Friday, August 30, 2013

[NEWS BITES] Dine. Drink. Detroit.

Wine at Great Lakes Coffee. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Detroit Restaurant Week is coming up September 20-29. (This year is kind of a big deal with the addition of the already sold-out Guns + Butter pop-up.) Now, we've all been through this before, and I'm not talking about the three-course $30 prix fixe dinner menus. I'm talking about the race for reservations. The disappointment when your restaurant of choice is booked for the evening you're free. Having to settle for your seventh choice. Trying to wrangle together groups of friends who all have different availability and want to go different places. Trying to have a normal dinner at one of these places during these 10 days, forgetting exactly what 10 days they actually are, and finding them unable to accommodate you. Yes, for all the fun there is to be had, it can also be a bit stressful. Especially for those of us (hi) who are loathe to ever plan anything in advance.

Fear not! For now there is Dine. Drink. Detroit. #DineDrinkDetroit brings together 13 slightly-less-than fine dining establishments offering a combination of food and drink for $15 - no reservations, just a special offering available at each of these locally- and independently-owned establishments.

The first-ever #DineDrinkDetroit will be held October 10-16. More details for this event will be forthcoming but for now, mark your calendars for an extra special week of celebrating all that which is dining and drinking in Detroit!

#DineDrinkDetroit is the brainchild of Scott Rutterbush from Great Lakes Coffee and Kate Williams of Rodin

Thursday, August 29, 2013

[NEWS BITES] Detroit Restaurant Week participating restaurants announced, adding Guns + Butter pop-up series to lineup

Shinola in Midtown. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg. 

For the fifth annual installment of Detroit Restaurant Week's fall edition, organizers are adding the popular pop-up Guns + Butter to the lineup of coordinating DRW programming with a series at DRW sponsor Shinola, the flagship luxury goods retailer in Midtown. Deets below.

Detroit Restaurant Week returns Friday, September 20 through Sunday, September 29 for fall. Sixteen of Detroit’s finest restaurants, including the award-winning Coach Insignia and Roast, will once again offer specially-priced three-course dinners for only $30 per person.

Shinola, the presenting sponsor of Detroit Restaurant Week for fall 2013 will also host Guns + Butter, an exclusive, intimate pop-up dining experience provided by Chef Craig Allen Lieckfelt. "Partnering with Shinola to showcase the flavors of the season in their beautiful venue is a real treat,” says Lieckfelt. “Bringing the experience of food into a unique and unexpected setting sums up who we are as a business. We are excited to be a part of DRW this season,” he adds.

Bridget Russo, director of marketing for Shinola says they’re proud to host Guns + Butter at their Shinola flagship store located at 441 W. Canfield St. in Midtown, Detroit. “It's exciting for us to be able to support local culinary talent through Detroit Restaurant Week, which does so much to encourage Detroiters to get out and explore all the incredible restaurants in the city,” she adds. 

The DRW edition of Guns + Butter will be held on Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21 as well as Thursday, September 26 through Saturday, September 28. Reservations can be made by email at Seating will be extremely limited.

The restaurants participating in the ninth installment of the biannual fine dining event are: 

24Grille – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
Andiamo Detroit Riverfront – GM Ren Cen
Angelina Italian Bistro – Downtown
Brizola – Greektown Casino Hotel
Cliff Bell’s – Downtown
Coach Insignia – GM Ren Cen
Cuisine – New Center
Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille – Foxtown
Detroit Seafood Market – Paradise Valley
Fountain Bistro – Campus Martius Park
Guns + Butter – Shinola Detroit, Midtown
La Dolce Vita – Palmer Woods District
Rattlesnake Club – Stroh River Place
Roast – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
Roma Cafe – Eastern Market
Santorini Estiatorio – Greektown
Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria + Cucina – MGM Grand Detroit

Visit for the latest updates about menus, upcoming events, and to sign-up for the exclusive Detroit Restaurant Week e-newsletter. “Like” Detroit Restaurant Week on Facebook and follow @dineDRW on Twitter.

