Opening of a new restaurant offering southern cuisine in the Thompson block of Ypsilanti
After many years and $ 10 million in renovations, the Thompson Block in the Ypsilanti Depository Town will have a tenant on the first floor: Thompson et Cie. restaurant at 400 N. River St. The restaurant officially opens to the public on Thursday August 12th.
The restaurant will offer upscale versions of Southern cuisine in an 11,000 square foot space. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and private dining areas. Much of the decor, including a wood mural Michigan rebuilt and table top, was created from an old oak tree that had to be removed during renovations.
The Thompson and Co. restaurant is one of nearly two dozen restaurants operated by Mission Restaurant Group. Mission Restaurant Group vice president of marketing Julie Zurawka says the project “has been recycled and reused as much as possible.” Another green touch is a bank of solar panels on the carport at the back of the building, designed to offset the large amount of energy consumed by a restaurant.
The renovation of the Thompson Building was many years in the making, with several developer changes and a devastating fire in 2009. The current development group, 3mission, was hoping to open the restaurant as early as 2019, with market-priced lofts on the second floor, but plans have been delayed for various reasons.
Managing Director Disa Brown said many of the employees hired so far have been from Ypsilanti. About 45 employees are already hired, with a target of around 65 employees in total, including hourly servers and company staff.
The management group hopes to open Mash Whiskey Bar in the other half of the building’s lower level in September, bringing the total number of employees to around 85. Zurawka calls Mash and Thompson and Co. “the same entity but two concepts” in the same building, with Mash’s menu focused on drinks and small plates.
Executive chef Keith Martin says he and owner Jon Carlson discussed the basis of the menu on South American cuisine. Martin says that the older generations of his family are from the South and that he has been cooking Southern dishes his entire life.
“It was right in my alley,” Martin says. “The business manager and I cooked up good food and made it accessible and different for Ypsilanti.”
Hours of operation are 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, noon to midnight Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. For more information visit www.thompsondepot.com.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti township and project manager for On the Ypsilanti field. She joined Focus as a journalist in early 2017 and occasionally contributes to other Press group publications. You can reach her at [email protected].
Photo by Sarah Rigg.