Friday, December 28, 2012

The Week We (briefly) Ate (The EID Week in Review, now on Fridays)

Seriously though, how great was this year's Christmas special?
On Monday when I said this was the last Week in Review of the year? I lied. WiR will now happen on Fridays. And weird weeks like this when no one is on the Internet anyway is the best time to make such changes. And so the abbreviated final Week in Review of the year that was 2012:

Obviously the world DID end because SLOWS IS CLOSING. ... J/k, they're just closing for a re-model, the long-awaited expansion with MOAR seats, MOAR BBQ, and MOAR beer. MOAR BEER!!!! Target reopening date is Jan 9-ish. [Slows FB]

Christmas came twice this year: the Buffalo Wild Wings in Greektown is now officially open! [MLive]

Rendering or it didn't happen! Detroit Institute of Bagels has renderings posted of the bagel shop and outdoor patio/park they hope to have open sometime in 2013. [Curbed]

It snowed. A lot. [EID FB]

The Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room in Shelby Twp. is now open for business, a whole new business model for Michigan bringing together six partner wineries under one roof for a collaborative tasting room. [DetNews blahg]

The Whitney has apparently divined a new method of putting food on a plate. According to their press release, anyway. [DetNews]

Here's me on Thrillist popping off about Detroit's food scene in 2012, and doing so in good company: Andy from Michael Symon's Roast and Kevin from Ronin Sushi, plus Dave from Supino Pizzeria and Les from Green Dot Stables talking smack at each other. [Thrillist]

And here is Crain's Detroit Business run-down of the biggest restaurant news of 2012. The announcement of Craftwork was big enough news in itself, the Prentice v. Dickson slap-fight at least yielded Gastronomy and Detroit Prime, and the opening of Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, Detroit's Buffalo Wild Wings, and Vinsetta Garage were all big news for various different reasons large and small. [Crain's]

A2GastroBoy totally wants to be me. (After the part about the butt-chugging.) [A2GB blahg]

Serious Eats has a serious thing for The Wurst Bar. Here is their list of top Christmas-themed hot dogs. [Serious Eats]

Pizzeria Biga makes one of the sexiest pizzas in the country. [Thrillist]

The New York Times attempts to write about wild yeast and sour beers and does it, um, ok I guess. As best as could probably be hoped for. Imma go ahead and say I did it in the New York Post FIRST. Also, Jolly Pumpkin Brewery! [NYT / NYP]

Eat It GR
~After some teasing about making some old beers no longer in production available once again in 2013, Founders has released their full beer line-up for next year and it includes Rubaeus, a popular raspberry ale that hasn't been produced since 2008. The brand realignment also means Cerise is shelved for 2013, Breakfast Stout and All Day IPA will be the only seasonals, Red's Rye is getting bumped to a specialty release, and all specialty releases (including KBS and Curmudgeon) will be sold in 4-packs with a suggested retail price of $11.99. So do be quick to accuse your local liquor hut of gouging when you see KBS marked at $19.99. [MLive]
~They've also promised to have "more additions" up their sleeves for 2013. [Founders Official]
~Virtue Cider's new facility in Fennville has started production. [Holland Sentinel]

Thursday, December 27, 2012

[Metromode] Destination Cinema

Jon Goldstein likes to call the Maple Theatre "a coffee shop with a movie theatre attached."

That's because when Goldstein bought the Maple Theatre from the Landmark Theatre Group and closed it for remodeling in July. Part of the $1.5 million renovation included opening a Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company café on the front of the building, the Bloomfield Hills-based coffee roaster that specializes in USDA-certified organic, micro-lot single-origin coffees.

The café is part of Goldstein's approach to make the Maple more than just a movie house. "The key is not to just have a movie theater but a community gathering place,"he says.

