Expanding on his success in the suburbs, Chef James Rigato is now serving his Michigan-centric fare closer to the Motor City in Hazel Park. His second restaurant, Mabel Gray, is named for Alice Mabel Gray, who inspired the mysterious and powerful local legend Diana of the Dunes. The 45-seat renovated diner features a daily menu inspired by the season, region, and ingredient availability. Rigato will continue to work with his area farming partners to source ingredients. Examples include goat, dairy, and farm raised shrimp. Diverging from his first restaurant, The Root Restaurant & Bar in White Lake, Rigato will craft dishes in a more whimsical, limited manner. Currently open for dinner, additional hours will be added in the future.
Believing restaurants emulate gender, Rigato took a softer, more feminine design approach while still staying true to Mabel Gray’s neighborhood diner roots. Grand Rapids artist Greg Oberle hand painted murals on the original exposed cement walls and bar, including his rendition of the restaurant’s namesake, which Rigato refers to as the venue’s mascot. An exposed stainless steel kitchen surrounded by a walnut-top wrap around bar and white vinyl banquet seating with refurbished Detroit school desk chairs complete the 1,600-square-foot interior.
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