New restaurant Petty Cash opens on Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion

The menu is described as ‘soulful upscale and approachable’

click to enlarge The new restaurant Petty Cash on Detroit's Avenue of Fashion. - Lee DeVito
Lee DeVito
The new restaurant Petty Cash on Detroit's Avenue of Fashion.

Black walls, gold accents, stylish light fixtures, and portraits of musical legends flow throughout the dining area of Detroit’s newest restaurant, Petty Cash.

Described as a “moody, elevated and soulful,” the restaurant on Detroit’s west side is owned by Art Hicks, Kelly McBride, Rufus Bartell, and former NFL player Ron Bartell Jr., who also owns nearby Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles.

The restaurant on the historic Avenue of Fashion opens its doors on Thursday, offering indoor and outdoor dining and a locally sourced menu that caters to a variety of dietary needs.

There is indoor seating for 82, including bar seating offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. Garage-style doors open to an outdoor patio with 42 seats. The restaurant will start out as reservations only.

“I am a chef by trade,” McBride says. “I wanted to see a variety of good foods at our restaurant.”

For McBride, his once summer job turned into a career. At the age of 15 he started off in the hospitality restaurant business at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield. He began his career as a dishwasher for only 30 days, and moved up to a sous-chef by the age of 16. The country club soon paid for his culinary schooling at Oakland Community College. That summer job led him to many opportunities along the way.

“I took interest in food, because I can make food look pretty,” he says.

McBride currently lives in the neighborhood, not far from the restaurant. As he was driving one day, he realized that there were only fast-food restaurants in the area.

“I had to go to Midtown or Birmingham or Royal Oak to get food that I liked,” he says. “I wanted to put what we like in our neighborhood. Why should we have to travel outside our neighborhood to get what we like?”

He adds, “I decided to open a restaurant in Detroit because I’m a Detroiter. Why not build in your own neighborhood and community? I wanted a restaurant in the neighborhood where it’s upscale casual, not white linen, but it is that medium [level] where I feel good about this place. We are not a bar, but you also do not have to put on a tie.”

The small plates restaurant will feature a menu with vegan and vegetarian options, smoked meats, unique seafood, as well as one-of-a-kind craft cocktails.

“Our waitress staff will explain to our guest why we created a certain dish to help in placing their order and explain what type of spices are in that dish.” McBride says. “We are doing the same things with our cocktails.”

The menu is described as “soulful upscale and approachable” according to a news release announcing its opening. Prices range from $15 to $45. Meal and bar checks come with 20% gratuities added.

Diners visiting the restaurant are required to pay a $20 reservation deposit in the dining room and $200 deposits for groups at a 10-seat patio table or in two lounges, each with space for six guests. Bookings can be rescheduled up to a day ahead, but deposits are kept for shorter-term cancellations.

Dominic McCord is Petty Cash’s executive chef, previously working at Leila in downtown Detroit. He is also the creator behind the restaurant’s menu.

“I had full control, creating the menu,” McCord says. “The creativity was all on me. My goal is just to introduce different cuts of meat, introduce different vegetables, introduce different cooking techniques.”

McCord says everything is fresh at the restaurant.

“It’s so much thought into the dishes on the menu, even with the simplest things like a French fry,” he explains. “My French fry is not regular. I am not buying frozen anything. Everything on the menu is thought out.”

The chef utilizes Southern cooking techniques but incorporates pomegranate molasses for his barbecue sauce or toasted cumin and turmeric instead of the more traditional dry rubs diners might be more accustomed to.

“I want to be that safe spot for our guest,” McCord says. “I want them to say that, ‘We shop at Petty Cash because we try things that we never had before, and the staff are going to make things well.’”

To keep up with all the new trendy changes with food, McCord says he reads and eats a lot of different meals.

“I am out of town at least one a month or in another country trying new foods,” he says. “I am eating my way around the world.”

Hicks says he looks forward to the grand opening of Petty Cash.

“I am excited to for our guests to experience new foods and enjoy their time away,” he says.

Petty Cash is located at 20050 Livernois Ave., Detroit and, will open to the public at 5 p.m. on Thursday. Regular hours will be Wednesday through Sunday. For reservations, see pettycashdetroit.com.

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About The Author

Darlene A. White

If you see Darlene, she is usually on deadline while holding a cup of coffee in one hand and chasing her twin toddlers across metro Detroit. She is a Ferndale High School graduate, a Wayne State Warrior, and a proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists. Darlene’s first love is radio. One of...
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