Read more.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Week (or so) We Ate (The EID Week in Review, Holiday Edition)

That's right, man.
Is there anyone even ON the Internet this week? Let's keep it short then. The world didn't blow up, so now we can look forward to the NEXT apocalypse. It did snow though, so. There was that. The holy day of consumerism was observed and I really haven't done much work since last week and don't plan on doing much more until next year. Here's news:

Whole Foods in Midtown: still happening, now more than ever. [MLive]

Sylvia Rector explains her picks for best new restaurant of 2012 because apparently it confused everyone. [Freep]

Food + Wine phones it in for the holidays, Googles "best mac and cheese in America," found Slows in the results and put it on another "best of" list. [F+W]

Travis Fourmont of Roast is one of America's Masters of the Manhattan, will go to Manhattan and compete to claim the title of THE Master. (But not, like, The Master.) [Woodford Reserve]

I helped write a book. [Belle Isle to 8 Mile]

The largest Buffalo Wild Wings in America is now open in Detroit. They too played the preservation game, which is sort of A Thing around here. [MLive / EID]

The owners of Imperial have received approval on a liquor license for a second spot in Ferndale called Ferndale Public House, opening in the space that was formerly Josephine's Creperie and Bistro. Looks like Ferndale will continue to be on a roll into 2013. [Ferndale Patch]

WineZilla in Ferndale is now open. Once again, Ferndale! [WineZilla FB / EID]

The new Stella International Cafe is to be quite snazzy, I'm told. Here is a photo of the space under construction, featuring reclaimed wood and marble from 1928. [EID FB]

DIB got their building permit, which puts them one step closer to opening and puts Corktown one thing closer to having one of everything. Corktown! [DIB FB / EID]

I'm kind of getting sick of writing blurbs on Flavor Flav's Chicken and Ribs, but apparently no one else is. Here's something and here's something else. [FFC+R FB / Eater]

In beerie news, Sidetrack Bar and Grill in Ypsilanti is undergoing a $1.2 million renovation and expansion which will even include upstairs apartments, fulfilling the dreams of every 21-year-old EMU student. []

Putting the "beer" in "Biercamp"(finally ... eventually). []

More ramping up for Falling Down Beer Company and future Beer City USA, Warren MI. Yes. Warren. [Detroit News]

Here's a round-up of restaurant news from Royal Oak Patch: Chulbu'ul Mexican Grill in Farmington opened, Crush received approval from the Birmingham planning board and is set to go before the city commission in February (I'll give you just one guess what kind of cuisine they're going for over there in Boringham), the Carriage House B+B is now open in Rochester, Novi will eventually have an IHOP, more. [RO Patch]

At least this isn't boring: Griffin Claw Brewing Co. is coming along quite nicely! [GCBC FB]

Also, the What Crepe? in Birmingham has received their bistro license and will start serving alcohol in February. [WC FB]

Willys Overland Lofts is getting into the retail game with an Avalon International Breads cafe, a Shinola store, and a Run Detroit store. Two more restaurants are also in talks. [HuffPo]

Also in Midtown, Joe Posch is a man of firsts. His store Hugh, recently opened inside of the Auburn Building, was the first-ever pop-up store in Southeastern Michigan, then the first-ever winner of Hatch Detroit. [UIX Detroit]

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Brooklyn Street Local's traditional poutine. All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.
One thing was absolutely, unequivocally clear this year: when we find a trend that we like, we sink our collective teeth into it and violently shake our heads back and forth and beat it against the pavement until there is nothing left but lifeless spit-covered shreds no longer even resembling the thing it once was. We did it with upscale BBQ. We're still doing it with artisan coffee (and there's even MORE since that updated update) and classed-up comfort food (see: every restaurant that opened this year, all of them). What can I say? When we make something A Thing around here, we make it A MOTHERFUCKING THING. 

Also, for comparison's sake, here's last year's list.

If anything won in metro Detroit's dining scene this year (besides steak, below), it was from-scratch comfort food joints coming together with historic preservation (often with an automotive history). Curt Catallo and Ann Stevenson are huge proponents and they also happen to be at the helm of some of the biggest, most buzziest openings of the past few years. Vinsetta Garage was no exception, taking a historic old auto garage built in 1919 and giving it new life as a burger and comfort food restaurant that has resonated resoundingly throughout metro Detroit. Currently the couple is working on doing more of the same with the Fenton Fire Hall, set to open next summer. 

