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Detroit restaurants get national press, but opening one not without its challenges

restaurantsAn article published this week by Mark Guarino of the Washington Post highlights the rapidly developing food scene in Detroit. Guarino says the city is “in the midst of a culinary transformation” on the way to “becoming a food mecca.” Those aren’t words to be tossed around lightly.

The restaurant industry has always been of interest to me. I grew up in a family of restaurateurs and I love working with the individuals who are putting Detroit on the map for innovative and unique cuisine. I personally like to check out all the new spots that are popping up in the city. Lately, I’m having trouble keeping up with all the new Detroit gastropubs, bistros, fine dining establishments and everything in between. The article mentioned a number of them: Central Kitchen + Bar, Rose’s Fine Food, Antietam, Grey Ghost Detroit, Selden Standard, Gold Cash Gold, Parks and Rec Diner and Wright & Company.

The blossoming Detroit restaurant scene is exciting for residents and visitors alike – and not just because the food these culinary geniuses plate up is amazing. These new eateries are creating a new economy, new jobs and heightened interest in the city itself – from residents to suburbanites and foodies from across Michigan and beyond.

The entrepreneurs and experienced chefs at the heart of Detroit’s “culinary transformation” deserve all the praise they receive from the Washington Post and elsewhere. There’s a lot that goes into opening a new restaurant in Detroit, something I blogged about previously. And Detroit isn’t the easiest place in the world to become a food entrepreneur.

Along with all the positive attributes the City offers, new restaurant owners and operators in Detroit are faced with some legal challenges as well. The post bankruptcy Detroit city government is working on ramping up its efficiency in granting occupancy permits and the like. Properties that are purchased outright often need redevelopment, requiring land use permits and other city approvals to operate. Many aspiring restaurateurs are surprised to find out how complicated it is.

I enjoy helping clients navigate the legal issues surrounding opening a new restaurant in Detroit, especially if it means another menu of delicious lunch or dinner options will soon be available right around the corner from the Dalton & Tomich office.

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