I miss it terribly," he said. "I love everything we do here and I've been fortunate, but I always planned to return to food at some point."

He will continue to own the Oakland but give his bartenders more responsibility, he said.

While the new restaurant's concept "isn't totally defined," the food will be "very, very fresh and very, very local and seasonally focused." The kitchen has virtually no storage space, he said, "so we'll have our work cut out for us. What comes in, in the morning, will be put on guests' plates and served and we'll start over the next day."

Inside, it will be almost the opposite of the dark, atmospheric Oakland: "It's already very bright and fresh and sunny, with all those windows, and we'll make it brighter and sunnier than it is now." The floor plan won't change very much, he said, but the decor will.

With more redecorating than rebuilding planned, work should progress quickly to an opening, he hopes, in early spring. The restaurant will seat about 100 guests and serve lunch and dinner.

Contact Sylvia Rector: 313-222-5026 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @SylviaRector.