There have been a slew of new restaurants opening in metro Detroit lately, and most have been met with some measure of excitement and media frenzy. But none has been so eagerly anticipated as Vinsetta Garage, a new restaurant located in a historic old garage on Woodward Ave. in Berkley.
Part of that is because the owners have kept such a tight lid on it. Curt Catallo (a respected restaurateur who also owns Union Woodshop and Clarkston Union, both of which recently appeared on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network) and KC Crain (vice president and group publisher of Crain Communications and overseer of AutoWeek) have only allowed a scant amount of media coverage prior to the opening, which naturally fanned the flames of interest. Both partners have their own backgrounds in the auto industry (Catallo on the ad agency end, Crain on the publishing end) and both are huge auto enthusiasts. The iconic garage was important to each of them, so when Catallo approached Crain (who had recently purchased the building) about doing a restaurant concept inside, it was pure serendipity.
Now Vinsetta is almost ready to open its doors for a whole new kind of business. For nearly 100 years the building served as a popular auto garage, on the main drag of the Woodward Dream Cruise in the heart of Motor City metro. The space is so infamous in hot-rodder circles that it even has its own eponymous TV show on the Velocity Network, AutoWeek's Vinsetta Garage (the first season aired earlier this year).
After several months of renovations preserving the integrity and aesthetic of the space itself, Vinsetta Garage has been reborn and now will serve customers once again, this time as a restaurant. "It's kind of a blank canvas for the craftsmen to do their trade," Catallo explains. "We're just replacing the tools of the trade. It's still a stage and still about craft; it's just a different service we're providing." Soaring skylights, massive garage doors, high wooden beams and glass block windows maintain the historic garage look, while classic car accents and automotive details complete the design motif.
As for the food ... "Union Joints" fans located south of the M-59 equator will be thrilled to find the same culinary themes carried down to Vinsetta Garage by Executive Chef Aaron Cozadd. Elevated comfort food dominates a menu designed to pay homage to classic car cruisin': Angus beef meatballs, whole roasted chicken with stuffing, the Union's infamous mac and cheese, and a bacon burger that one guest of the recent private previews has described as "epic ... the best burger I've ever had in my entire life ... holy shit, watch out ... fucking amazing." Need more convincing? There are over 20 beers on tap, with an emphasis on Michigan craft brews.
Vinsetta Garage opens to the public this month, and if early buzz is any indication, this place is going to be harder to get a seat at than Slows. Metro Detroit, meet your new "it" restaurant.