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Monday, December 28, 2015

Arcadian: a Marriage of Architecture, Food, Booze and Service

Posted By on Mon, Dec 28, 2015 at 12:05 PM

click to enlarge arcadian_rendering_2_.jpg
For two and a half years we’ve followed the progress of Arcadian Food & Drink (6416 Detroit Ave., as it slowly comes together in the old City Grill space in Detroit Shoreway. As opening day approaches (January? February?), we continue to learn more and more about the hotly anticipated two-level restaurant.

Chef-owner Cory Hess already has shared his plans for the food menu, an eclectic collection of moderately priced tavern fare mixed with slightly more upscale entrees. Pizzas and sandwiches are part of the plan, but so too are platters of raw and cooked seafood, meaty entrees, snacks, starters and sides.

We also know that given the development team, which includes Robert Maschke Architects, the interior will be an unconventional showstopper, a sentiment confirmed by Arcadian GM David Hridel.

“The place is going to be sexy; it’s not going to be like anything else in town,” he gushes. “It’s going to be really cool to see everything come together after, what, three years?”

We also are learning more about the beverage program, which will be under the direction of bar manager Jeff Rowe, whose relationship with bossman Hess stretches back to the Bistro on Lincoln Park days. He’s had the pleasure of working alongside some of Cleveland’s finest bar pros, he notes, including Will Hollingsworth, Mike Gulley and current colleague Hridel.

“We’ve been talking about this for years now,” says Rowe. “We’re trying to make everything perfect so that when we do finally open up to the public people are going to be dazzled, whether it’s with the architecture, or the food or the cocktail program.”

click to enlarge Old City Grill
  • Old City Grill
Rowe has worked closely with the chef to develop a beer, wine and cocktail program that will complement not just the food, but also the space and the neighborhood.

The 14-seat bar will feature 12 taps for beer, 4 taps for wine, wines by the bottle, and a cocktail program that will include classics, Rowe’s own creations, and frequent specials. In addition to a dedicated bar menu for food, the bar will host two separate happy hours per day, one early and one late.

“We want to be a destination where you can get some great food and then hang out after the dinner crowd dies down when it turns into a drinking destination,” Rowe says.

Rowe’s repertoire might include small-batch cocktails like punches and shrubs served from liter bottles. Not to be confused with batch-made cocktails served from a keg, or barrel-aged cocktails that age gracefully on a backbar for weeks or months at a time, Rowe’s will be fresh and fun.

“I like some cocktails to be a little funky,” he says. “I don’t like them to be straightforward; I like a lot of complexity to them. I like giving people variety, which keeps them coming back.”

More than bricks, bottles or bar snacks, what will set Arcadian apart from the crowd, says management, is the human element.

“Cory’s built a great team,” Hridel says. “What’s going to separate Arcadian from a lot of guys in town is going to be the service. I think it’s the people who can build up crews of professionals, seasoned vets, people who know their stuff and want to entertain and take care of you. That’s all we’re trying to do.”

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