This post was authored by Nicole Rupersburg of Eat It Detroit.
Even if you've never heard the name Ron Rea before, you've surely seen his work. A member of the Birmigham-based Ron and Roman architecture and design firm, Rea is quickly becoming a rock star of local restaurant design. Just this week, Oakland County declared him a hero, but don't worry real Detroiters: Rea shares his talents in Wayne County as well. So heed these words if you want to be that sort-of know-it-all diner "It's one thing to be able to name-drop chefs; the next big thing will be name-dropping interior designers."
Joe Muer Seafood (Detroit): Hour Detroit's 2012 "Restaurant of the Year" looks like it was decorated by a 15-year-old fashion house heiress with an unlimited credit line who has never been told 'no.' Probably this is one of those cases that has more to do with the client, and the Andiamo Restaurant Group (which owns Joe Muer) has certainly never been one for subtlety. It seems that every decorative idea suggested was met with an enthusiastic "Yes all of that and more of it." Less is more, guys.
John D Bistro (Ferndale): In stark contrast to Joe Muer, John D adopts the less is more approach with minimalist design and just enough decorative elements to achieve a slightly roughshod urban bistro motif. An archway intentionally made to look unfinished just looks ... unfinished, but the rest of it works beautifully.
Crispelli's Bakery and Pizzeria (Berkley): Rea's subtle design and entirely ivory color scheme has helped what could have been an otherwise cheesy concept (basically a cafeteria-style pizzeria) and has transcended it to something classy not trashy. Understated in every way, Crispelli's is a big win.
Clubhouse BFD (Rochester Hills): The "BFD" stands for "Beer Food Drink" but could just as easily stand for "Boy-Forward Design." With a name like "Clubhouse" it really needed to have that feeling of a grown man's getaway, and assorted bric-a-brac (sports memorabilia, antique automotive die casts, taxidermy) makes it feel appropriately like a man-cave. But a pretty man-cave.
With the local restaurant opening frenzy showing no sign of slowing down as we get further into 2012, Ron Rea is busier than ever. Upcoming projects include Local Kitchen and Bar in Ferndale and the Roberts Group's Bar ML in Birmingham. The next time a "foodie" tries to impress you by name-dropping local chefs, pull Ron Rea's name out of your pocket for the ultimate in one-upmanship.
·A Feast for the Eyes [Oakland County Prosper]
·John D Bistro Hosted a Little Pre-Opening Shindig [Curbed Detroit]
·Joe Muer Seafood: Modern or Meh? Ren Cen's Restaurant Redo [Curbed Detroit]