Walk into any Culinary Creative endeavor on just about any evening, and the vibe is constant — a full house, some upbeat music, and one social group of diners. At least at Bar Dough, Highland Tap and Burger, and Señor Bear that’s the case. Now the newly formed restaurant group behind those concepts (partners Max MacKissock, Katie O’Shea, and Juan Padro) will experiment with Morin. Located downtown at Wazee and 15th Streets, it will be a French restaurant with some classic nods and more modern touches, and certainly a lot of the atmosphere expected of its sister spots.
“It’s not going to be quiet, it’s not going to be stuffy, and it’s not going to be pretentious,” says co-owner and chef MacKissock. “But we’ll definitely have refined service and food, and the space is going to look pretty sexy.”
The historical space filled with rich woods and exposed brick and formerly Wazee Supper Club called to MacKissock, who has wanted to open a French restaurant since he was about 15. The chef grew up in New Hampshire with a French mother (her maiden name was Morin) and grandparents who would speak to him in the old language. At home he first learned French cooking. Now Morin will feature French products and techniques, but it won’t be a familiar bistro or brasserie.
“When you say ‘French’ to people, they immediately think of French onion soup and quiche,” he says. “We’re going to be going for a more creative culinary vibe; we’re not going to pigeonhole ourselves.” Taking cues from a new school of French restaurants (see David Toutain in Paris), Morin will serve carefully plated tasting menus but also bar snacks, curated bottles of natural wines, French-style beers, and funky Armagnac cocktails. A glass vestibule will welcome diners into a dining room that will be divided into “micro environments.” The raised mezzanine section will offer lounge-like seating for eating, drinking, and socializing.
This exact combination is hard to imagine, but with runaway success at their existing establishments, it will likely come together, “blasting French hip-hop” and all. Morin is slated to open in late spring, but for a taste of the menu, reach out to GM Michael Cerretani (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a spot on the small guest list at a handful of upcoming test dinners.