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Another Restaurant for the Renaissance Center

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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Restaurant, jazz club planned at the RenCen

Seldom Blues, scheduled to open next year, to feature steak and seafood entrees, music

By R.J. King / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- Adding another spark to downtown's fledgling revival, restaurateur Frank Taylor, Detroit Lions standout Robert Porcher and noted musician Alexander Zonjic are teaming up to open a 300-seat, fine dining restaurant and jazz club in the Renaissance Center.

The restaurant overlooking the Detroit River, to be called Seldom Blues, is scheduled to open next summer near the Marriott Hotel.

Last month, Bingham Farms restaurateur Matthew Prentice signed a lease to reopen the former Summit Restaurant on top of the RenCen's Marriott Hotel. The 300-seat eatery, to be called Coach Insignia, is expected to open next spring.

The two restaurants join a growing list of eateries that have opened in downtown Detroit over the last two years, including Sweet Georgia Brown, Small Plates, Detroit Beer Co., D'Eduardo Foxtown Grille, Maverick's, Jacoby's Grill, Bert's on Broadway, Downtown Bookies and Fifth Avenue Billiards. Hard Rock Cafe plans to open a restaurant in Compuware Corp.'s new downtown headquarters next month.

Taylor, co-owner of Sweet Georgia Brown that opened last year in Detroit's Greektown, said Seldom Blues "will be sophisticated, yet fun."

"We're going to combine three ingredients into one venue -- fine food, excellent service and great music," Taylor said. "The decor will be a mixture of fine woods, hints of blue light and lots of glass to take advantage of the river views."

Seldom Blues will combine nightly entertainment with steak and seafood entrees that will range from $20-$38, Taylor said. Prospective entertainers will include Ramsey Lewis, Nancy Wilson as well as Zonjic.

Zonjic said the restaurant will not attempt to mimic a concert hall.

"We're going over the acoustics for the restaurant right now," said Zonjic, a well-known flutist and jazz performer in Metro Detroit. "We do envision people from Chicago or St. Louis flying in for a weekend of music and staying at the Marriott Hotel."

General Motors Corp., which owns the RenCen, has been working with Bloomfield Hills-based Taubman Centers Inc. to fill the office, hotel and retail complex with stores and restaurants.

You can reach R.J. King at (313) 222-2504 or rjking @detnews.com.

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