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New Restaurant Planned for Former Big Rock Chophouse in Birmingham

Posted By: DBUSINESS on May 5, 2023.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.


A new restaurant and banquet facility planned for the former Big Rock Chophouse, set in an historic train station at the north end of the Rail District in Birmingham, is going through the municipal approval process.

The new owners, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, plan to reopen the venue as the Big Rock Italian Chop House. In mid-April, the company submitted a design review application for modest updates to the historic structure to the Birmingham Historic Design Committee.

After operating as a train station, in 1984 the building was converted to Norman’s Eton Street Station by Norman and Bonnie LePage. Following a successful run, which included new offerings and a different name to Big Rock Chophouse, the couple closed the restaurant in December 2021.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, which operates multiple eateries, including Ocean Prime in Troy, has a successful track record in downtown Birmingham, having in the past operated Cameron’s Steak House (now Mare Mediterranean) and Mitchell’s Seafood Market (now Sidecar Slider Bar).

Seeking a special land use permit from the city, the Big Rock Italian Chop House (245 S. Eton St.) could open later this year so long as the city and state approve various permits, the transfer of a Class C liquor license, and other requirements.

Among the planned improvements to the building are a revamped outdoor dining space at the north end, a pergola, an outdoor fireplace, and new landscaping.

“The Rail District was once a commercial district, but since the city allowed for more mixed-use offerings, you’ve seen new businesses, residences, restaurants, and entertainment coming in,” says Mark Nickita, an architect and urban designer with Archive DS in Detroit, and a former mayor and city commissioner in Birmingham.

“Cameron Mitchell has always been an asset in Birmingham, and I expect they will carry on with the history of the train station and be a great addition in the community. You have seen other establishments come in like Griffin Claw, the Whistle Stop Restaurant was just redone, and there’s all kinds of new businesses in the Rail District. It’s been very successful.”

As the project goes through the approval process, it was unclear if Cameron Mitchell would apply to maintain a cigar bar on the second floor of the train station.

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