Leila, a Lebanese restaurant that pays homage to the owner’s mother, is located in historic Capitol Park in downtown Detroit. The restaurant sits proudly within the ground floor of the Farewell Building that sat completely vacant since 1984. The Farwell has been fully restored and converted to a mixed-use building containing retail, office, and residential apartment.
The modern design embraces the adaptive reuse of the space by highlighting historic features of the existing building. The restaurant sprawls out over two levels that are connected both physically and visually by a new grand staircase at the front of the restaurant. The ground level features an expansive central bar serving as a focal point, an open kitchen concept showplacing culinary arts, a floor to ceiling steel and glass wine cellar with views into the historic, vaulted lobby, and offers a variety of dining experiences. The storefront features large operable windows that tie the restaurant to the existing urban fabric of Capitol Park and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor. The lower level is an upscale cocktail lounge with a cozy bar that embraces the rawness of the original space.
The Architect was involved in all aspects of the project ranging from the interior layout, designing the large custom light fixtures over the dining area, and material and furniture sections. Leila’s color palette embraces raw materials such as steel, brick, glass, and stone in their natural form. The interior respects the architecture of the historic building with the use of these materials and views to the fully restored building lobby and storefront. The custom designed mosaic tile pattern on the bar floor and the ornamental flower pattern on the face of the bar reflect the decorative patterns found in Middle Eastern Architecture.
With a menu rooted in the savory yet simple flavors that define Lebanese cuisine, and an experience that evokes the simple pleasure of great food enjoyed in good company, Leila sits at the crossroads of sophisticated style and old-world hospitality.