See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Eastern Market's Motown Bistro & Oyster Bar opens in former Bert's space

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 2:38 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY OF MOTOWN BISTRO & OYSTER BAR
  • Courtesy of Motown Bistro & Oyster Bar
The son of Bert's Warehouse has a new Motown-themed restaurant called The Motown Bistro & Oyster Bar that's up and running in the Eastern Market. 

Jai-Lee Dearing's 12o-seat, upscale concept — which sits in a former Bert's banquet hall adjacent to the restaurant — focuses on seafood but also offers steaks and other dishes. That includes options like lobster mac and cheese, lobster bites (tempura battered cold water lobster served with cajun aioli), blue crab potato skins, and the New York Oscar (New York strip steak served with lump crab meat, garlic compound butter, and a potato). Behind the bar are over 150 rare scotches and bourbons.



The interior is decked out with Motown memorabilia on loan from Dearing's cousin, former Motown Records exec Billy London. A high-energy press release from the restaurant offers a nice description of what's in store.

"Chic lighting, posh woodgrain throughout the restaurant, and a sleek baby grand piano featured prominently in the window all lend themselves to the sexy, upscale ambiance.

“The walls of the newly-renovated space are lined with gold and platinum records, Grammy Awards, rare pictures, and other items culled from London’s personal collection to create a distinctively Detroit experience. Each of the bistro’s nine booths is dedicated to a specific Motown artist or group, giving guests a different experience each time they come. Diners can watch a looping documentary in the Jackson 5 booth, or get romantic in the Marvin Gaye booth. Are you a Stevie Wonder fan? Not officially, until you’ve dined in the Stevie Wonder booth.”

Dearing notes that the linen tablecloths, formally-attired waitstaff and maître d are a departure from the chill, soul food vibes of Bert's, but both venues love and offer the same music. Motown is booking live acts that will start at 7 p.m. each evening. 

Aside from working as the manager of Bert’s Marketplace — a restaurant that Dearing's father opened 30 years ago — Dearing opened the Rockefeller's Oyster Bar in Grosse Pointe Park, which closed after a fire in 2016.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest Detroit dining news with our weekly food newsletter delivered every Friday morning.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 14, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit