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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Michael Symon's Roast -- bringing one kick-ass ribeye to the Motor City

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2008 at 6:31 AM

One of the high-points of covering last week’s story on Roast, Michael Symon’s Detroit restaurant slated to open in late October, was the chance to chat with the charming Chris Ferchill, VP of development for Cleveland’s Ferchill Group, which owns the historic Westin Book Cadillac Hotel where the restaurant will be located. ... Since renovations began in August 2006, Ferchill has sunk more than $200 million into bringing back the 32-story, 780,000-square-foot property which, when it opened in 1924, held the distinction of being the tallest hotel in the world. In its new iteration, the Book Cadillac will be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, a worldwide operator of luxury hotel properties. How did Symon get picked for the important project? Turns out, the Ferchills are long-time friends of the Symons. Chris even helped broker the deal for Symon’s Lola space on E. 4th St. “We had been trying to attract a restaurant to the hotel for six months,” Chris explained. “We knew we wanted a high-end steakhouse, and all the major national chains had expressed interest. Then one day, it just dawned on me: Why don’t we ask Michael? “There’s no better operator around, plus it would keep the money local, not send it out of town.” And, as we both agreed, Symon is the absolute master of grilled meat. “I love the ribeye he does at Lola,” I offered. “So do I!” Chris responded. “I order it nearly every time I eat there!” “I would if I could,” I countered, although my job demands mainly dictate my meal choices. “But anytime I’m just there for pleasure, I always order the rib steak – in fact, Michael scolded me last time for ordering something so mundane.” “He yelled at you, too?” Chris said excitedly. “He yelled at me, too! ‘Here you are, surrounding by all this great food, and you order a steak?’” “But man, it’s a really good steak!” Besides introducing all this beefy goodness to Motor City, Chris also hinted that Symon’s association with Starwood might have far-reaching benefits for Cleveland’s Iron Chef. “Starwood doesn’t have an association with many celebrity chefs. So there could certainly be room for expansion within the Starwood family.” In other words, a chain of Michael Symon’s Roasts might some day circle the globe. And should you visit one, take Chris Ferchill’s advice. “Get the ribeye!” – Elaine T. Cicora

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