Metro Detroit’s ever-evolving dining scene is a harmonious blend of influences from all over the world. Every year, lots of hard work, dedication, and creativity goes into opening and maintaining the places we go on our lunch breaks or to relax with a drink on the weekends. To celebrate new beginnings, here’s a handful of restaurants slated to open in 2024 that the Hour Detroit team is most excited about.
Coming to Detroit
Originally slated for last November, Puma is planned to open in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood sometime in 2024. It will be the second Detroit restaurant from chef Javier Bardauil, whose James Beard-nominated Argentine eatery Barda is just across the street.
Puma is designed with twenty-something diners in mind, with a laid-back atmosphere, late-night bites, and an afterhours cocktail bar known as Cougar with live DJ sets. Dishes on the menu include empanadas, and choripán, a chorizo sandwich popular in parts of South America.
“I have been eagerly awaiting Puma ever since I interviewed the team at Barda for our Best New Restaurants feature in 2022 when they hinted at a new restaurant, especially when they mentioned there would be choripán,” says Hour Detroit food writer Dorothy Hernandez. “Barda restaurant quickly found its way into my rotation for whenever I wanted a great night out with friends, and I expect Puma will bring some of the same energy to their little corner of Core City.”
Anticipated to open mid-to-late 2024 in Detroit’s New Center, Little Liberia will be an exciting addition to Detroit’s thriving food scene. What started as chef-owner Ameneh Marhaba’s pop-up in 2016 will become Michigan’s first and only brick-and-mortar Liberian restaurant.
The halal food menu will feature regional classics like palm butter, a comforting and rich stew made with a base from African oil palm fruit, often accompanied with poultry, meat, fish, or seafood; plus “African, Caribbean, and Antebellum-South African American influences.” There will also be cocktails and mocktails.
Sexy Steak/Sexy Burger
Sexy Steak, a steakhouse with halal beef, seafood, cocktails, and more, will be the newest tenant in the historic Grand Army of the Republic Building (which already looks like it’s fit for royalty, never mind the fine dining).
In the same building, its sister restaurant Sexy Burger will offer a more casual dining experience, with Wagyu burgers, pasta, salads, and other unpretentious fare. It’s the latest concept from Prime Concepts Detroit, known for fine dining establishment PAO (also in downtown Detroit), and three more concepts in West Bloomfield (Prime29, NARA Sushi & Hibachi Steakhouse, and Aurora Italiana).
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Vesper Books and Wine
Book bars are becoming a bit of a trend. Hey, nothing beats a cabernet and a nice read. Vesper Books and Wine is tentatively scheduled to open this spring at 5001 Grand River Ave. in Detroit’s Core City. It’s the one that Hour Detroit contributor Michelle Kobernick is most excited about.
“It’s a wine-bar-book-shop concept set up for people to learn more about the culinary and wine world, which are two of my favorite things,” Kobernick says. “For me, there’s nothing better than being surrounded by the food, wine and books that can help me delve deeper into my passion and profession.”
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Named the Spanish word for “neighbor,” Vecino will serve up contemporary Mexican dishes with influences from Oaxaca and Mexico City. Executive chef Ricardo Mojica (formerly of Sava‘s in Ann Arbor) and head chef Stephanie Duran’s menu will include ceviche, crudo, pollo al carbon and whole snapper, plus wood-fire prepared appetizers like salsa, charred peppers, and Oaxcan cheese with tortillas.
The eatery will be located at 4100 Third Street, just south of Wayne State University campus in Midtown.
From the founders of Clawson’s Osaka Steakhouse and Detroit’s Hanah Steakhouse (who happen to be brothers) comes a new concept — Mexican street food with Korean influences, scheduled to open this February.
The restaurant is “designed to provide a convenient and elevated dining experience for individuals seeking a delicious meal and drink on the go or a quick, casual gathering with family and friends,” said a press release. The eatery will be located at 607 Shelby Street in downtown Detroit, right next door to Hanah Steakhouse.
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Fixins Soul Kitchen
A soul food restaurant owned by former Sacramento mayor and NBA All-Star player Kevin Johnson is opening its fourth location in Detroit.
The eatery — known for comfort staples like chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, and gumbo — will inhabit 1435 Randolph Street in downtown Detroit, formerly occupied by Detroit Seafood Market. Fixins Soul Kitchen has just three other locations (Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Tulsa).
Coming to the ‘Burbs
Pie Sci Oak Park
Known for its creatively named and delicious pizza offerings that change by the season, Detroit’s Pie Sci is opening its second location in Oak Park. “Hey Oak Park, just a couple more weeks,” Pie Sci posted on its Facebook page on Jan. 12, accompanied by a photo of the latest renovations. Unlike the original pizzeria (located in Woodbridge near Wayne State University), Pie Sci Oak Park will be takeout only.
“What I really love about Pie Sci is the creativity, which helps it stand out in a city where there are so many to choose from,” says Hernandez. “Even though the go-to options like the margherita and meat lover don’t miss, I always gravitate to whatever they’re cooking up in the Science Lab where you can get pizzas like Francis Ford Spanakopita and Edgar Allen Po’boy. Now with the new Oak Park location, it’s even easier and more convenient to get your Pie Sci Fix.”
Rudy’s Prime Steakhouse (Clarkston)
Clarkstonites are anticipating a new downtown chophouse. Rudy’s Prime Steakhouse is slated to open summer 2024 just across the street from the Clarkston Woodshop. The concept comes from the owners of Rudy’s Market, which has been doing business in Clarkston over 90 years.
Rudy’s Prime Steakhouse is taking over tenancy at 9 South Main St., the former Rudy’s Market location, which has been closed since 2021.
What new restaurants are you most excited for in 2024? Tell us about them in the comments.