Sushi Bar, Distillery, Charcuterie Coming to Detroit’s Corktown


As the Cooley family and partners complete Gold Cash Gold, a new restaurant at Michigan Avenue and Wabash Street set to open in late summer, it is working with others to help open Social Sushi, a 35-seat restaurant that will be built in Roosevelt Park, at Michigan and 16th near the Michigan Central Station.

The restaurant, which has applied for a Class C liquor license, will adjoin a 3,600-square-foot public space that will serve as a year-round public dining room and community center where people can bring in outside food. Leading the project are co-founders Jay Rayford and Grace Montero as well as nine students from Lawrence Technological University in Southfield and Detroit, and 35 students from Western International High School in southwest Detroit. The chef is Michael Han, who recently moved from Chicago.

Slated to open in late summer, Social Sushi is a class project that includes Phil Cooley, co-owner of Slows Bar BQ at Michigan and 14th, and a Lawrence Tech professor working with the students. “We should have the footings in the ground in the next two weeks,” says Cooley, general contractor for O’Connor Realty and Development in Corktown. “The students are getting a lot of hands-on experience and are really the ones driving things.”

In addition, Cooley is working as the general contractor for his fiancé, Kate Bordine, along with partners Brandi Keeler, Sara Aldridge, and Pernod Ricard, for Our/Detroit, a 35-seat bar serving vodka from various distilleries in Michigan. The establishment is set to open by July at Bagley and 18th streets, kiddy-corner to Mexican Village Restaurant and a block from Honey Bee Market.

“You might see prepared foods down the road, but the focus will be on the vodka at first,” says Cooley. “You might see some local flavors, say, for example, a Michigan cherry vodka or some other local ingredient.”

In related news, by June, Jason Frenkel and Abbey Markel are opening Rubbed, a 35-seat restaurant offering sandwiches and charcuterie on Michigan Avenue, between Vermont and Wabash streets (across the street from a White Castle). “We’re working on the design right now,” says Frenkel, co-owner of Alley Taco in the Marcus Market in Midtown. He’s also a proprietor of two operations on the roof of Music Hall — Sticks and Bones Grill and 3Fifty Terrace.

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