The Polish Boy at Banter.
When Matthew Stipe announced in 2020 that Banter
would be closing its original west-side location after five years, he made a pledge not only that the restaurant would return, but also that he would endeavor to make that comeback happen in Gordon Square. Today we learned that Banter indeed will be returning to Gordon Square, specifically the former home of Minh Anh restaurant.
“We were looking almost exclusively in Ohio City and Gordon Square,” Stipe explains. “We wanted to find what was going to be a good fit not only for how we fit into the neighborhood but also fit well with the landlords.”
That new landlord is the Bond Street Group, which is building the Waverly & Oak development right next door.
Although the new location is a short 10-minute walk east from the original, it might as well be a mile in terms of foot traffic. The move shifts Banter from the westward fringe of Detroit Shoreway to its heart.
“We were definitely on an island at our other location, but with the new location being right next to some great restaurants its nice to be able to have good neighbors like that and we’ll only enhance that part of the neighborhood,” Stipe says.
Stipe says that the Minh Anh building is larger than it might have appeared to diners given that more than half of the space was devoted to storage and other behind-the-scenes activities. When all is said and done, the new Banter will be larger and less chopped up than the original. Diners also can look forward to some outdoor dining space.
“We’ll probably get away from that art gallery-esque feel that we had,” adds Stipe. “I think our guests will still expect a more modern feel – you know, sleek, clean lines – but definitely a little bit more color. We want it to be a little bit more comfortable, a place where people can relax and hang out for hours and hours.”
Stipe says given new neighbors like Astoria, Flight and Gordon Square Market, the plan is to scale back on the retail beer and wine sales and to focus more on higher-end, harder-to-find selections. But that also will allow the kitchen, which will be helmed by chef Nick Dlugoss, to get a little more ambitious with its offerings. Those items will be joined by the standard lineup of fried cheese curds, Polish Boys, corndogs, poutine and sliders.
Stipe says it’s very early in the process, but the current estimate is an opening sometime before the end of the year.
“It’s nice going back to a neighborhood that really supported us so well, where we had so many great friends and regulars that we hope to see back,” he says. “That makes it a little easier, that we have a reputation and that people can expect great Canadian comfort food.”
Banter also operates a satellite shop at Van Aken District's Market Hall.