Monday, August 26, 2013

[EID Preview] Rock City Eatery

All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.
In a matter of weeks, Rock City Eatery will be open in Hamtramck. Rock City Eatery is the full-service sit-down restaurant concept from Nikita Santches, also known as "the Pie Guy" of Rock City Pies. After gaining a loyal following as a regular weekend vendor at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale and being a finalist in the 2012 Hatch Detroit competition, Nik is about to realize his dream of opening his own restaurant. Yes, there will be pie, but there will also be so much more - like bone marrow fritters, duck rillette, and "Nicole's Poutine" (guess who that's named after!).

Nik is sticking to his guns and serving a menu featuring all items he makes himself in-house that at closest approximation can best be described as "new American," but goes so much beyond that - from Eastern European-inspired offal dishes to modern American dishes with an Asian-influenced flair and other things that you could expect from someone who worships Anthony Bourdain (we agree to disagree on that). There is also a full bar menu featuring all-Michigan wines and beers, "Lushies" (booze slushies), rum-spiked horchata, boozy milkshakes, and a cocktail list that runs from the classics (Negroni, Pimm's Cup) to house-made Sangria and Nik's own creations like "the Zetterberg" (he's Russian, enough said - and yes this one has vodka in it).

As he puts on the finishing construction touches and awaits his last rounds of inspections, here's a preview of the space which he designed and worked on himself with help of family and friends.

Nik's fellow Rust Belt vendor David Moroz Art Furniture created several hand-made furniture pieces made from reclaimed materials (and really awesome stuff which is also slowly taking over EID headquarters) - most of the tables and the long bar along the north wall are his work.

Vintage items came from another fellow Rust Belter the Detroit Picker and Vogue Vintage in Ferndale.

The walls will feature original artwork from Detroit photographer Kay Young - huge canvas-mounted prints of original photos she took of the godfather and godmother of punk (Iggy Pop and Patti Smith, both major players in the Rock City scene in the '70s) - and a signed and numbered print from Detroit's own punk empress and internationally-acclaimed artist Niagara.

The building that is home to Rock City Eatery is one of the oldest in Hamtramck, dating back to 1918. Nik has exposed some of the original brick on the south wall and utilized loose bricks from the original building for the kitchen counter.

An iron door found in the basement (which was built as a bomb shelter) was brought upstairs and now features prominently in the dining room.

For more photos, check out the Flickr set here.

And, just for funsies and comparison's sake, this is what the space looked like before as Maria's Comida: