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Fountain Bistro opens with a new look in Campus Martius Park

This article appeared in Model D
Ashley C. Woods -- July 19, 2011

After several months of renovations, an improved Fountain Bistro opened its doors Friday night in Campus Martius Park. 

The restaurant, which formerly housed Au Bon Pain, closed in late March so co-owners John Lambrecht, Jr. and brothers Matthew and Kevin Morin could install a completely new kitchen. While the restaurant isn't much more than 1,500 square feet, Fountain Bistro's storage and prep areas are located in the underground parking garage beneath the park.The renovations allowed them to transition from a breakfast and lunch menu heavily geared toward soup and sandwiches to cuisine described as comfort food with French influences, featuring options like steamed mussels and steak frites. The bistro, which now serves dinner, also has a full liquor license.

"We basically tore out the entire kitchen," says Matthew Morin. "We put in stoves, fryers, a salamander, a proper hood system -- all these things that allow us to provide customers with what the menu was always supposed to be -- French-inspired food, fresh food, at what is a pretty reasonable price."

He said the choice of cuisine was partially influenced by Detroit's history as a French settlement. "The point of origin for the city is right in front of the restaurant. That's where all the mile roads originate from. So it kind of seemed appropriate," he says. "And there are a couple places that do French food or French-inspired foods, but there weren't many downtown."

And the bistro's opening crowds, who fanned out from the building into the patios and benches of Campus Martius Park, made this restaurant's long journey worthwhile to Morin. "When you have a night like last night, and you have people talking about how the restaurant changed their whole perspective on the city, that's inspirational," he says.

Fountain Bistro is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight.

All images and content courtesy Model D.