|Mae's Bacon Butter Burger Deluxe. Photo by VATO for Metromix.|
It’s not quite Ferndale but it’s so close it should be counted among Ferndale’s notorious teeny-tiny diners famous for breakfast and lunch. Mae’s in Pleasant Ridge has been open two years in April under the ownership of the snarky yet adorable husband-and-wife team Sean and Jessica McCarthy. Eating here is like going to Grandma’s if Grandma were an effortlessly cool twenty-or-thirty-something who smokes and swears and does cool artsy things without being self-important about it. It’s a mom and pop shop for the Facebook-and-iPad generation.
It’s retro hipster chic inside Mae’s. The walls are adorned with vintage signs from Detroit brands like Vernors, Faygo and Wonderbread, some dating as far back as the 1920s. The vintage décor pairs well with the original teal-blue 1950s soda shop stools, chairs, and chrome tables with laminate tops. “All the furniture is original [to the restaurant],” Sean says. “We didn’t have to come up with a design concept!” Glassware and plates are mismatched and kitschy. On one wall you’ll find chalkboard specials and a collection of black and white photographs spanning three generations of Jessica’s family. The photos—some art, some personal, all professional-quality—were taken by Jessica, her brother, their dad and their grandfather, all of whom were photographers. As far as looking at other people’s family photographs go, these are actually fascinating, and lend a very personal feel to the place. And on any given day, this 42-seat breakfast nook is populated by our skinny-jeaned, shaggy-haired, horn-rimmed, mustachioed, plaid-adorned friends who believe Beirut is a band first, the name of a shawarma shop second, and a Middle Eastern capital city a distant third.
(Note: be sure to click through the photo gallery for descriptions of the dishes.)