Chef Maxcel Hardy plots two new Detroit restaurants, including seafood boil and Afro-Caribbean spots

click to enlarge Chef Maxcel Hardy. - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
Chef Maxcel Hardy.
Detroit will be gaining a pair of new restaurants from celebrated chef Max Hardy, one a bit sooner than the other.

Hardy, who in 2019 was named by The New York Times as one of 16 Black chefs in America responsible for elevating the culinary scene, currently helms Caribbean-fusion stall COOP inside Midtown's Detroit Shipping Co. A former private chef, Hardy launched two restaurants in 2017. Though his Rosedale Park eatery River Bistro shuttered last year, COOP remains a hotspot in the food hall, which was recently outfitted a beachy outdoor patio space to increase dine-in traffic. According to Hardy, COOP's revenue has been drastically reduced due to the pandemic, and is “down by around 40 to 50%.”

However, according to Eater Detroit, Maxcel is now working on his long-awaited Afro-Caribbean concept brick-and-mortar, Honey. He reportedly recently secured a lease for the space downtown, but will have to hold off on the build-out given the mounting costs and slow financial recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. He says Honey could open in spring 2021 with an 85-seat dining room, open kitchen, and a speakeasy-style lounge area. The space is expected to include a private dining space, as well as a podcast studio.

While it may be a while for Honey, Hardy is expected to open another new offering in the fall, first as a pop-up. Hardy has teamed up with Ron Bartell, a former Detroit Lion cornerback and the owner of the popular Kuzzo's Chicken & Waffles, for what is being described as a casual seafood boil takeout spot.

What's Crackin' will be the latest customizable seafood boil bag restaurants to join the Detroit landscape, following Rosedale park's recently opened Cajun Boiling Crab. Customers can choose their seafood, sauce, and spices, including a selection of Chef Max Signature Spice Blends, which will be made available for purchase.

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