San Morello in Shinola Hotel brings southern Italian food to the D

The city's newest boutique hotel is still weeks away from opening, but the restaurant downstairs is heating things up. FOX 2 sat down one-on-one with the team that's bringing southern Italian food to the D.

"After the '67 riots, I was up on the 14th floor looking over the city and it was kind of shocking for a 7-year-old, 8-year-old kid to see what had happened to this town," said Joshua Pickard.

You could say it's unfinished business that Pickard brings to Detroit when he officials opens San Morello restaurant on Tuesday night. The Detroit native has made a name for himself heading up NoHo Hospitality, which has quite a footprint in New York. 

On the bottom floor of the soon-to-open Shinola Hotel, the newest restaurant in the city tells a story even deeper than its southern Italian roots that its menu comes from. It tells the story of why Detroit is becoming a destination for young talent who have already made it in New York.

"We had seven people that raised their hand right out the gate and wanted to move to Detroit and be a part of what's going on here," he said.

His partner in this project is Luke Ostrom. The new spot on Woodward is what you want to make of it.

"It's the type of spot you can come and have a really special meal and make it a destination and get some great wine, do a few courses, but you can also just come out and hang out, have a couple beers at the bar, and a salad and a pizza," he said.

The Shinola Hotel itself is still weeks away from opening, featuring a lobby with eclectic art, clean lines and a few splashes of color. A dozen or so newly coined Detroiters will work at the new restaurant.

"Young people seem to be really starting to thrive in this community and are moving back to the community. The art scene is really thriving right now. The music scene has always been incredible but remains incredible. The dining scene here is already really strong," Ostrom said.

The sentiment is deep while the menu is simple and a throwback to the basics.

The Shinola Hotel opens Jan. 2.