Redesigned Coriander Kitchen and Farm to Open with Detroit River Canal Service
Outdoor service, on a 3,200 square foot patio, arrives just in time for early spring. Dine inside the restaurant’s 2,800 square foot space will begin at a later date, as current pandemic restrictions allow only 25 customers to be in the restaurant at a time.
The restaurant will employ 10 people as soon as it opens this weekend. This number will increase to 20 when domestic service begins.
Heeres said she and Meyer would have preferred to wait to open at 100% capacity.
“It’s not an option financially,” Heeres said. “At the same time, this is our first catering business. Due to the fact that we have a large patio which I think people will be delighted with and can dine safely (there), we thought it was important to open as soon as possible so that we can fix the issues because we won’t be inundated with people early on, we don’t think so. “
“Safety is very important to us,” Meyer said. “The patio is something we first tried last summer to safely serve delicious food with a great view and hand sanitizer to every table. So we could safely invite guests over.”
The restaurant is in the same complex as Detroit River Sports, owned by Meyer’s husband, Alex Howbert. The building, once a neighborhood hangout called Tommy’s and Fisherman’s Marina, had been abandoned for 15 years before renovations. Heeres and Meyer have invested approximately $ 420,000 in the renovations. Howbert shelled out “a lot more” for work on the building’s electricity and a new seawall, Heeres said.
Coriander is operating under a five-year lease with two additional five-year renewal options, Heeres said, adding that she and Meyer are paying “market rate” to lease the space.
The renovations have been delayed for six to eight months due to the pandemic. On top of that, they had to deal with how the pandemic affected their restaurant business, which lost around $ 150,000 in 2020, Heeres said, including $ 70,000 in events already booked.
“As a catering company that focuses on outdoor events, we still earn the majority of our money from May through September,” Heeres said. “It was all gone. I spent the first week of the pandemic staring out of a window wrapping my head around what happened. A lot of planning had to come out of the window.”
Based on the nature of their business, Heeres and Meyer operated with a small team and a long list of independent contractors. The duo received a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program, but Heeres said P3 – which is to be used primarily for payroll – was not the best tool for them. Heeres refused to disclose the exact amount of the loan.
Coriander’s premier menu features appetizers such as grilled halloumi cheese wrapped in grape leaves, Buffalo chicken wings, and a popular Great Lakes fish dip. Other offerings include salads, chili, lamb shoulder flatbreads, lentils, and vegetarian options. Fried fish sandwiches and cheeseburgers remain on the popular summer menu. A full menu of cocktails, beers and wines is also available. Meals cost between $ 8 and $ 15, and the restaurant also has beer to go.
Apart from the food, the hook of the restaurant is the location and the view.
Upon opening, Coriandre will have seating around fire pits that can be reserved and open seating at picnic tables by the canal. For groups of four to six people, dedicated fireplaces cost $ 10 per person for up to 90 minutes and $ 15 per person for groups of one to three. Guests can arrive by boat, bicycle or car.
“Our hope is that people enjoy the water and access to the paddleboards and kayaks at Detroit River Sports,” said Meyer. “People can reach us by multiple modes of transportation. It’s just a fun vibe we have here.”
The Paddle to Table Dinners, which include a sports tour of the Detroit River followed by a cilantro meal by the canal, will be back this year. Detroit River Sports is scheduled to open on May 10.
Heeres and Meyer see the space as very welcoming and hope that customers will make Coriander Kitchen and Farm one of their regular hangouts.
“This is the atmosphere that we are trying to create,” Heeres said. “The location is a bit out of the way for some people. We are sandwiched between parks on the canal. We are the only company here. But we want people to come and enjoy our food and drink and the natural surroundings. “