Detroit Restaurant Week is presented by Shinola, the Detroit-based manufacturer of premium Detroit-built wristwatches and bicycles as well as other consumer products. Quicken Loans returns as supporting sponsor.

History of Detroit Restaurant Week: The Detroit Restaurant Week concept was created in 2009 as a partnership project between Paxahau Event Productions, the Downtown Detroit Partnership (DDP) and its partner organizations in Midtown, Corktown, Eastern Market and New Center to support and promote fine dining restaurants in greater downtown Detroit. Almost 230,000 diners have enjoyed DRW to date, generating over four million dollars in sales for our participating restaurants. In the spring of 2013, DRW partnered with Forgotten Harvest to provide 10,000 meals to metro Detroiters in need.

About Shinola
Shinola was founded in 2011 with the goal to make quality products and to make them right here in America. As makers of modern, handcrafted watches, bicycles, leather goods, and journals, Shinola is proud to be based in Detroit, a community-minded city with a strong manufacturing legacy. As a new company with a storied name, Shinola stands for skill at scale, the preservation of craft, the beauty of industry.

About Paxahau Event Productions & Management
Paxahau Event Productions has earned the reputation over the past decade as an elite promotions organization. Initially established to promote electronic music, Paxahau has grown to become a year-round event production company. In addition to producing the annual Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit, they also direct operations for the Detroit Jazz Festival and will manage production and operations for Moogfest 2014 in Asheville, North Carolina. Paxahau has booked talent and provided production services for Motown Winter Blast; Red Bull Air Races; Arts, Beats & Eats; North American International Auto Show events; BravoBravo! and the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Visit to learn more.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

~Here is a look inside the new Rock City Eatery space in Hamtramck, which is full of vintage items, century-old repurposed materials, hand-made furniture made by a local craftsman from reclaimed materials, and original artwork from Detroit's golden age of punk and Detroit's foremost punkstress. It's looking pretty sweet. [EID]
~Corktown is now PATIOTOWN and Pizzeria Biga is redeemed. [EID]
~Melt gelato, coffee and sweet shop will open in Midtown in the next few weeks. [Model D]
~There is a quantifiable shit-ton of new permanent and temporary retail (POP-UPS!!!!!!!), restaurant, bar, cafe, and other businesses opening on the Avenue of Fashion next month. [Model D]
~Corktown has another (yes, another) breakfast, brunch and lunch spot opening this fall: La Villa, next to Mudgie's on Brooklyn, will specialize in the sweeter side of things. [Model D]
~The new Hamtramck Food Week (coming this fall) is currently running a crowd-funding campaign through Patronicity. [EID]
~Happy's Pizza figured out the winning combination that is beer and pizza with the new Happy's Pizza and Pub in West Bloomfield. [EID]
~The Bloomfields are going all Rick Bayless. [EID]
~I learned a lot about pizza places in Detroit while "researching" my part in this. Everything from halal pizzerias to neighborhood joints that have been around for 50 years...there's a lot more than Supino and Buddy's out there. (But, you know, there's also Supino and Buddy's.) [Model D]

Oh and hey, speaking of patios, Cafe Muse also got a new one (and spruced up the original dining room a bit, from what I could tell), and it's pretty spiffy. [CM FB]

These guys have been working on this *forever.* (At least that's what it has felt like to me, and I'm sure it has to them.) So. Pulse is not in fact reopening in a new location in Greektown as previously suggested: instead, it is now Firebird Tavern, and it is a pretty spectacular space. [Detroit News]

Flavor Flav's will rise again. Like a glorious phoenix from the ashes. Or a cockroach. [FF FB]

Corridor Sausage is now serving in Ford Field. [Corridor FB]

P-p-p-POP-UPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *pantpantpant* [Hour]

Including Rap and Noodles. [Green Dot FB]

