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Las Cazuelas' owners to debut Aldana's Mexican Bar and Grill in Troy next month


Melody Baetens   | The Detroit News

The owners behind local fast-casual Mexican restaurants Las Cazuelas are debuting new concept Aldana's Mexican Bar and Grill in Troy next month.

The new spot will be more chef-driven than Las Cazuelas, which has locations in Detroit, Melvindale and Southfield. Aldana's — named after one of the owners, Mexican native Maria Aldana — will also have a full bar with a focus on craft cocktail and a big tequila selection. 

Exact opening plans are in flux as pandemic-related indoor dining rules change in Michigan. Either way, food and beverage director Kyle Schutte says they will open on Jan. 8. If indoor dining is still not allowed, they will offer daily carryout service and delivery through third party apps. 

While more upscale than Las Cazuleas' model, the approach at Aldana's is still casual, says Schutte, who was previously the chef at Besa Detroit, a fine dining destination downtown. 

"It's still quick service," he said, adding that folks order upon entry, then sit down and get their food delivered to the table. Additional food and drinks can be ordered from there. 

"The menus for Las Cazuelas are huge, they're gigantic menus intended to satisfy everybody, so the first thing I did when I came aboard for Aldana's was kind of shrink the menu and make everything more efficient," he said. "I really wanted to give the menu a point of view. We're pairing flavors and textures with purpose." 

So instead of a build-your-own meal like Cazuelas, Aldana's will be more detailed in terms of service and choosing ingredients, using local farms and gulf-sourced fish. More than a year in the making (thanks, COVID), the interior of the restaurant is set up to look like a Mexican plaza with imported tiles, hand-made light fixtures from Mexico and lots of colors. 

"What we're really trying to do here is take a fine-dining point of view and apply it to a quick service and we're doing that both in terms of the quality and approach to the food but also to the standards of service," said Schutte, adding that they'll have a list of house-made juices for the bar program, house-braised meats and gulf seafood for the ceviche. Diners can expect real flatware and linen napkins, too, but not fine dining prices.

Schutte, who cooked in Los Angeles before coming to Metro Detroit, says the cuisine at its core will be traditional Mexican with "playful touches and really solid, classic cooking techniques." 

"My food philosophy has always been that great food should be fun yet sophisticated, innovative yet familiar and humane yet accessible," he said. "I think if you can take that and apply it to any kind of food its going to hit all the marks and that's exactly what we're trying to do at Aldana's."

Aldana's Mexican Grill, 2900 W. Maple in Troy, is opening Jan. 8. Visit aldanamexicangrill.com.

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mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens