Tom Brady (no, not that one) bought the downtown S. Main building that would become Jim Brady’s in mid-2015. Three-and-a-half years later, the restaurant is finally open.
Brady thinks it was well worth the wait. “We spent a little over a year and a half just on design,” he says. “We came up with something that we thought the community could really be proud of.”
The space, last occupied by Vellum, is now a glamorous, 7,000-square-foot, three-story restaurant and bar. Each floor has a different flavor. The first pays tribute to the original Jim Brady’s, which opened in Detroit in 1954: the exposed brick walls are lined with old photos and newspaper articles, and old-fashioned Detroit street signs are attached to the booths. The second has more of a diner feel: tan couches and dark woods are set against a Mondrian-style wall piece. The third, a mezzanine, is a lush, nearly all-red private party room.
Brady says he wants both of his Jim Brady’s locations (the first is in Royal Oak) to pay homage to his grandfather’s concept. “That’s really the heart and soul of what we’re doing.”
“Diamond Jim’s” attitude is captured in a favorite saying, writ large in shiny letters overlooking the second floor: “Them what has ’em wears ’em,” meaning, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it,'” says Brady.
Flaunt it the restaurant does. All three floors are full of mod, Eames-style furniture and chandeliers. Crimson walls, floors, booths, and lighting abound. Black-and-white zigzag booths on the first floor and diamond-patterned curtains on the third solidify the Twin Peaks-meets-Mad Men vibe. The ladies’ bathroom is entirely pink, accented with pictures of lips and a pale pink rotary phone.
In a modern touch Diamond Jim would have envied, Brady and business partner Darin Dingman also installed a giant, 222-inch motorized screen for sporting events and special occasions. They plan to have live music, too, but Brady says that’s still being figured out.
The menu features indulgences from around the globe: entrees range from chicken and waffles to maple miso salmon to chimichurri hanger steak.
After all this time, Brady is happy at last to be up and running in Ann Arbor. “It’s such a dynamic community,” he says. “There’s so much culture to it: music, art, food.”
Jim Brady’s, 209 S. Main. 562-1954. Daily 4 p.m.-midnight. jimbradysdetroit.com