Ryan Cooley, co-owner of Slow’s Bar BQ, opened Gold Cash Gold restaurant last month with six partners, completing the transformation of one entire block along Michigan Avenue in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.
Why another restaurant in Corktown?
When my family and I moved to Corktown to open Slow’s, our idea was to develop an entire block and make the restaurant a neighborhood place, a destination. It did much better than we anticipated, so we decided to tackle a new project, another restaurant that would seat 60 to 80 people.
At this point in time in Detroit there is so much demand for new eating spaces I don’t think any restaurant is competing with another one. We just can’t keep up with the demand.
What opportunities do you see in Detroit for other businesses?
There’s plenty of room for more restaurants and bars. I’d also like to see more first floor retail opportunities. Our real estate office, O’Connor Realty, receives a lot of calls from people who want to open different types of retail operations, and I’m hopeful this demand will encourage landlords to put money into their buildings for these start-up businesses.
How important are organizations like Invest Detroit, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and the Detroit Development Fund?
They are very important. In fact, our newest project would not have happened if not for those organizations. If you have a solid business plan these organizations are willing to meet with you, review it and fund it, unlike the large banks, which tend to be much more conservative.
What are you looking to accomplish next?
We have plans to expand Slows Bar BQ into Pontiac and Grand Rapids later this year. Depending upon how those openings go, we’ll start to explore other restaurant opportunities.
Tiffini D. Smith
Director of Communications