Vietnamese-inspired cocktail bar and restaurant Peridot, opened on Oct. 10, joining the diverse global cuisine options throughout Ann Arbor. The restaurant, located on West Liberty Street, offers a rotating menu of small and large plates and craft cocktails.
Restaurant partner Adam Lowenstein is a member of the Watershed Hospitality Group, which owns Peridot along with other popular Ann Arbor nightlife establishments like Alley Bar, The Last Word and Good Time Charley’s. In an interview with The Michigan Daily, Lowenstein said he came up with the idea for Peridot when he was thinking about what kind of food would be well received in Ann Arbor.
“We’ve been hearing, just as restaurant and bar owners over the course of the last few years, how there’s kind of been a dearth of new, exciting spots,” Lowenstein said. “People have been so excited about a new place and something unique and the food has been really well received. There’s only so many places to go out, and Ann Arbor has a really big population of people who are into dining in new places and experiences.”
Compared to other cocktail bars owned by Watershed, like The Last Word, Lowenstein said the drinks at Peridot are focused on offering lighter liquor options.
“The cocktails are really nuanced, balanced, inventive and kind of build on the experience that we have with The Last Word,” Lowenstein said. “(They’re) not as whiskey focused, more focused on gins and rums.”
Lowenstein also mentioned the restaurant is named after peridot, a green gemstone mined in Vietnam. Lowenstein said he decided to decorate the restaurant’s interior with a lot of green furnishings to match the name.
“We have a lot of green tones, and the space is kind of green and glittery,” Lowenstein said. “We just felt like the idea of the gem really represented what the feel of the space is.”
LSA junior Jordan Dohrman is the internal marketing director for the University of Michigan’s branch of Spoon University, a food publication that reviews local restaurants. Dohrman told The Daily that Peridot has a great opportunity to join the list of popular restaurants loved by U-M students.
“I think having new restaurants serves different crowds,” Dohrman said. “If you’re not an Italian lover, you can try Vietnamese or Mediterranean. There’s so many different options in this area.”
Dohrman also said she appreciated Peridot’s diverse drink menu, including wine, beer and craft cocktails.
“A lot of the Asian fusion places around us are just food,” Dohrman said. “Not many of those places were serving alcoholic beverages for the 21+ community. We don’t have anything like it.”
Lowenstein said Peridot will be open late — until midnight Tuesday through Thursday and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. He said a lot of restaurants in Ann Arbor close their kitchens early and he hopes Peridot will help satisfy cravings for a late night bite.
“There’s not enough restaurants that are staying open late, and so there’s a market for it,” Lowenstein said. “Plus, if you’re gonna go out and have a drink you know, at 11 o’clock, you want to have a bite to eat, too.”
Nursing freshman Tina Le, a member of the Vietnamese Student Association, told The Daily that going to Peridot is a great opportunity for students to try Vietnamese food and get a taste of that culture. She said for those who identify as Vietnamese, Peridot might also be a place that feels representative of those identities.
“Cultural restaurants offer foods that people from those backgrounds are familiar with and know,” Le said. “Knowing that food from your culture is being offered or served nearby can make you more comfortable in a new environment.”