Ima, the Detroit-based, Japanese-style noodle spot, keeps moving up.
The chain's original location in Corktown is relocating to the larger former Gold Cash Gold space across the street at 2100 Michigan Ave.
The news was first reported by Crain's Detroit Business. Ima has a 15-year lease at the new space and is expected to open in 2022, according to Crain's.
The original Ima opened in 2016 and quickly became a local favorite, opening additional locations in Madison Heights in 2018 and Detroit's Midtown in 2019, where it introduced a spicy karaage fried chicken sandwich to its menu.
At the time of Gold Cash Gold's announced closure, Edwards said it was difficult to keep weekday business. Owner Phil Cooley told Crain's that Corktown had not yet reached the same volume of foot traffic as Midtown or Downtown, despite Ford Motor Co.'s planned move into the nearby former Michigan Central Station.
But Ima chef-owner Michael Ransom is confident the space will work for him.
"We are pretty happy to secure a long-term lease and keep refining that restaurant and keep tuning and refining our existing locations," he told The Free Press. "It's a way for us to secure a location in the neighborhood. It guaranteed a permanent location in Corktown. And a better environment for our staff to work in."
The new location is 3,800 square feet, or about three times larger than the previous one. The move will allow the Corktown Ima to expand its indoor seating from 30 to 70, with a bar that can seat an additional 20, plus a patio that can seat 30 more.
"It was important to stay in the neighborhood," Ransom said. "That's where I've always lived in Detroit. It's definitely my neighborhood."
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