When serial restaurateur Jeremy Sasson opened his first spot, he wanted Townhouse Birmingham to resemble places he enjoyed in Lower Manhattan. “The idea is a mix of sophistication and funky comfort,” he told me back then for another news site.
Now, seven summers later, the idea is a mix of Latin street food and funky tropical confort as Sasson launches his fourth spot — Clementina, a seasonal cocktail patio and food truck at Capitol Park’s southeast edge. “This is what summer is all about,” the business posts a few days ago with photos and a “coming soon” tease. “Get ready for great vibes, hospitality and energy.”
It’s part of the “public space activation” projects, such as summer and holiday market booths, backed by the Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Quicken Loans Community Fund. “We believe that great parks have the ability to make people happier, healthier and more connected to their community,” says that Dan Gilbert-affiliated fund.
The 75-seat serving area looks customer-ready and reportedly opens by early next week. Flower baskets, tabletop greenery, planters, bistro chairs and exposed bulbs dangling from a wood pergola create a beach club mood.
Sasson, 33, also owns Townhouse Detroit and Prime + Proper steakhouse. He casts himself as “chief experience officer” of Heirloom Hospitality Group.
The outdoor setting for Clementina — branded as “a modern Latin street kitchen” — is a cornere of the triangular greenspace at State and Griswold Streets. Handily, it’s opposite Sasson’s seven-month-old steakhouse on Griswold, where some items will be prepared and carried to the food truck, Mark Kurlyandchik reports in a Free Press preview.
The turquoise bar, fabricated from a cargo shipping container, has a neon “Libaciones” sign and the curbside grill is billed as “nacho average food truck.”
The website has only a landing page slide for now, with no dishes to peek at yet. “The 14 menu items priced from $4-$13 will highlight the bright, tart flavors frequently found in Latin cuisine,” Kurlyandchik writes.
He suggests it could feel like “a quick trip to Miami Beach during your lunch break” — if you let your imagination drift or knock back enough mojitos, perhaps.
The food writer adds details from a recent visit:
Taking design cues from Cecconi’s in Miami Beach, Clementina certainly looks more like a swanky outdoor restaurant patio than a food truck dining area. . . .
You’ll place your food order at the truck and your drink order at the shipping container bar and then receive a text message on your phone when they’re ready.
The food arrives in the same single-use packaging regardless of whether you’re dining in or taking it to go.
Lunch and dinner will be served through late September, at least. Some type of all-season extension is possible, Sasson tells the Freep.
For now, his team is recruiting and training cooks, servers and bartenders. Resumes can be emailed to Scott@clementinadetroit.com.
Clementina and its owner post these photos on Facebook and Instagram: