For Dominic McCord, the executive chef of the new restaurant Petty Cash on the Avenue of Fashion in the Green Acres neighborhood of Detroit who has worked at several city hot spots, his new gig is a homecoming.
“My grandmother stayed in this particular neighborhood,” says McCord. “I grew up six blocks down from here. I would roll past this building as a kid; it used to be Oakland Shrimp House … I always went to get candy from the store across the street so [being executive chef at Petty Cash] is nostalgic for me.”
He grew up eating his grandmother’s cooking, which was rooted in southern traditions, so when he graduated from culinary school, he wanted to learn cuisines different from what he grew up with. From sushi at Maru to Italian at Bacco to Middle Eastern at Leila, his culinary resume spans the globe.
All of those influences and experiences can be seen on the menu at Petty Cash. Located at 20050 Livernois Ave., the restaurant is a 2,800-square-foot space designed by Urban Alterscape and developed by R&J Development. It offers a seasonal, eclectic menu that McCord describes as modern American.
“What that means to me is what America is, it’s a melting pot with so many different cultures,” McCord says. His approach to the menu at Petty Cash is to put his own culinary flair to a dish, such as his take on hot wings. At Petty Cash, it’s marinated in a piri piri (African bird’s-eye chili) sauce and served with a buttermilk sauce to tame the fieriness. Another signature dish is the lamb ribs, cooked Memphis barbecue style but with a Mediterranean twist with cumin, coriander, and allspice and pomegranate molasses.
It’s not all meaty fare. Vegan and vegetarian dishes make up about 40 percent of the menu, including a cauliflower steak with a parsnip and cauliflower puree, olive tapenade, and chimichurri, as well as a Brussels sprouts dish with sunflower romesco sauce and arugula.
The bar program is headed up by Lani Ingersoll, who has worked at Detroit hot spots like Bad Luck Bar and Flowers of Vietnam.
“Our bar program is eclectic,” McCord says. “It has range. If you’re a cocktail drinker, you’ll see some things that you’re not used to.”
Case in point: the Hopping Lantern features the clear Chinese spirit baijiu, vodka, yellow Chartreuse, and spiced turmeric oat milk. The cocktail menu also features classics like Negronis and Sazeracs.
Petty Cash is a joint project of co-owners Art Hicks, Kelly McBride, Rufus Bartell, and Ron Bartell Jr. McCord met Bartell Jr., the former NFL player who also owns Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles, in late 2020 at a time when he was thinking of walking away from the industry all together. McCord recalls Bartell sharing his vision for a new restaurant that wasn’t in Midtown or downtown, and the idea of doing his own style of cooking after cooking other people’s food was invigorating to him.
“I’ve been on this thing for about a year and a half. And it’s finally here,” he says of the journey to opening Petty Cash. “So that was the idea behind it, just to do something in our neighborhood and do something high level.”
Petty Cash is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday. Starting July 17, the restaurant will begin Sunday brunch service. Reservations are now being accepted.
For more information, visit pettycashdetroit.com.