I. TOLD. YOU. SO. One year ago, noooooooooo oooooooone had heard of this "poutine," despite us being spitting distance from the Canadian border. And I yapped and yapped and yapped and yapped about it, which I thoroughly documented here. And now, oh yes: IT IS A THING. To the point that Corktown is the Poutine Capital and I am the Poutine Queen. People are even experimenting with it: most recently on my radar, pork belly poutines from One-Eyed Betty's and Toasted Oak Grill + Market, pile o' pork poutines from 24grille and TAP (note: TAP's is not good), and tater tot poutines from the Wurst Bar and Ronin. 

Wolfgang Puck Steak. Hyde Park Prime. Prime 29. Detroit Prime. London Chop House. Andiamo Italian Steakhouse (times three). Luca's Chophouse. All opened this year. Stoney River Steakhouse in Birmingham also received approval from the city commission and will open next year (Boringham seems to be playing it safe after those South Bar shootings). It should also be noted that Birmingham and nearby Troy and Bloomfield Hills already have Hyde Park, Fleming's, Churchill's Bistro, Big Rock Chophouse, Capital Grille, Ruth's Chris, Morton's, Cameron's, Shula's, Eddie Merlot's (also opening next year), and probably more I'm forgetting. Plus, plans for a new hotel/office/apartment/parking garage development in Royal Oak include an upscale steakhouse. Oh, when we catch scent of a trend around here...

Cafe con Leche del Este.
In 2009 metro Detroit had never even heard of a pop-up. And then came Hugh. Now, three years later, pop-ups have reached critical mass ... or have they? Major retailers from the Somerset Collection and Moosejaw see the pop-up possibilities, while the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation sees them as an opportunity to breathe new life into empty blocks and lead to permanent business plans. From Dave Mancini opening his doors to poptreprenuers at Supino Pizzeria to community coffee houses like Cafe con Leche del Este, Always Brewing Detroit, and Coffee and [    ], it looks like pop-ups are now permanent.

This year saw the rise of a different kind of restaurateur: passionate about people and preservation, and more often than not a restaurateur by accident, the Culinary Class of 2012 is on a tear and looking strong going into 2013. Curt Catallo and his wife Ann Stevenson already had huge hits with Clarkston Union and Union Woodshop, then Vinsetta Garage opened and HOLY SHIT. I put my name in for a table and was given a beeper they said will probably go off sometime in February. Maybe March. But I'm welcome to wait at the bar if I can find a seat. They're also adding the Fenton Fire Hall to their oeuvre in 2013. 

In the meantime, Luciano del Signore is opening up Bigas like they're 7-Elevens (next on deck: Ann Arbor), Mindy Lopus is opening three new joints in Grosse Point Park, Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell have huge plans for 2013 which include a new concept in Royal Oak and a third Jolly Pumpkin Cafe, the Root is opening a second location in Howell, and the Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company went from zero to 60 (or at least four) with a flagship location in Midtown and satellite cafes in the Maple Theatre in Bloomfield Hills, another in Lake Orion, and a fourth planned in partnership with Lopus's Bona Fide Bakery in Grosse Pointe Park


Beer gardens! While Tashmoo didn't make it on the round two of Hatch Detroit voting, they still packed empty lots in West Village when they popped up those handful of days. Bill's Beer Garden barely opened in time to take advantage of the warm weather, but thanks to global warming their season stayed strong into December. Other restaurants/bars in the works for next year have plans to build a beer garden, most notably Griffin Claw Brewing Company in Birmingham. If you build it, they will come. If you will it, it is no dream.

Ferndale! We still love it. This year it was because of One-Eyed Betty's, Imperial, Local Kitchen + Bar and John D Bistro. The city also got some really weird sculptures and announced a soon-to-open second location of Midtown's popular Canine to Five doggie day care. Dino's is expanding and has big plans for the old VFW Hall. Early next year B. Nektar Meadery will be moving into their new digs (with tasting room), and the owners of Imperial just announced they're opening a new concept called Ferndale Public House.