AND Detroit Harmonie's "Dinner in the Field" this Thursday at Capuchin Soup Kitchen - Earthworks Urban Farm, a "pop-up" dinner celebrating Detroit's urban agriculture movement. Tickets are only $15, get them before they sell out. [Detroit Harmonie]

Summer isn't over yet! Check out this new specialty limited Midnight Train to Traverse ice cream flavor made in collaboration between Guernsey Farms Dairy and The Root Restaurant and Bar! [Guernsey FB]

Speaking of Guernsey, they have the best chocolate milk EVAR. Seriously though. [Guernsey FB]

Coach Insignia and River Crab Blue Water Inn are among the country's most scenic restaurants, according to OpenTable users. [Detroit News]

The Oakland turned two. [Freep]

Luxe Bar and Grill has officially opened their second location in Grosse Pointe Farms in the old Lucy's spot. [Metromode]

CAYA Smokehouse in Wolverine Lake is now open. [CAYA FB]

This person's computer privileges should be taken away for producing such pat drivel. [Fodor's]

~The biggest news to happen in beer this week: Kuhnhenn Brewing Company is working on a SERIOUS expansion and I got a pre-preview of the new space in Clinton Twp. [EID]

~The second-biggest news in beer this week (IMO): The Bruery beers are now in bars and on shelves in Michigan. This SoCal brewery makes some of the best sour beers in the country (IMO), second only to Russian River Brewing Company (IMO), which has already maxed out its capacity with no plans to expand, and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, which duh. To celebrate, One-Eyed Betty's is having a beer dinner this Tuesday featuring all Bruery beers. [OEB FB]

~Detroit Beer Week has announced the 2013 dates. Mark your calendars for October 17-27 - we're going for 11 days this year! [EID/DBW FB]

~Tickets to the Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival in Eastern Market October 25-26 (the culmination of Detroit Beer Week) have sold out for Saturday's session but are still available for Friday. [MBG]

~Why yes it is THE Screamin' Pumpkin. [Griffin Claw FB]

~Here is an update on changes to Michigan's beer distribution laws currently in discussion. (The update is brewers and distributors have reached more consensus, but not totally.) [MLive]

~A lengthy but interesting read for those passionate about the craft beer industry (WSG Beer Todd). [Maureen Ogle]

~Apparently Prince has a sense of humor. That's what we're going with, anyway. [D+T]

~MSG is so misunderstood. [FWF]

[EID Preview] Rock City Eatery

All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.
In a matter of weeks, Rock City Eatery will be open in Hamtramck. Rock City Eatery is the full-service sit-down restaurant concept from Nikita Santches, also known as "the Pie Guy" of Rock City Pies. After gaining a loyal following as a regular weekend vendor at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale and being a finalist in the 2012 Hatch Detroit competition, Nik is about to realize his dream of opening his own restaurant. Yes, there will be pie, but there will also be so much more - like bone marrow fritters, duck rillette, and "Nicole's Poutine" (guess who that's named after!).

Nik is sticking to his guns and serving a menu featuring all items he makes himself in-house that at closest approximation can best be described as "new American," but goes so much beyond that - from Eastern European-inspired offal dishes to modern American dishes with an Asian-influenced flair and other things that you could expect from someone who worships Anthony Bourdain (we agree to disagree on that). There is also a full bar menu featuring all-Michigan wines and beers, "Lushies" (booze slushies), rum-spiked horchata, boozy milkshakes, and a cocktail list that runs from the classics (Negroni, Pimm's Cup) to house-made Sangria and Nik's own creations like "the Zetterberg" (he's Russian, enough said - and yes this one has vodka in it).

As he puts on the finishing construction touches and awaits his last rounds of inspections, here's a preview of the space which he designed and worked on himself with help of family and friends.

Nik's fellow Rust Belt vendor David Moroz Art Furniture created several hand-made furniture pieces made from reclaimed materials (and really awesome stuff which is also slowly taking over EID headquarters) - most of the tables and the long bar along the north wall are his work.

Vintage items came from another fellow Rust Belter the Detroit Picker and Vogue Vintage in Ferndale.

