|Torino Espresso + Bar. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.|
There has been a flurry of restaurant opening activity in Oakland County lately. Ferndale has seen One-Eyed Betty’s and John D Bistro both open within the last two months, with Woodward Imperial (which will serve California-style gourmet tacos) and Local Kitchen and Bar (serving contemporary American and upscale comfort food) opening soon. The Roberts Restaurant Group – which operates Streetside Seafood in Birmingham, Town Tavern in Royal Oak, and Beverly Hills Grill in Beverly Hills – recently opened Roadside B&G in Bloomfield Hills in the former Brandy’s location, and are currently working on their next concept, Bar ML in Birmingham. Craft beer lovers have a new mecca at Clubhouse BFD, which just opened in February in Rochester Hills. And there are about a dozen other upscale, big-budget concepts currently in the works in Birmingham and Royal Oak which just goes to show the restaurant industry is on an unprecedented upswing in 2012.
One thing all of these places seem to have in common is a whole new focus on interior design. Previously it seemed that design aesthetic in restaurants and bars was never anything more than an afterthought; if the bar itself was interesting (glossy polished wood perhaps, or industrial chic metal and concrete) the rest sort of fell by the wayside; the emphasis was all on the menu, the wine list and the staffing – the rest would just get covered in tablecloths anyway.