Chicago Restaurateur Kleiner Eyes Detroit Spot

Chicago Business

Chicago restaurateur Jerry Kleiner is considering opening a restaurant, tentatively named L's Cheesecake Bistro, in the 8,000-square-foot space that used to be Sweet Georgia Brown on the corner of Monroe and Brush streets in Detroit's Greektown.

Kleiner, known for building opulent restaurants in isolated areas, said he was approached by executives at Greektown Casino-Hotel, which owns the space, about opening a restaurant there.

Kleiner said he wants to open a restaurant in Detroit that fits the personality of the city but is still exploring options, including location.

"I think you have to cater to the needs of the community, and you want to do something for that particular customer base," he said. "You can't go wild, but you want some sizzle."

Kleiner was not ready to say when construction will begin but said the restaurant should be open by spring.

"I feel Detroit is a blank canvas ready to explode," Kleiner said in April, when he first began scoping out locations in the area. "It's on everybody's radar."

Kleiner also said he is looking for a local businessman to help him with the project and is considering La-Van Hawkins, the former majority owner of Sweet Georgia Brown, as well as the former president of Wolverine Pizza LLC, which once owned 80 Pizza Hut franchises in Southeast Michigan.

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