The quickest restaurant switcheroo in recent Detroit dining history is also proving to be one of the most short-lived.Â
Having replaced the floundering Huron Room seafood restaurant at 2547 Bagley after a whirlwind three-day re-conceptingÂ in February,Â Fist of Curry will serve its last bowl of kung fu-inspired curry Sunday after less than five months in operation.
The restaurant announced its closure on its Facebook page in a post dated June 29.
Reached by phone Thursday, Les Molnar, executive chef and co-owner of the InLaws Hospitality Group that runs Fist of Curry as well as Green Dot Stables and Johnny Noodle King, said a number of internal and external factors affected the group’s decision to shut it down.
“The Ford thing coming down was pretty big with the train station,” Molnar said. “Part of that announcement made us take a hard look at being nimble and flexible for the future of that area of Detroit. Rather than just chugging along and really trying to make curry into this dynamo thing that was on the come-up, we decided to consolidate our forces and see if we couldnâ€™t refocus some stuff. That being said, we do like the idea of keeping a neighborhood bar going. So thatâ€™s the leading idea in the clubhouse if you will. And just so you know, anything can change with us. We’re a little crazy that way.”
Fist of Curry was a little bit crazy to begin with. The hospitality group was hoping to reinvigorate the space where their Huron Room restaurant had failed to catch on and had talked about a curry pop-up. They instead decided to go full brick-and-mortar restaurant in the building that they own and also use as a commissary kitchen for their other properties.Â
Molnar said they found themselves spending too much time at a property that wasn’t doing the numbers they’d hoped, while other parts of their growing business needed attention.
â€śItâ€™s a little bittersweet,” Molnar said. “I do feel like weâ€™re kinda hitting our stride and just now figuring out what it should be on the menu. … We were starting to see an uptick in those numbers right after we made the call but before we made the announcement,” Molnar said. “It’s just that we found ourselves spending a lot of time at a place that wasnâ€™t generating maybe the vibe that we were looking for. I donâ€™t think the community wanted it, and we want to do something that the community wants.â€ť
What that might be is still in flux, but Molnar said the spaceÂ will likely continue its life as a neighborhood bar with rotating pop-ups, both from Inlaws concepts and employees and from visiting chefs. He cited Revolver in Hamtramck and Frame in Hazel Park as successful pop-up spaces, but pointed out that neither is very close to Corktown.
Meanwhile, Green Dot Stables is planning an imminent week-long closure while it undergoes a much-needed kitchen remodel. Molnar said there’s a possibility InlawsÂ could do a Green Dot pop-up at the Bagley space while the restaurant is closed.
â€śWe might just take Green Dot over to that space for a week and do one-off sliders that you couldnâ€™t do with the equipment that we have at the other store,” he said.
And the Fist of Curry brand isn’t totally dead, either. He said curry will likely still be available at the space on Thursdays, and the brand will be resurrected at pop-ups and other events around town.
The Inlaws group is also working on another establishmentÂ across town in an old drive-thru in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood. But Molnar’s business partner Jacques Driscoll said the concept for that location is yet to be determined.
â€śIt might be a year or two before we even do anything there,” Driscoll said. “We kind ofÂ rushed our last couple projects. We want to really take our time with this one.â€ť
Fist of Curry, 2547 Bagley, Detroit; 313-265-3325 andÂ detroitcurry.com. Closes Sunday and will be reborn as a neighborhood bar with rotating food pop-ups.
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