Joe Schebel opened the Rusted Crow Spirits tasting room in Dearborn Heights less than two years ago. And despite having limited hours throughout the week, the place quickly became popular for its cozy aesthetic, delicious drinks, and excellent house-made spirits.
General Manager Arielle Bumbul says the Dearborn Heights location was something of a destination for its patrons, since there isn't much else like it in that particular neighborhood.
However, the new Rusted Crow location, found in the heart of downtown Detroit, is a different story. In fact, it's a completely different beast with a totally different owner.
Opened for just shy of a month now, Rusted Crow Detroit is much more than just the tasting room at its sister location. It's a full-service bar and restaurant that serves lunch, dinner, and cocktails, and it's open seven days a week with live music Tuesday through Saturday.
The Detroit location is run by Schebel's brother-in-law Freddie Giordano, and the partnership began when the latter wanted to open a business in downtown Detroit due to the district's ongoing renaissance. So, he commissioned Schebel to design the space's interior and brought Rusted Crow Spirits into the fold.
Where the Dearborn Heights location is hyper-focused on the brand's spirits and craft cocktails, the Detroit location has extrapolated its offerings to include Jack Daniels, Captain Morgan's, Crown Royal, and other popular brands that are often requested at downtown bars. While these liquors are available, Bumbul says there is a distinct focus on Rusted Crow's spirits, and all their signature cocktails are strictly made with the vodka, gin, white rum, and moonshine from the Dearborn Heights distillery.
Right now, both Rusted Crow's Dearborn Heights and Detroit locations serve a dedicated list of eight cocktails that include names like Rosemary's Baby (Detroit Steam Vodka, grapefruit juice, rosemary syrup, lime juice, and ginger beer), Garter Belt (Ginstache Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and lemon juice), and Murder Minten (Murder Mitten Moonshine, mint, simple syrup, lemon juice, and lemonade). Each cocktail costs between $10 and $11.
In addition to Rusted Crow Spirits, though, the place specializes in Michigan craft beer and has an impressive number of handles dedicated to state-made suds. And in the spirit of having something for everyone, they also carry wine.
Peek into Rusted Crow and you'll notice the space is unique compared to other places in downtown Detroit — and you'll find the service isn't what you've come to expect from a restaurant in the area, either.
"We were really looking for experienced bartenders and servers," Bumbul says of their recent hiring process. "A lot of places you go downtown, you don't get good service, and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen here."
Bumbul, who first managed the Dearborn Heights location, has been working hard to get the place in order and nailed down. For example, the Detroit location's hours were in flux until she really figured out what worked for them. In addition, their cocktail menu consists only of drinks made at the Dearborn Heights location. But, come fall they'll have some new specialities of their own. Bumbul says they'll also start serving brunch sometime after Labor Day.
For now, their menu includes upscale bar food, according to Bumbull. That means burgers made with beef from Fairway Packing in Eastern Market, sandwiches, and entrees like filet mignon, shrimp, salmon, and chicken. They also have appetizers including a charcuterie board, portobello fries, and chicken wings.