The walls will feature original artwork from Detroit photographer Kay Young - huge canvas-mounted prints of original photos she took of the godfather and godmother of punk (Iggy Pop and Patti Smith, both major players in the Rock City scene in the '70s) - and a signed and numbered print from Detroit's own punk empress and internationally-acclaimed artist Niagara.

The building that is home to Rock City Eatery is one of the oldest in Hamtramck, dating back to 1918. Nik has exposed some of the original brick on the south wall and utilized loose bricks from the original building for the kitchen counter.

An iron door found in the basement (which was built as a bomb shelter) was brought upstairs and now features prominently in the dining room.

For more photos, check out the Flickr set here.

And, just for funsies and comparison's sake, this is what the space looked like before as Maria's Comida:

Friday, August 23, 2013

[EID Preview] First look at the new Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. production facility

The entrance of the new tasting room. All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.

Earlier this week, Warren-based Kuhnhenn Brewing Company made the official announcement (though I spilled the beans earlier this month) that they have purchased a new facility in Clinton Township that will enable them to significantly increase their production capacity - up to 20,000 barrels annually. (To put that in perspective, the nationally-acclaimed Russian River Brewing in SoCal has officially maxed out at 14,100 barrels annually. It's no Bell's or Founders - with production capacities of 500,000 and 340,000 barrels, respectively - but 20,000 barrels is a lot of beer.)

Kuhnhenn is already a player on a national level, having racked up plenty of awards at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup over the years (two of the largest and most prestigious beer competitions in the country and world) and getting ranked #12 in a list of the best brewers in the world by user-generated RateBeer. This new 35,000-square-foot facility, located in the former Evergreen Lawn and Landscape building on Groesbeck just south of Metro Parkway, will also allow them to significantly increase their mead production, with an estimated production of 2-3,000 barrels in the first year.

With this new production facility also comes a new tasting room and multi-season outdoor beer garden with an estimated capacity of 250-300 people. Simply put, it took them long enough to make the leap (this search for a bigger production facility has been in discussion for years), but now that they have it is LEGIT.

They expect to be open sometime in the first quarter of 2014, ideally before the Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids but certainly no later than St. Patrick's Day. Equipment is already being delivered and I got a walk-through of the new space yesterday. Check it out.

This will be the three-season beer garden. 
Tasting room: south side.

Tasting room: north side. 

Part of the production area (which will be visible to the tasting room).

New tanks!

More photos here.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

[HOT LIST] Best new patios

Red Crown.

Another summer, another slew of "best patio" lists. I'll let you in on a little secret: these lists don't change much year to year. The Rattlesnake keeps being located on the Detroit River and the Whitney keeps having a garden and the Old Miami keeps having a big-ass lawn with a koi pond.

But this year, things have changed. New places have opened. A LOT of new places. And these places have built patios. Really nice patios. So instead of the same old reminder that the Rattlesnake's patio has a nice view of the Detroit River (and it does! so very nice!), here's a look at the best new patios to pop up just this year (and some as recently as last week).

SIDEBAR: It seems that Corktown is becoming PATIOTOWN.

El Barzon.
#1 El Barzon Southwest Detroit
For years you've loved the food and merely accepted the ambiance, but their new enclosed patio is a thing of real beauty. If you haven't been over there recently, it's time you went back.

#2 Red Crown Grosse Pointe Park
The Grosse Pointes are becoming quite the hotbed of new restaurant activity, with a second location of Luxe recently opened, a new Atwater brewpub in the works, Dave Gilbert's new restaurant Marais getting ready to open, and all of restaurateur Mindy Lopus's new ventures opening this year. The first was Red Crown, a Southern BBQ and comfort food restaurant with an excellent craft cocktail program and an even better patio. Whether its for Sunday brunch or an evening of cocktails, this is a pretty happy place to be.

St. Cece's Pub.

