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Kid Rock's not renewing deal for Little Caesars Arena restaurant

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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Amidst a new controversy, Kid Rock is getting out of the restaurant business in Detroit.

Olympia Development of Michigan has announced that the Romeo-born rocker has "voluntarily" elected not to renew the licensing agreement for his Kid Rock's Made in Detroit restaurant and store in Little Caesar's Arena -- which Rock opened with six concerts during September of 2017.

In a statement Wednesday morning, Dec. 4, Ilitch Holdings group president for Sports and Entertainment Chris Granger said that, "We have been in contact with Kid Rock. He has voluntarily decided not to renew his licensing agreement for the Kid Rock's Made in Detroit restaurant which comes up for renewal in April.

"We are in the business of amazing and inspiring our fans and guests through an incredible array of world-class sporting and live entertainment events. As our venues are open, inviting, inclusive, and respectful to all, we look forward to bringing on an exciting new concept that aligns with our community and company values."

The restaurant, which serves Southern-style comfort food, is one of the arena's most popular eateries, regularly packed during events.

Rock has not issued his own statement about the decision.

Though the company did not reference it, the move comes in the wake of reaction to a recent drunk and profane tirade Rock (real name Robert Ritchie) delivered at his Big Honky Tonk & Steakhouse in Nashville, where he insulted and made crude sexual references about Oprah Winfrey, Joy Behar of "The View" and Kathie Lee Gifford before being helped out of the venue by security. Rock and Behar also feuded last year over political issues.

Rock followed with an unapologetic social media message explaining his animosity towards Winfrey -- related to her demands "to write down 5 reasons why I love her and her show" before booking him -- and adding that, "I am just saying what a lot of people think. Not saying I should be, but sometimes I just do. Oh well. I have a bit mouth and drink too much sometimes, shocker!"

As a video of his remarks went viral, Rock -- who has a bi-racial son and black and female members in his Twisted Brown Trucker Band -- has been slammed as racist and sexist, which he denies. He's previously been criticized for using a Confederate flag backdrop during his concerts, which he abandoned some years ago, and his concert opening Little Caesars Arena during September of 2017 was protested by activist organizations.

The Michigan National Action Network planned to protest outside of the restaurant on Wednesday. The Michigan chapter of the NAACP, which presented Rock with a Great Expectations award at its 2011 Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner, has condemned Rock's remarks as well.

Rock has gradually been shifting his base of operations to Nashville. He recently sold his home on the Detroit Riverfront and gutted his Chop House studio on his property in Clarkston, though he still maintains a home there. He also spends time in Alabama and Florida. He also operates his Made in Detroit apparel company in Oakland County.

Rock most recently performed in the metro area during September when he and Twisted Brown Trucker played four shows at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

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