Why Shawn McClain Will Open His New Flagship in Detroit: 'The City Is Raising the Bar'
The James Beard Award-winning chef's latest restaurant will occupy the top two floors of the GMRENCEN Tower
After living in Detroit for six years, Shawn McClain has decided to plant deeper roots in the city. This week, the award-winning chef announced that he will be opening a restaurant later this year at the top of the GMRENCEN Tower—occupying the 71 and 72 floors, to be exact. McClain is partnering with his wife, Detroit native Holly McClain, on the project, which will take the former spaces of the now-closed Coach Insignia and revolving restaurant, The Summit. (The GMRENCEN, Detroit’s most immediately recognizeable skyscraper, is the global headquarters for General Motors Co.)
"I have been living in Detroit for the better part of the last six years and have been patiently waiting for the right opportunity to arise," McClain tells Food & Wine. "Ultimately, it was really important for me to have an anchor flagship home base, and I felt this was a perfect fit. It is rare for such an iconic location to come on the market, but once I learned that it was available, I quickly started a conversation with General Motors."
McClain, who was born in San Diego, California, rose to national prominence in the Midwest, where his Evanston restaurant, Trio, earned four stars from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. In 2006, McClain was honored with the Best Chef Midwest award from the James Beard Foundation for his modern steakhouse, Custom House. The chef is also behind FIVE50 Pizza Bar and Sage in Las Vegas.
"There is tremendous energy and creativity going on in the Detroit food scene right now," he says. "The city is rallying behind and supporting a dynamic range of concepts, which is really raising the bar and garnering much-deserved national attention."
Located on the Detroit riverfront, the skyscaper is already home to 29 restaurants, including Andiamo Detroit Riverfront, Granite City Food & Brewery and Joe Muer Seafood, as well as two hotels.