#3 St. Cece's Pub Corktown
There are a few spots in Corktown that could be considered one of the locals' favorite hangouts (Green Dot, Astro, Sugar House), and St. Cece's is among them. Is it the farm-to-table food? The fireplace? The dog-friendliness? The quintessential local neighborhood pub feeling? Whatever the case, get ready to love it even harder with their fab bum-proof patio. You know what I mean.

Griffin Claw beer garden. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

#4 Griffin Claw Brewing Company Birmingham
I have a total beer boner for this place despite it being in Birmingham and all of the inherent Birminghamness that implies. (The latest news: Dan Rogers got to rights the Screamin' Pumpkin recipe back - originally his when he was brewing for Michigan Brewing Company - and is now brewing it under the same name at Griffin Claw. AND IT IS THE BEST.) Another thing to love about it is the three-season beer garden.

The Jefferson House. From my iPhone.

#5 The Jefferson House Downtown
The subtlely bum-proof patio at the Jefferson House - featuring a plexiglass partition just high enough to keep Detroit's vagrant population from intruding on your meal, which isn't so much an insensitive comment as something WE ALL FUCKING KNOW HAPPENS - may effectively be located on Jefferson as it becomes the Lodge Freeway service drive, but the design is comfortable and contemporary and the view of the GM Renaissance Center doesn't suck.

Pizzeria Biga Royal Oak.
Honorable mention:
Last year I ran a list of the worst patios in metro Detroit. Because I get really bored with this shit, honestly. So I ripped into Pizzeria Biga Royal Oak and it was kind of a big deal but now we've all moved past it and are friends, but they also made some serious improvements to the patio (including a covered floor and enclosed roof, blocking out a lot of the undesirable sound and preventing the tables and chairs from wobbling, my two biggest bones of contention). While the patio is not NEW new, in that it existed in a form last year, it's new in the sense of being totally redone, and certainly worth a redeeming mention. So, I take that one back. Go check out their patio.

Bubbling under Ottava Via (Corktown), Ashley's Westland (Westland), MotorCity Wine (Corktown), Green Dot Stables (Corktown), Brooklyn Street Local (Corktown) - new concrete poured this year

What did I miss? Leave it in the Facebook comments.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

[NEWS BITES] Hamtramck Food Week crowdfunding with Detroit start-up Patronicity

Hamtramck Food Week is trying to get off the ground, but as they too are a city currently operating under an emergency manager, they don't exactly have fun funds to throw around.

So they're asking for some help. With a crowdfunding campaign set up through Detroit-based Patronicity, Hamtramck Food Week is trying to raise $2,000 to get them off the crowd and better situate them for long-term sustainability. It doesn't really sound like much - which, on the one hand, is great, because that means they stand a better chance of raising it, but on the other hand makes me wonder just how effective this small sum will be, though I have faith in the Hamtramck powers that be to make it work - but it will help with all of the coordinating programming happening in tandem with the first-ever Food Week.

Hamtramck Food Week means that diners will get featured dinners for $10 at participating restaurants, which collectively represent the greatest cultural diversity of southeastern Michigan (and, by extension, the whole state). But there is also a great deal of programming involved, including ethnic cooking demonstrations, a Top Chef Hamtramck competition, a behind-the-scenes tour and history tour, and so much more.

Check out the Patronicity campaign for the full explanation and schedule of events. Since I have previously christened the imminent Thingness of Hamtramck, I have to say this is one big step further in that direction.

In the meantime, don't miss the annual Hamtramck Labor Day Festival happening August 31-September 2.

[NEWS BITES] MEX opening in Bloomfield Hills Labor Day weekend

MEX exterior.
Celebrity chef Zack Sklar (because we are all celebrities in our own minds, are we not?) is opening MEX in Bloomfield Hills later this month. His first solo restaurant Social Kitchen + Bar in Birmingham has been a huge success and his plan was always to grow a restaurant empire to rival Lettuce Entertain You in Chicago, so this is his next step towards that. Much like with Social, a great deal of attention has been paid to the concept and design. Being over in Bloomfield Hills, Sklar's biggest competitor will be fellow restaurateur Bill Roberts of the Roberts Restaurant Group, which owns both Roadside B+G and Cafe ML in the area, neither of which are anything close in concept. And again, as a former area resident, I can tell you that 20 new restaurants with the exact same concept could open in the area and all would do well.

