Inside San Morello’s Mid-Century Italian Dining Room at the Shinola Hotel

Like so many Detroit buildings, the corner red-tiled tower at 1400 Woodward has had a long and remarkable history. It started out as a hardware store in 1915 and in the 1950s received a new look complete with the installation of an exterior clock from the Meyer Jewelry Company. Eventually it became home to the Eastern Wig and Hair Co., before billionaire Dan Gilbert added the property to his buckling portfolio of downtown Detroit properties in 2013. On Tuesday, December 18, the building will start a new chapter with the opening of San Morello, an Italian restaurant anchoring the Shinola Hotel development.

New York-based NoHo Hospitality Group took the lead on the restaurant along with several other food and beverage projects within the hotel. The partners including James Beard Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini, Luke Ostrom, and Huntington Woods native Josh Pickard worked with Gachot Studios on the design for the restaurant, which has a classic mid-century feel.

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The restaurant, which seats 110 diners, takes advantage of its corner space overlooking both Woodward and Grand River with big panels of windows that let in lots of light. San Morello’s interior works off an white and brown color palette that’s brightened by subtle blue and green upholstery. Stepping into the main dining room customers get a full view of a central bar. To the left, there’s a curved window into a second dining room and open kitchen space with vibrant, patterned tile, a wood-fired grill, and a white pizza oven. In warmer weather, seating will spill out onto Woodward Avenue. San Morello also includes a separate private dining space that fits 40 people and also includes front row views of Woodward Avenue.

NoHo’s partners have brought in staff from New York as well as some returning Detroit expats to work in the restaurant. “We were pleasantly surprised about how many volunteers [we had] within our own camp back in New York who really wanted the opportunity in Detroit and were really excited about Detroit,” Ostrom says.

Pickard adds that he’s noticed an increasing interest among people around the country in the developments happening in Detroit. “When you actually make something happen in Detroit, then you have some specific people are very anxious to want to jump on board and that’s been a great thing for us.”

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Chef Cory Barberio, a NoHo alum from New York, and pastry chef Jessica Leung will be running the kitchen at San Morello. The opening menu, which leans southern Italian, consists of options like sheep’s milk ricotta with hot honey, garlic, and Sicilian bread, blue crab pizza, grilled sea scallops, and shareable whole chicken “rosalina” with roasted peppers.

There are plenty of other projects still to come from the NoHo team in the Shinola Hotel. Next up is a cocktail bar called Evening Bar before New Year’s, followed by a beer hall called the Brakeman, and a fried chicken shop called Penny Red’s. San Morello will open first for dinner and expand into breakfast and lunch service in the first quarter of the new year. Michelle and Chris Gerard took a tour of the renovated restaurant ahead of the opening. Take a look around the space and scope out the full menu below.

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A stylish mid-century room with high ceilings, white walls, wood accents, a rectangular entryway with curved edges, and brown booths.

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San Morello Dinner Menu.pdf

• Italian Eatery San Morello Sets the Date for Debut Inside the Shinola Hotel [ED]
• Hitmaker Andrew Carmellini Is Bringing an Italian Restaurant to the Shinola Hotel [ED]
• All the Vital Updates on Restaurants and Bars at Detroit’s Shinola Hotel [ED]
• All Openings Coverage [ED]
• All Eater Inside Coverage [ED]

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