When Townhouse Detroit closed during the second wave of pandemic-spurred restaurant shutdowns in November of 2020, owner and Heirloom Hospitality Group president Jeremy Sasson saw an opportunity. “The pandemic presented endless challenges, but it also presented a lot of time for reflection,” he says. “…We were excited to prepare for the next decade and decided this was the time to take the brand and our guest experience to the next level.”
Over the ensuing months, the downtown Detroit restaurant underwent a physical and conceptual metamorphosis. And while the restaurant is still working on its refresh — part of the space, including a new atrium area, remains under construction — Townhouse Detroit will debut an updated menu and a portion of its remodeled interior with a reservation-only soft launch beginning Sept. 2.
The Heirloom team hired Detroit design firm Parini to work on the interior, and designers exchanged the eatery’s industrial dark wood, leather, and metal accents for softer, airier elements including washed oak floors and natural greenery. Walls separating the kitchen from the dining area were removed, allowing for the addition of an open display kitchen. The update to the space also included adding a variety of seating vignettes at varying heights. “The restaurant design is completely reimagined — think lighter interiors, plush lounge seating, and a large central bar to offer different experiences based on where you’re dining,” Sasson says.
The aesthetic overhaul of the space is accompanied by a new menu designed to elevate the spot’s signature comfort food fare. “The menus offer intentionally refined, yet still approachable food and beverage options,” Sasson says. Staples, like the burger and fries, remain on the menu, but there are also fine-dining-inspired additions, like the caviar-topped crispy potato dish and the A5 wagyu with garlic, shallot rings, and grilled chicory. The kitchen, which is led by Heirloom Corporate Culinary Director Ryan Prentiss, will also work with Michigan producers, including Blis Gourmet in Grand Rapids and Old World Farms in Flint.
A temperature-controlled bottle cabinet has been added to support an expanded wine program, and a gourmet dessert and coffee bar — featuring coffee from Detroit-based roaster Coffeehaus — replaces the Townhouse Detroit’s former sushi bar. Desserts include a cherry-shaped Michigan cherry cake and the Ice Box, a frozen chest filled with ice cream treats. Guests can also enjoy cocktails like the Motcho Matcha, which is made with house-infused matcha liquor, and the maple lemon foam-topped Swipe Right cocktail.
The revamp of Townhouse Detroit is the first step in a larger brand expansion for Heirloom, which also owns Townhouse Birmingham and Prime + Proper, the Detroit steakhouse that was named the 2019 Hour Detroit Restaurant of the Year. In the early days of the pandemic, the group launched Heirloom Goods, an online store that offers holiday take-out packages, DIY cooking kits, a curated butcher shop, wine and cocktails to-go, and in-home chef experiences.
Future plans include the launch of the Californian- and Italian-inspired restaurant Sauce and updates to Townhouse Birmingham. “The Birmingham location will be next in the remodeling and ‘elevating the experience’ pipeline,” Sasson says. “The only thing that is for certain is that the two [Townhouse] locations will be very different when we are done.”
Those interested in dining at Townhouse Detroit during the soft launch must reserve a time through Resy. The restaurant’s hours will be 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday. A grand opening is expected to happen later this fall when the entire interior is complete.
For more information, visit eatattownhouse.com.