Banter in Gordon Square Opens Today, January 23

"We looked at a number of spots, but this feels like home"

click to enlarge Banter to open in Detroit Shoreway in early 2024. - Douglas Trattner
Douglas Trattner
Banter to open in Detroit Shoreway in early 2024.
After nearly four years, Banter (5428 Detroit Ave.) is back in business on the west side of town. Owner Matthew Stipe announced that he will officially open the doors to the new Gordon Square location at 4 p.m. today, January 23. The restaurant will then close for one day and reopen on Thursday. From then on, it's game on — seven days a week.

Note: Until the liquor license arrives from our state's capital within a week or so, it will BYOB.

Stipe opened the bottle shop, bar and restaurant in late 2015 and closed it in 2020. After a lengthy search for a new location, he landed on the former home of Minh Anh in Gordon Square, which had closed the previous year.

"When we wanted to reopen, there was no other neighborhood that we wanted to be in," Stipe explains. "We looked at a number of spots, but this feels like home. I do feel that we are the right stewards to take over what was such an important restaurant for so many people in this town."

Like the original (and unlike the fast-casual version that resides in the Market Hall at Van Aken District in Shaker), the Gordon Square Banter marks a return to sit-down, full-service dining.

"Here, we wanted to reestablish ourselves and elevate both the cuisine and dining experience back to what people expected at the original restaurant," adds Stipe. "The experience out in Shaker is wonderful, but it's different. I think that our guests are looking forward to a more traditional dining experience."

The completely renovated double storefront is broken up into two main spaces: the barroom and dining room. The occupancy has risen from about 60 to 95, including a larger bar, new booths and more tables. A side patio will come online in spring.

Chef Nick Dlugoss has taken the menu back to its classic framework of poutine, sausages, corndogs and starters, with more options in each category. The fried cheese curds are back, joined by a Polish Boy, Mexican street corndog, chicken shawarma poutine and others. Every bottle of champagne comes with a free side of fries.

In addition to the beer and wine lists, there is an all new cocktail list this time around.

One of the most notable changes can be found in the retail selection, which has been pared down to 40 beers and 120 wines. Those items are available for on-premises enjoyment with a small corkage fee or to-go.

"Even before we closed the old restaurant we had the discussion that, for numerous reasons, we would limit it," Stipe says of the retail offerings.

As Stipe readies the space for its first guests, he can't help but feel a little anxious given the lengthy delay.

"I am excited," he says. "There's always some trepidation but I've opened up enough restaurants — either for myself or others — that I feel pretty calm. You can never be 100-percent prepared, but you can be prepared enough."

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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