J'adore: What separates Prime + Proper from other steakhouses in the area?
Adil: "One of the things we’re really focusing on is the experience guests get. Not only in terms of what we provide, but hospitality and the decor of the space. The decor really rounds out the entire room and makes people feel special. It feels like you’re in London or New York."
J'adore: What about the decor makes it feel special?
Adil: "Everything has been custom made, that’s why we’ve been taking so long to open. Even the booths and chairs are custom. The decor will make people feel like they’re in a really special place; all the details, the light fixtures, where things are located, the wine placement and storage throughout the restaurant."
J'adore: Tell me about Prime + Proper’s concept
Adil: "It’s really in the name. Prime quality and proper service. We really focused on service a lot in our meetings. As we get set to open our main focus is hospitality- we want to elevate hospitality to the highest level we can push ourselves to."
J'adore: What is Cash Only?
Adil: "Cash Only’s vision is focused on hospitality, again, I can’t reiterate that enough. Cash Only is a victorian era cocktail bar underneath the steak house. As the name says, it’s Cash Only. It’s invite only. Instead of being a separate entity from the steak house, it’s an additional amenity. Having the beautiful experience of an interactive cocktail bar, and having a great time after you’ve enjoyed a beautiful dinner upstairs. The cocktails will pair with certain glassware. A lot of the glassware we’ve been sourcing has been from the victorian era. As it arrives into our office, it’s like opening up a Christmas present."
J'adore: As beverage director, what will be your role in the restaurant and bar?
Adil: "It’s really cool! I’m new to the company, I’m doing a lot of the administrative work and financial side of things. I find it to be unique and interesting. I do a lot of menu development and purchasing. I work on the bar design- I sat down with the design team, creative team, and marketing team, everything a director would typically do. When the restaurant opens, I’ll be spending a lot of time in the space, to begin with, making sure the cocktails are made how I would like them to be executed."
J'adore: How do interactive cocktails differ from your standard well?
Adil: "The goal is to interact with all senses- the way you see the cocktail, what it smells like, what the glassware looks and feels like- whether it’s glassware or a serving vessel. We’ve traveled around the country and parts of the world seeing new and unique techniques and trends out there. It is all really exciting putting our own personality on things."
J'adore: Will Prime + Proper guests be able to order the same cocktails served at Cash Only?
Adil: "No. As of right now, Cash Only is designed to serve the style of cocktails that are developed for downstairs while Prime + Proper is designed to serve cocktails that are developed for the steakhouse. Since it’s an amenity to our steak house we want to keep it unique and not have any transfer, in terms cocktails at least. Personally, I would like to keep those downstairs and for the people who are being invited down and not take away from their experience downstairs."
J'adore: How regular do you have to be to get the invite to Cash Only?
Adil: "It’s not necessarily, if you’re a regular. The members are people who have been influential in the resurgence of the city. Or maybe it’s someone’s anniversary and we invite them down to celebrate. There aren’t any set rules as of yet, it’s an on the spot, day to day invite."
J'adore: How will guests be invited downstairs, how do you know when you’ve made the cut?
Adil: "We’ll be sending special invites to our members… I really don’t want to say what that’s going to be."
J'adore: Is that where the custom steak knives come in?
Adil: "The steak knives and the Cash Only Invites don’t necessarily have a link. Do I think some of those guests will have access to downstairs, yes. The steak knives are a whole other process."
J'adore: How will you keep guests from bugging to go downstairs?
Adil: "It’s not bugging. It’s not something we’ve looked into too much. It will just depend on how we want to control the environment and traffic flow that night."
J'adore: What inspired the idea for a separate bar?
Adil: "Cash Only is intended to really elevate the experience of the guest and give them something more than just going out to eat at a really nice restaurant. It’s really nice when you can go to a nice hotel and have a dining experience and then walk over to the beautiful hotel bar after for a drink and have a unique experience. That’s what Cash Only is like, you dine in a beautiful restaurant and can go downstairs to a beautiful bar- it adds to the interest, hype and again it’s an amenity to our steakhouse."
J'adore: What do you think guests will be most excited about?
Adil: "I really hope the hospitality. We’re spending so much time to make sure we give proper service- well executed French style service; not scripted and really genuine."
J'adore: What are you most excited about?
Adil: "Opening. (Haha) Everything! We’re doing something unique and spending so much time. Seeing the work come to life will be rewarding."
J'adore: How does the butcher counter play into it?
Adil: "We have an in-house butcher shop. Walter is our butcher, he looks like a butcher but he’s the cuddliest butcher you’ve ever met. There’s a dry age room and a butcher shop right next door to it with beautiful windows. Guests will pass by on the way to the restroom, it will be a wowing experience. Another thing that makes Prime + Proper unique is that we’re going to be butchering and dry aging in-house. Those things weren’t necessarily easy to execute especially since we haven’t built a place before with a butcher shop and dry aging storage."
J'adore: Do you have to eat at the restaurant to buy meat from the butcher shop?
Adil: "No, you’re able to purchase the meat we serve without eating in the restaurant. There’s a whole retail element to the restaurant."
J'adore: What other restaurants and bars have you worked for?
Adil: "I’ve worked for MGM for a little over four years and I’ve worked at Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails. I have helped with many conferences and events around the country i.e. Tales of The Cocktail, San Antonio Cocktail Conference, Portland Cocktail Week, Camp Runamok and many more. What’s more than working in bars is connections that you make while being part these conferences and events. You get to work alongside people from all over the world who work and run world renowned restaurants and bars. I am incredibly fortunate and lucky that I get to call them close friends and mentors and be able to reach out to them for anything that I may need. I actually hired one of our bartenders, Jonathan, through doing these conferences who moved to Detroit from New Orleans just to work with us."
J'adore: When will Prime + Proper open, is there a set date?
Adil: "I wish, no, we’re in the works of construction. Since everything is custom it’s hard to say when it’s going to be ready. I would love to say mid to late June, if we happen to go over it’s because we’re trying to make sure we’re not cutting any corners."
J'adore: What's planned for the grand opening?
Adil: "We will be doing soft openings before we really open the doors. First, we want to sit down and enjoy some bubbles with the team that’s putting this all together. In terms of the first day we're open, I haven’t thought about that yet."
J'adore: Is there anything else you would like J’adore readers to know?
Adil: "We have a wonderful team of people who are all working very hard on putting all this together. Culinary Director Michael Barrera, Executive Chef Ryan Prentis and Executive Butcher Walter have some amazing things in store on the food side things. Our Sommelier Liz Martinez and myself are hard at work to bring our beverage vision to life. A lot of what we’re doing we want to be a surprise for our guests. It’s one of the reasons we’re not sharing a lot with people right now but giving them something to look forward to. I want them to come to our space and be wowed by the service, food, beverages and the atmosphere."