Downtown Flint hotel to feature Italian restaurant, rooftop bar

FLINT, Michigan—Downtown Flint soon will be home to an Italian restaurant and a rooftop bar. 

Both will be located within the Hilton Garden Inn, which is now under construction and stretches along the entire block of Kearsley Street between Beech and South Saginaw streets. The long vacant former bank building will also feature a coffee shop — along with 101 guest rooms, restored art deco plasterwork, and meeting space.

The Italian restaurant will be located off Saginaw Street and in the main hall area, which features seven historic two-story windows. The art deco inspired restaurant area also is expected to make use of the former bank building’s original vault, said Kelli Chojnacki, vice president for sales and marketing for Crescent Hotels and Resorts, which will manage the property.

“This is really going to be a destination restaurant,” Chojnacki said. 

Developers on Wednesday, Sept. 25, offered a first look inside the hotel — which is set to open in the spring 2020, exactly 100 years after construction of the original Genesee County Savings Bank building was completed. 

Related story: New hotel in downtown Flint symbolizes city's comeback

Construction is currently about 45 percent complete. The tour did not include a look at the area where the rooftop lounge will be located — but developers also expect it to be a main attraction.

Expected to include both indoor and outdoor seating areas, the lounge will be a fairly small area with seating for about 50. It also harkens back to the great restaurants of Flint’s past including the University Club, that once was atop the now-demolished Genesee Towers, as well as the restaurants at the top of the former Hyatt Hotel and Northbank Center.

The rooftop bar, which also is expected to be available for private events, will look out over Buckham alley from the top of what was once called the Sherman Building. That space is also the main entrance for the hotel and where new elevators have been installed to serve the 11-story business. 
A rendering of the Italian restaurant that will be inside the Hilton Garden Inn set to open in 2020.
Additional details also will be announced later on the Italian restaurant, but so far the decor includes marble top tables, brass accents, and a long banquette along the windows on Kearsley Street.

An original etched-glass railing was exposed during renovation and will remain in the mezzanine area overlooking the restaurant, said Nate Lindsey, senior project architect for Kraemer Design Group. 

“It was really important for us to make that space accessible to the public again, so it has the dining space,” Lindsey said.

Located in the grand hallway where the Genesee County Savings Bank lobby once was located, many historic elements are being restored. Plaster detailing is being preserved and restored throughout and every effort is being made to bring back the grandeur of the space to the way people remember it.

Read more articles by Marjory Raymer.