Our first stop on Sunday was Gold Cash Gold and it was a pleasant surprise to discover Phil Cooley’s parents, Ron and Patty, were giving tours of the under construction building. The restaurant’s name is a tribute to the building’s history as a pawnshop (previously owned by the family of Hardcore Pawn). It’s currently owned by Cooley and undergoing massive renovation (in addition to the restaurant, the building will have multiple apartment units). Cooley’s business ventures are intended to make a profit (and the 2 hour wait for Slows on the weekend suggests he does); however, they are also labors of love. Ron told us that his son seeks out salvageable material to use in his projects. Although Cooley pays more for recycled material the benefit to the environment and local economy is worth the extra cost. There is a ways to go before Gold Cash Gold opens on October 1st but the sneak peek into the building was fun and I can’t wait to see the finished product.
A couple insider tips: the uncovered brick archways are stunning and customers will be able to watch the chefs prepare meals in an open kitchen.
After checking out the restaurant we visited the chef, Josh Stockton, in his apartment above Slows. Josh grew up in Warren, Michigan but never spent much time in the city. For the most part, his time in Detroit was limited to Tiger games. When he returned to the area to be Gold Cash Gold’s head chef he was surprised by the city’s development. Although Detroit has a ways to go to compete with other big cities, Josh says he’s happy to be back.
The return to Metro Detroit wasn’t an anticipated move. He left Michigan after graduating from Kalamazoo College because there were limited opportunities in the state for young graduates. Things are changing here and when he learned that Cooley was seeking a chef for a new restaurant he decided to leave his position as executive chef at the Wynn in Las Vegas and move to Detroit.
People often ask Josh what Cash Gold Cash will be like – organic, farm to table, and other cliche phrases but what he really wants is a restaurant that serves high quality food that is accessible and attracts regulars. Simply put he “hopes people come in and like the food.”
A Cooley venture hasn’t let me down yet and I think I know where we will have our birthday dinner this year.