Casual dining restaurant nears opening date in downtown Birmingham

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown, a casual fine dining restaurant in downtown Birmingham, is on track to open by the end of the month.

The new restaurant is co-owned by Beth Hussey and Emmele Herrold, self-described food soulmates that have demonstrated success in the industry. Hussey and Herrold opened Ferndale’s One-Eyed Betty’s and Pop’s for Italian as managing partner and executive chef, respectively.

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown, however, is much more than a restaurant. The concept includes a modifiable private dining facility and also a daily market. C Store will open every day at 7 a.m. and sell familiar items found at any convenience store.

And then there’s the 10,000 square-foot restaurant itself, which takes its names from the three surrounding neighborhoods. Each neighborhood comes with its own food and drink menu. Hazel features familiar American comfort food and drinks. Ravines features more well-traveled and exotic fare. And Downtown will focus on the latest trends in drinking and dining.

That location, at the intersection of three neighborhoods at Woodward Avenue and Maple Road, defines the menu and much more for Hussey and Herrold.

"It’s the greatest corner in southeast Michigan if you ask me," says Hussey.

"I’ve always loved Woodward. The fact that we’re on Woodward is pretty special to us."

Another focus will be the oyster bar. Hussey and Herrold have hired an "oyster guy" to manage the seafood selections and educate the staff about oysters.

Hussey and Herrold chose Birmingham because they identified a niche that they could fill. Feeling that the downtown lacked a casual dining restaurant, the duo wanted to create a place for all occasions, one where customers could arrive dressed up or come in jeans and t-shirts. The food, however, will remain top-notch, with a focus on farm-to-table fresh ingredients.

Hazel, Ravines and Downtown are located at 34977 Woodward Ave. Ste 100, in downtown Birmingham.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.