Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails
15 East Kirby Street, Detroit
Designer: Donna Heligman
The name of Midtown Detroit’s newest restaurant and bar alludes to a color and an aperitif—Chartreuse Kitchen & Cocktails delivers on both. Bright green walls enliven the 3,100-square-foot eatery, which opened in May, while the menu offers a few twists on the namesake spirit first distilled in the 17th century by Carthusian monks.
Plants indigenous to France’s Chartreuse Mountains populate a mural painted by local artist Louise “Ouizi” Chen, greeting visitors in the vestibule and establishing a floral theme that continues throughout the restaurant. Florists and artists from Pot & Box have hung dried flowers from Chartreuse’s ceiling. A “living wall” by artist Chris Best features an artfully lit forest of succulents.
Chartreuse’s design takes advantage of its 1920s-era building. Ample, south-facing windows wash the 100-seat restaurant with daylight. Owners Sandy Levine, left, and Doug Hewitt Jr. kept the bar and a section of marble floor, opting to redo or upgrade the rest of the flooring, carpeting, and light fixtures. They brought on Levine’s mother—and retired interior designer—Donna Heligman for the job.
“We wanted to have a decor that was consistent with our food and service concept: bright, fresh, and vibrant, with a heavy focus on produce and vegetables, and an overall sunniness,” said Levine.