Corktown! Still Brooklyn-y. This year saw even more popular joints open: Green Dot Stables, an insta-hipster-hit that has already appeared in GQ and Martha Stewart Living; Brooklyn Street Local, where poutine is king; and Mercury Burger Bar, which ... serves a demographic, anyway. Next year will *fingers crossed* bring about the LONG-AWAITED opening of Detroit Institute of Bagels. Two James Distillery will be the first distillery to open in Detroit city proper since Prohibition, Batch Brewery will make Corktown so meta it's nano, and we'll get to see if Cooley and Co. strike gold once again with Gold Cash Gold.

Eastern Market! I can't even wrap my head around all of the new happenings in Eastern Market over the last year. Let's start with this, which was up to snuff as of the point at which I posted it. Let's then also add Corridor Sausage's new facilities, Salt + Cedar, Michigan Artisans, and 323 East's new digs starting in January. Oh, and whatever the hell is happening on Gratiot.
UPDATE: About an hour after I posted this, Curbed Detroit reported that the proposed shipping container hotel and event space called Collision Works is on track to purchase land from the city in the Eastern Market area.

Santorini Estiatorio.

Re-boots! We loved them last year, and we still love them this year. The Vicari family shut down three of their Andiamo eye-talian restaurants and reopened them as Andiamo Italian Steakhouse. Wolfgang Puck closed his Grille inside the MGM Grand Detroit, then made up for it by opening Cucina + Pizzeria and Steak. Mosaic closed and was reborn as Santorini Estiatorio. Opus One is still working on their renovations and re-branding. The London Chop House was resuscitated (and this is one corpse I'm glad was dug up and trotted back out). In Ann Arbor, Habana moved and is now adjoining Lena while Mash, a whiskey and bourbon and beer bar, makes so much more sense with Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery upstairs. Ootie's isn't so much a rebooties but it's fun to say. And Green Dot wins at everything.

Beer! The state of Michigan has become a petri dish of microbreweries, but let's just focus on metro Detroit. Craft beer continued to be A Thing around here, and in fact is going at it even harder. Used to be I could list from memory all of the places in a given city that serve "good beer." Now I find myself making qualifying statements: "Well, they carry Michigan beers, but it's mostly stuff like AXL and Crooked Tree and Full Circle. If you want a really good beer selection..." Hell, even the Free Press finally caught on. So did asshole scalpers. Great things in beer that happened this year/are happening next year: One-Eyed Betty's, Clubhouse BFD, Palate, the Jolly Pumpkin Cafe in Royal Oak, Falling Down Beer Company, Chelsea Alehousethat Jet's Pizza, Green Dot, and probably way more I missed.

Baconfest! You're welcome.


Look out for the east side. Grosse Pointe Park will get all of Mindy Lopus's new joints plus Dave Gilbert's new joint plus a second location for Luxe, and also City Kitchen is expanding. Over in West Village, four new spots are opening (and not that they aren't all equally exciting, but Craftwork and Red Hook are more equally exciting). I think it's safe to say that the east side is sick of being everyone's bitch.

Hamtramck ... oh, just you wait. It will give me something to write about in January.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

Wolfgang Puck's Steak opened inside the MGM Grand Detroit. The menu has lots of steak. [EID Official / FB]

Prediction: Craftwork will be the biggest and most-buzzed-about Detroit restaurant opening of 2013. Also, I have yet to ask Hugh or Michael about this, but given Geiger's background in electronic music I really REALLY hope the name is a homage to Kraftwerk (who just got snubbed by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year, BTW.) [Crain's]

Pulse is closed but will reopen in a larger location in Greektown in February; the building that stretches an entire city block along Monroe that Pulse once called home is now completely empty after having pushed out all of its tenant over the last two years. Rumor has it that the building will be torn down and either a parking garage or hotel development (though parking garage seems to be favored) will be constructed in its place. [EID FB]

The Free Press's Sylvia Rector releases her picks for the top 10 best new restaurants of the year, leaves a lot of raised eyebrows and scratched heads. [Freep]

