Chicago Restaurateurs to Open Meat-centric Eatery in Detroit's Midtown District

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Two Chicago restaurateurs will open a “meat-centric” restaurant, called Grey Ghost Detroit, with craft cocktails and seasonal offerings in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood in the spring.

Chefs John Vermiglio, left, a metro Detroit-native and the culinary director at Folkart Restaurant Management (with restaurants in Chicago including Billy Sunday, A10 Hyde Park, and Yusho Hyde Park) and a 2012 contestant on Bravo’s Around the World in 80 Plates, along with Josef Giacomino, right, the executive chef at A10, are heading up the venture. The duo is also partnering with David Vermiglio and beverage director Will Lee from Selden Standard.

“This has been something I’d had my eye on for the last 13 years since I left Detroit, and we’ve essentially been waiting for us to be ready to be restaurateurs and for the city (Detroit) to be ready to sustain several restaurants of an upper caliber,” John Vermiglio says.

Vermiglio says the restaurant, with a location not yet disclosed, will offer a meat-centric menu with a large craft cocktail menu featuring some older, lesser-known spirits.

“We use the term meat-centric because we really wanted to emphasize that we will showcase the best of what the Midwest has to offer, which is without a doubt the meat and potato world, but we didn’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into the idea that this is a stuffy, old-school steakhouse,” Vermiglio says.

He says the restaurant will be approachable and affordable, and hopes for it to be a place where people come before everything from a sporting event to a special event.

“We want it to be somewhere where you could show up to with your Tigers T-shirt on before the game and also be somewhere where you could come in with a suit and tie and have a lovely evening with your significant other or perhaps before a show at the Fox or before going to the DIA,” he says.

Vermiglio says the space is raw with many industrial components, including concrete, brick, and wood. The duo plans on adding in some elements to warm up the space, and using “found pieces” from around metro Detroit in the space.  

He says the name of the restaurant, Grey Ghost Detroit, is inspired by the infamous pirate from the Prohibition era who’s identity remains unknown. He was known for wearing a gray hat, trench coat, and carrying two gray pistols.

Ahead of the restaurant’s opening, Vermiglio and Giacomino will hold popup dinners at various locations throughout the city.

“We’ve seen a lot of menus that focus around a lot of different things whether it be a wine dinner or a craft spirit dinner,” Giacomino says. “We want to have our menus focus around a food item and so with our meat-centric concept coming up here, we’re going to choose to focus on a different beast if you will for each one of these popups.”

He says the first dinner in the series will be held on Dec. 4 at Yemans Street in Hamtramck and feature the cow. To purchase tickets, click here.​

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