Magnet, a restaurant featuring plant-centric dishes, is opening in a 2,100-square-foot former radiator shop in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood later this month. Brad Greenhill, executive chef, creative director, and partner, and Philip Kafka, partner and developer, are aiming for simplicity, discovery, and an escape from the world’s noise.
The food is designed to be straightforward, simple, and delicious. While meat will be available, Kafka says Greenhill’s artistic challenge is to make vegetables taste great.
“It’s relatively easy to make a steak taste good,” Kafka says. “Fat tastes good.” Kafka and Greenhill already opened Takoi, a Thai-inspired restaurant in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.
Each dish and cocktail at Magnet will be anchored by a single ingredient and made in a kitchen with only a wood-powered grill and a wood-powered oven. The goal of the restaurant is to celebrate ingredients and what the earth provides. Menu items in the works include cauliflower baked in the oven, seared fresh tomatoes, lamb skewers, fire-roasted eggplant, and smoked rib-eye steak. There will be many vegetarian and vegan options.
While there is no theme for the restaurant’s food, the technical limitations of the wood-burning stove and grill will feed Greenhill’s creativity. Mike Conrad will serve as the chef de cuisine and run the kitchen. He will collaborate on the menu with Greenhill as ingredients become available seasonally. Kafka says restaurants are designed to be studios for chefs.
Drinks also are designed to be simple; the restaurant will offer an extensive wine list, five cocktails, some beers, and a few nonalcoholic drinks.
“I want (guests) to leave feeling the beauty and simplicity and feeling like they discovered a new place and a new way of eating,” Kafka says.
The restaurant has a 14-foot exposed ceiling and a 32-foot rectangular sunken bar. Its interior was designed using only walnut wood and tile.
Kafka says that while many successful restaurant owners want to open other locations that offer more bells and whistles, he and Greenfield wanted to do the opposite with Magnet to test their quality and clientele. They want to showcase what they can do and what the earth offers.
Magnet will anchor the south end of Core City Park, located at 4848 Grand River Ave. (south of Warren Avenue) on Detroit’s west side. Other businesses in the park include Ochre Bakery, Astro Coffee Roastery, Lafayette American, and Underdog Boxing Gym.
Tips will not be accepted, as workers will have a living wage and benefits.