New Niles restaurant to celebrate creativity

NILES — Creativity is at the center of a new restaurant coming to Niles.

On every table inside Create Bar and Grill, 1245 S .11th St., is butcher paper with an assortment of crayons and colored pencils. These will not be handed out to just children who are being seated at the restaurant, but expressly to the adults as well. Everyone is encouraged to put their phones down and indulge their creativity as they conversate with those at their table, while enjoying “familiar American” cuisine.

General Manager Nate Barnett was originally looking forward to debuting the space in the restaurant’s grand opening event on Black Friday, but for now, the restaurant will hold until the current “Pause to Save Lives” order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services allows restaurants to proceed with in-house dining. This is because he envisions the space to be an experience.

“The thing we were really missing this year was interactive spaces in restaurants in general,” Barnett said. “We haven’t been able to do our vacations or really our normal lives. Coming up with a concept for the restaurant, my main focus was ‘what can we do to give guests an experience, visual, audio and all encompassing, but have them engage in the space?’”

Barnett’s answer has been to create a restaurant with a higher-end feel, to invite all ages in to experience original artwork on the walls, create artwork on the tables, and eventually include musicians and poets.
“We have [supplies] on every table where everyone can create, so you won’t just be on your phones,” Barnett said. “Artists haven’t been able to express themselves at art shows this year, so we wanted to help local artists. It’s amazing to see what creativity they come up with.”

He looks forward to even displaying some of the artwork done on the tables, by taking photos and eventually projecting them onto a wall in the restaurant in the future.

Crafted cocktails and new takes on familiar dishes are some things Barnett is also excited about bringing to diners.

“We look at the food as art, as well,” Barnett said. “We have been playing with some fun, gourmet grilled cheeses and mac and cheeses, but we also have some nice entrees as well: steak frites, a nice rib eye, a stuffed chicken, a salmon dish, and a couple vegan and vegetarian options as well.”

He looks forward to having the menu evolve as the creativity in the kitchen is inspired.

“We had to look at our menus as constantly evolving,” Barnett said. “[The chefs] are always being creative.”

When Barnett looks around Create Bar and Grill, at his staff practicing and preparing for future guests and artists stopping by with their artwork to drop off to be displayed in the restaurant, and for sale for diners to purchase themselves, he is hopeful.

“We wanted to bring a nice, sit down restaurant in this city,” Barnett said.  “We want to give them something nice and close [to home] have their own unique flavor. Definitely uniquely for Niles.”

The restaurant’s management will update its Facebook page, Create Bar and Grill, as they are able to solidify an opening date.

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