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A rendering of one of the bars at the Big Rock Italian Chophouse

A rendering of one of the bars at the Big Rock Italian Chophouse from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, set to open in Birmingham next year. Photo Credit: Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

By Melody Baetens | The Detroit News | Published June 8, 2023

A name that is synonymous with restaurants and hospitality is taking over a longtime Metro Detroit favorite.

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants LLC is teaming up with investor partners Tom Celani and Dario Bergamo to revamp Big Rock Chophouse in Birmingham, which closed at the end of 2021 after a nearly 40-year run.

To be called Big Rock Italian Chophouse, the new concept at 245 S. Eton in Birmingham will have a restaurant with steaks, pasta and a focus on wine, bourbon and cocktails, plus a cigar lounge with a terrace and a private member club.

A rendering of the main dining room at Big Rock Italian Chophouse

A rendering of what the main dining room at Big Rock Italian Chophouse will look like after its $10 million renovation. Photo Credit: Cameron Mitchell Restaurants

A $10 million investment, the luxury property will have a 11,000-square-foot Italian restaurant with seating for 375, including three bars and an outdoor dining area. The private club gives members access to a personal concierge, guaranteed reservations, preferred reservations at other CMR locations nationwide and access to a separate lounge and cigar bar, other luxury amenities and special events not open to the public.

Big Rock Italian Chophouse is expected to open summer 2024.

“We’re thrilled to introduce Big Rock Italian Chophouse to Birmingham. Over the next year our team will work to update and reintroduce this spectacular property,” Mitchell said in a press release. “We consider southeast Michigan a second home market and are eagerly looking forward to the opening and success of another new concept in Birmingham.”

Mitchell has 45 casual and high-end restaurants across the country, most of them in Ohio. Ocean Prime in Troy is part of the Cameron Mitchell restaurant group, as was Mitchell’s Fish Market (which was sold to Ruth’s Hospitality in 2008). Cameron Mitchell Restaurants also owned and operated Cameron’s Steakhouse in Birmingham before it closed in 2019. CMR’s sister company is the Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern, which has four locations in Metro Detroit.

Investment partners Celani and Bergamo, both Detroit-area entrepreneurs, say they are looking forward to the collaboration. Celani has roots in the gaming industry, philanthropy and has a family winery.

Birmingham’s Big Rock Chop House

Birmingham’s Big Rock Chophouse as shown in 2020 on Google Maps. Photo Credit: Google Maps

“As a Detroit native, it is exciting to partner with an organization like Cameron Mitchell Restaurants to create Big Rock Italian Chophouse,” said Celani in the media alert. “From dining and drinking to enjoying a cigar with friends after a long day, this will be a premier destination for many years to come.”

Bergamo said their goal is to create a “comfortable space that will bring people together.”

“Tom and I have a deep-rooted understanding of the Metro Detroit market and we are excited to see the realization of our and CMR’s vision.”

While the restaurant isn’t expected to open until next year, guests who are interested in the membership can visit to sign up to learn more.