Huerto Tequila Bar and Grill, opening in near-ish West Bloomfield this fall, will be MEX's biggest competitor in terms of concept, with a design by Ron Rea, a big brick fireplace in the dining room and a second one on the huge outdoor patio, SW/Mexican/American food, and 75 different tequilas. Both of these restaurants seem to be ushering in the second wave of the contemporary Mexican cuisine-and-tequila-bar concept (and let's not forget La Feria in Midtown, also opening this fall). The first time around, the model didn't have much luck - there was the recent Barrio bomb in Birmingham, and those of us who have lived here for more than 5 minutes aaaaaaaaaaall remember Agave. (When the day comes that Midtown Inc. finally removes that sign it will be a very, very sad day. Also, Sue, can I have it? No but seriously.) In both cases, however, it would seem the problem stemmed more from mismanagement on owners' and/or landlords' ends than anything else, having much less to do with the popularity (or lack thereof) of the concept.

Below is the presser. Those who read it and think "Rick Bayless" are not in the wrong.

MEX interior
After opening Detroit Metro’s hottest new restaurant, Social Kitchen and Bar in June 2012, 27-year-old chef Zack Sklar is brining his trademark innovative style to his second restaurant endeavor, MEX.

The menu will feature authentic Mexican comfort food like carne asada, corn tamales and queso fondido, as well as homemade horchata, more than 100 types of tequila, and an inspired selection of handcrafted cocktails and margaritas.

“I think Detroit needs this,” Sklar says. “Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines in the world, but in Suburban Detroit it can be difficult to find the genuine, high-quality Mexican food I’ve learned to love, so I created the Mexican restaurant of my dreams.”

While traditional Mexican will be the restaurant’s lifeblood, the menu will also feature modern twists on classics, like hot dog taquitos and Mexican-spiced edamame. A variety of “stone bowls” (including a vegan option) incorporate a mix of beans, vegetables and spices. Cooking the stone bowls at 550 degrees and serving them in their vessel straight out of the oven ensures the Spanish rice is cooked to crispy perfection while meat and vegetables remain tender.

Desserts will include tres leches, corn-flake-crusted fried ice cream, and key-lime avocado pie.

Every dish on the menu will feature ingredients specially imported from all over the globe — including morita chiles, knob onions, a variety of quesos, and cinnamon straight from Mexico — to ensure a level of unmatched quality and authenticity. The 100% corn tortillas used in many of the entrees are made fresh daily.

In addition to its formidable list of tequilas — including some artful infusions —specialty drinks like mole margaritas and chipotle raspberry margaritas will round out a bar that also included 30 kinds of beers including eight on tap, and an inventive wine list.

The 200-seat multilevel restaurant is modeled after the work of iconic Mexican architect Louis Barragán. Mexican and Michigan culture collide at this unique building, featuring floors salvaged from Detroit homes built in the 1920s, and a kaleidoscopic array of colors for which Barragán is famous. Numerous garages convert the indoor bar into an outdoor fiesta in the summer.

“There’s nothing like this building and there’s nothing like this menu in Michigan,” Sklar says. “The refinement of our food, presented in fun casual ways is just what we do. With the approachability of the food and décor, we’re trying to bring over an eclectic youthfulness that’s accessible to everyone, which is exactly what has made Social so successful.”

About Zack Sklar
Chef Zack Sklar has been lauded for his innovative presentation and conceptual approach to classic cuisine. As a student at the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America, Sklar started his catering company Cutting Edge Cuisine in New York City in 2007. After graduating in 2008, the precocious chef returned home to Michigan and brought his business with him. Since then, the 27-year-old has made his mark on the Metro-Detroit culinary scene, most recently with the 2012 opening of Social Kitchen and Bar, a refined comfort food restaurant that has turned the Detroit Metro dining scene on its head. Sklar, who now employs 175 staff members, has also developed a growing list of high-profile clients, such as the Ritz Carlton, the Detroit Pistons, Microsoft, Mitt Romney and Dan Gilbert. Future plans include partnering with Gilbert on a restaurant in the city of Detroit.

