Chef Max Hardy has a lot on his proverbial plate. Or maybe the better metaphor is multiple plates spinning at once.
The Florida-raised Detroit native with Caribbean roots has certainly been busy since returning to his hometown in 2017 after a high-flying career cooking for celebrities and professional athletes down South and in New York.
Hardy currently runs COOP Caribbean Fusion inside the Detroit Shipping Co. food hall in Midtown and opened Jed’s Detroit, a unique pizza concept, amid the pandemic.
Next up, Hardy has partnered with entrepreneur Armond Harris and former NFL cornerback and Kuzzo’s Chicken & Waffles founder Ron Bartell to bring the popular Southern-style seafood boil concept to the Avenue of Fashion in late-summer 2022.
“Being that I grew up cooking down in Florida and my mom is from the Bahamas, seafood is something we always cook and love,” Hardy says of the inspiration for the forthcoming What’s Crackin’ restaurant. “Growing up in Tampa after I left Detroit, that’s a big thing down there: crab, oysters, clams. So as a chef it just makes sense for me because it’s stuff I grew up on. It’s one of my favorite things to cook.”
Of course, that’s not the only thing Hardy has up his sleeve.
Coming soon to Detroit’s North End are Rosemary & Byrd, a small cafe and adjacent cigar lounge near the Red Jazz Shoe Shine Parlor.
The piece de resistance and the jewel in Hardy’s hospitality crown is Honey, an upscale Afro-Caribbean restaurant he’s been working on for years that may finally see the light of day near Harmonie Park in 2023.
As if opening and running multiple restaurants isn’t enough, Hardy also makes time to give back to the community through various efforts to feed the hungry and educate the next generation of Detroit culinarians.
Follow him on Instagram @chefmaxhardy.