Rodin in Midtown is now open and the menu sounds just short of divine. [Thrillist]

Just can't get enough FLAVA! [Eater]

Dave Mancini: Pizza maker. Business man. Community leader. Innovator. Yeti. [UIX]

Here are the completely arbitrary findings of an inherently flawed "study" that is obviously strictly for marketing purposes citing Detroit as one of the most health-conscious cities in the country. Now please sign up for our website. [HuffPo]

Detroit has a new urban mini golf course (in Corktown, natch). And it is very, VERY Detroit (right down to the train station backdrop). [Thrillist]

Some random website lists Kuhnhenn Brewing Company's Fluffer as one of 100 Beer to Try Before You Die. Which you can do at their annual Winter Solstice Party this Friday, December 21, provided we don't all die in the Mayan Apocalypse. [Complex]

If what the nay-sayers are claiming is true, this is the most complicated evil genius land-grab plot in the history of THE WORLD and John Hantz is very clearly operating on a level we mere mortals cannot possibly hope to comprehend. [Crain's]

It continues here. [Deadline]

Konbini Online Delivery Service is now operating in downtown and Midtown with early morning and late-night hours delivering just about every sort of odd and end a student type could want, with hopes to grow into something much bigger. $3.50 flat rate per delivery. They'll run through Dec. 19 then pick back up again full-time in January when school starts again. Like a real city! On bikes! [HuffPo]

Detroit is the new ... Berlin! Which isn't to say we're the testicle of the West, but that we're poor but sexy. [UIX]

Further proof of the power of #putaneggonit (or in it). [Hour]

Detroit puts the "d" in dreidel. [EID FB / Detroit Design Center]

B. Nektar Meadery has received their state winemaker license for their new facility (also in Ferndale, a block away from the old one). Tastings will move to the new space starting in January. They will continue to use the old space to make their limited releases and any barrel aging. [EID FB / B. Nektar FB]

Some people bake cookies for the holidays. Others make tamales. [Freep]

Chef Brian Polcyn's Salumi makes it onto Eater's essential reading list for 2012. [Eater]

The city of Royal Oak has approved a massive mixed-use development downtown that will include a hotel, an apartment building, a parking garage, two more buildings, and a high-end -- oh how we love trends here -- STEAKHOUSE. Will Main Street even be visible in the shadows of its loft developments, apartment buildings and parking garages? Help us, Jolly Pumpkin Cafe. You're our only hope. [Curbed Detroit]

Chelsea Alehouse is getting ready to open, bringing a microbrewery back to the city that was home to Michigan's first way back in 1982! And it's right next to that awesome Jet's Pizza with the craft beer I told you about that one time. [ / EID Official]

Eat It GR (and beyond)
~For years I've thought, the only thing that could possibly make Grand Rapids better would be if New Holland Brewing Company had a brew pub here instead of 30 minutes away in Holland. It's like I wish for things and they happen. [MLive]
~Reserve Wine + Food in Grand Rapids gets a shout-out from USA Today as one of 10 great wine bars in the country! Grand Rapids: more than just beer. But also beer. [USA Today]
~Goose Island Beer Co.'s former brewmaster Gregory Hall is making craft cider now instead. Virtue Cider has already been operating in Chicago for several months, but the new Fennville location will have both the production facility and an orchard. (Hall will also source fruit from other Michigan apple farmers.) This new facility will be ready to make its own cider by the end of the year. Once again, cider is a thing here now. [MLive]
~Now on shelves: the ying to one of DRAFT Magazine's best beers of 2012, Brewery Vivant Escoffier's, yang -- New Belgium Brewing's Biere de Garde, part of the limited Lips of Faith Series. And a TOTALLY different beer. [MLive]
~Pilot Malt House opens in Kalamazoo and is west Michigan's only independent, small-batch maltery. [SW MI Second Wave]
~Bourdain is coming to Lansing. If you're into that sort of thing. [Anthony What-the-Foodie-Movement-Landed-On-When-the-Foodie-Movement-Jumped-the-Shark Fucking Bourdain Tour Official]