The new year promises to be a tasty one for Metro Detroiters as a fresh wave of bars and eateries make their debut on southeast Michigan’s food and beverage scene. From small-batch wines to pizza, donuts and Afro-fusion eats, Motown’s hospitality industry is buzzing with new activity everywhere from the city to the suburbs. Here’s a peek at eight up-and-coming spots that we’ve got our eye on in 2024:
Vesper Books and Wine
5001 Grand River Ave., Detroit // www.vesperbooksandwine.com
Slated to open its doors this spring, Vesper Books and Wine aims to bring new life to the former Detroit savings bank on the corner of Grand River and West Warren avenues. Owners Rob Wilson and Symantha Duggan are fashioning their wine-bar-book-shop concept into a neighborhood sanctuary that will highlight culinary-driven sustainability and intentional living.
“We always envisioned Vesper being a third space or a sacred space between work and home, where folks in the community can just bring their whole selves and unplug,” Duggan says. “Being able to provide a safe space for the city's introverts is something that I'm personally really looking forward to. I'm curious to see who's going to be our regulars. I'm curious to see what kind of community that we can build upon surrounding Vesper.”
Besides offering a variety of wines from small producers, Vesper will carry local beers, kitchenware, hospitality-focused books, and limited bistro-style snacks with an emphasis on tinned fish. Wilson and Duggan also hope to host events at the store that could span from book signings to pop-up dinners.
“We want to bring as many chefs as we possibly can to the city,” Wilson says. “I think we have a lot of really fun, interactive programming that’s going to bring a lot of people to our space. There's a little bit of something for everyone.”
Pie Sci Oak Park
8140 W. Nine Mile Rd., Oak Park // piescipizza.com
Nearly eight years since setting up shop in Woodbridge, the celebrated Pie Sci Pizza is expanding its cult following for out-of-the-box pies to a second location in Oak Park. Projected to open early in the year, the new carryout store will feature a touchscreen kiosk, allowing customers to order their pizzas at the push of a button.
“Oak Park is awesome and filled with lots of young, wonderful people,” says Pie Sci founder Jeremy Damaske. “Ferndale has done its part in making Nine Mile totally hip and cool, and now it’s time to continue the progress westward down the road. The amount of people that have stopped by to let us know that they live nearby and are excited is kind of overwhelming.”
Dutch Girl Donuts
19000 Woodward Ave, Detroit
Opening under new ownership for the first time in three years, this Detroit institution is coming back in 2024, and adamantly keeping the same family recipes that originated with the bake shop in 1947.
“We have wonderful news to share,” the store announced in a Facebook post. “Dutch Girl has accepted an offer and very soon will be open again. The icing on the donut…Jon Timmer [grandson of the original owners] will be making the family recipes for all of us to enjoy. Just as we remember! The tradition of Dutch Girl that we all love and miss will be alive and well again. Thank you for all the love and support. Stay tuned, as there is much more to come!”
185 N. Old Woodward Ave. Birmingham // www.1701hospitality.com
A new restaurant and cocktail bar is replacing downtown Birmingham’s Mad Hatter Bistro, which has stood closed since 2020. CEO of 1701 Hospitality
Randy Dickow will redesign his former concept into something completely different and expects to reopen the bistro sometime within the year. The eatery’s new name, Bell Bistro, was selected to honor the building's original owner and will feature “sophisticated American fare,” according to a report
from Downtown Publications.
220 W. Congress St., Detroit
Coming soon to downtown Detroit, Nuevo Seoul will offer street-style Mexican-Korean fusion eats with menu items like kimchi papas fritas, Korean BBQ tacos and Korean fried chicken. Stay tuned.
6005 Gotfredson Rd., Plymouth // (734) 455-8450 // www.karlscabin.com
After an extensive remodel in 2023, this historic log-cabin-turned-restaurant is open again to the public, featuring a modernized dining room and the American comfort food that has kept diners coming back for just shy of a century.
“We are thrilled to announce the grand reopening of our restaurant with two new dining rooms to choose from,” their website reads. “‘The Lodge’ features a luxe, modern log cabin vibe with light, airy, white-washed walls and a comfy lounge area. ‘The Cabin,’ our historic dining room where we’ve served guests for over 75 years, boasts warm elegance and historic charm. Most importantly, you’ll receive the same great food and service no matter where you’re seated. We can’t wait to serve you again.”
Woodward Ave., Detroit // (734) 877-9095 // littleliberia.com
MasterChef finalist Ameneh Marhaba has been bringing the flavors of Liberia to Detroit for eight years through Little Liberia, the pop-up kitchen that she developed in 2016 to hone her passion for cooking and honor her roots. After winning the Comerica Hatch Detroit contest in 2022, Marhaba got to work developing her own Afro-fusion brick-and-mortar, projected to open in 2024.
“If you missed it, Little Liberia now has an official brick-and-mortar location,” Marhaba wrote in an Instagram post. “We have been busy with the design phase of the space, which has been an exciting process. Although I am eager to open the space, designing a place where everyone will feel welcome and want to come back is of upmost importance. Stay tuned for updates as we transform our new home. We can’t wait to welcome you all there!”
Rudy’s Prime Steakhouse
9 S. Main St., Village of Clarkston // (248) 625-3033 // www.rudysmarket.com
Opened in 1933, Rudy’s Market has been a classic stop in downtown Clarkston for over 90 years. Now co-owned and operated by Robert Esshaki and Christopher Thomas, the historic space is nearing the end of an expansion project that will add several restaurants to the market. The first of these is Rudy’s Prime Steakhouse, which is expected to open in the summer of 2024.
“The reason we selected a steakhouse is because of all the concepts and formats that we thought of, we thought it was missing in this area,” Esshaki said as he announced the project. “We also thought that it's something that everybody loves. It just speaks to everybody. It’s going to be really busy and fun, and you can come as you are.”