Birmingham sees restaurant boom

Birmingham has unprecedented boom in new restaurants

Author: Guy Gordon, Local 4 Anchor, @newsGuy4, guyg@wdiv.com
Published On: Oct 22 2013 06:24:52 PM EDT   Updated On: Oct 22 2013 06:40:25 PM EDT
BIRMINGHAM, Mich. -

The City of Birmingham is seeing an unprecedented boom in new restaurants. 

It's a sign the economy is beginning to roll. 

More than half-dozen new options to diners are available, but there are questions whether they are enough family dinning option or if they cater to the nightlife.

Market Bistro --a casual Italian site --quietly opened its doors Monday. They are the second new eatery to open in October; six more are coming in the new year.

It's a feast unlike anything Birmingham has ever seen.

"With Bistros we're limited to how many we can seat, so it's good to have a lot of activity.  We promote value, where someone can come in three times a week," said Kristin Bongiovanni the owner of Market Bistro.

At the same time at City Hall gave preliminary approval to two more spots, the Mad Hatter Cafe in the old Quiznos location and Debonair on the long vacant site of the Old Baker's Square.

City leaders say office occupancy and parking demand are at all-time highs. It brings jobs and buzz, but some retailers say it doesn't necessarily mean business.

The city's fancy steakhouses bring sizzle at night, but lunchtime is just lukewarm with few affordable kid-friendly places.

"We don't see much foot traffic during the day, and even if we stay open at night they don't shop, they just wait for their reservation," said business owner Dave Zawicki.

But that may soon change.

Rojo is a family oriented Mexican restaurant and Home Developed by the Jonna family is coming soon after.

"They promote themselves as very family friendly with pizza ovens and rotisseries and they will be open for dinner and lunch, so hopefully the tide is turning," said Downtown Publications editor Lisa Brody.