At their meeting on Monday, July 22, Birmingham city commissioners unanimously approved a special land use permit and final site plan and design review to allow for the operation of a new bistro, Pernoi, by restaurateurs and chefs Luciano DelSignore and Takashi Yagihashi, in the former Cafe Via location.
“Every year, the city commission considers up to two applications for bistros,” said Birmingham planning director Jana Ecker. “There were none last fall, but two in April, for Pernoi and Brooklyn. Pernoi, for 310 E. Maple Road, is moving forward.”
Previously, Luciano DelSignore explained to the commission he has been the owner of the high-end Italian restaurant Bacco in Southfield, and Pernoi “ will be a contemporary, high-end refined food establishment.”
In its proposal for the bistro, “Pernoi will be an upscale French, Italian and Japanese restaurant located at 310 East Maple Road, in the space previously operated by Café Via. The concept is extremely contemporary and the menu will rotate frequently. This new and exciting concept will be operated by two award- winning chefs, Luciano DelSignore and Takashi Yagihashi. The focus will be on global contemporary cuisine, where Italian pastas will likely find themselves alongside Japanese noodles. This is unique to the city and the state. Pernoi will offer dinner and will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and will be open on Sundays and Mondays for special events.”
Ecker said they hope to stay open until midnight “so guests can stay outside and enjoy the ambiance.”
Ecker explained that in the past few months, the city had changed the definition of bistros, to permit no more than 65 seats inside and no more than 65 seats outside, and that the plastic Eisenglass enclosures for outdoor patios is no longer permitted.
In its application, she said Pernoi requested 58 seats inside plus seven seats at its bar, but only 26 exterior patio seats.
“They are still proposing outdoor dining and are using the same canopy as Cafe Via, the same fireplace and alley,” Ecker said, noting they are planning to keep the outdoor dining roof and canopy. The entrance to the restaurant and bar will remain the same as well, although the exterior on E. Maple “will have a cleaner look – they are cleaning the concrete. There will be a cherry-colored hard canopy over the entrance, and the Pernoi sign on the building. There are no other changes in the back or side,” she said.”
Interior design changes are to be made, but nothing structural is planned, she said.
“This ownership group, Nuovo Holdings, has six other restaurants in metro Detroit, and has the ability to finance” this venture,” Ecker stated.
Commissioners voted 7-0 to approve the bistro.