“I returned to Michigan because I believe I can make an impact here, and so far I’ve been able to do that,” Sklar says. “In the Detroit area I’ve been able to experiment and create something totally unique in a way that wouldn’t be possible in any other city. I’ve brought in talent from all over the country to make sure my customers get impeccable service, and I’m really proud and excited to be able to bring a taste of true Mexican culture to an area that’s starved for it.”

[NEWS BITES] Happy's Pizza and Pub open in West Bloomfield

Oh, the things that come through my email. So. Despite the owner of Happy's Pizza, Happy Asker (his name is actually Happy! That makes me...happy), being indicted for tax fraud, the local pizza chain continues to expand. Most recently they opened Happy's Pizza and Pub in West Bloomfield, a sit-down, dine-in version of the fast food pizzeria with a full bar. My feeling was that it would be more your standard sit-down Buddy's than Jet's Sportsroom in Chelsea, but nay, apparently they are also trying to tackle the "eat/drink local" clientele. Here's the presser:

Happy’s Pizza is proud to announce the opening of their new Happy’s Pizza and Pub location in West Bloomfield, MI (7170 Orchard Lake Road), which officially opened on Monday, July 29.

The new Pizza and Pub was originally a Happy’s Pizza location, but re-opened as a sports bar and family-style restaurant. The Happy’s Pizza and Pub store features a full restaurant atmosphere, with over 40 flat screen televisions, 28 domestic craft beers and seats over 200 people, making it a great place to connect with family and friends while watching the big game. The new location has a full bar while still providing customers with the traditional Happy’s Pizza menu and concept of feeding a family of four for under $20.

“We couldn’t be more excited to open a Happy’s Pizza and Pub right here in Metro Detroit,” said Jason Curis, co-CEO for Happy’s Pizza. “Detroit is one of the best sports cities in the U.S. Now our customers will have the option of ordering in or coming down to the Pizza and Pub, where they can enjoy a great atmosphere while still eating the same delicious food.”

Happy’s Pizza offers over 220 menu items ranging from pizza to salads, chicken, ribs and seafood but will expand their menu in the pub to offer new dishes. Happy’s is best known for having pricing that allows a family to eat dinner for under $20.00 and deliver within a 5 mile radius of the store (248-406-5555). New pub hours are 11am – 2am, every day of the week.

Happy’s Pizza also offers franchising opportunities, more information upon request.

About Happy’s Pizza and Pub
The first Happy’s Pizza and Pub location opened in March of 2013 in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. The store features a full restaurant atmosphere, making it a good place to connect with family and friends while watching the big game. Happy’s Pizza and Pub will have a full bar while still providing customers with the traditional Happy’s Pizza menu.

About Happy’s Pizza
The first Happy’s Pizza opened in 1996 on Detroit’s Northeast side on a busy corner and quickly became known for not only its pizza, but also its barbeque ribs, fried chicken and seafood. Happy’s Pizza soon turned into a household name in Michigan and has expanded into eight other states. Happy’s Pizza’s primary mission is to provide families with the finest quality foods at the lowest possible price and to assure that each and every restaurant location a charitable leader throughout the communities that they serve. For more information visit

A lifetime ago I lived in West Bloomfield and it was pretty much a bar and restaurant desert. There were a few decent spots but they usually didn't last long. Things have been looking up a bit out there (and don't forget, Huerto Restaurant and Tequila Bar is opening there this fall) and I'll be honest, (a) pizza-lover that I am, and (b) beer-lover that I am, and (c) Happy's Pizza cheese bread-lover that I am, I might just check this place out next time I'm out that way. (Even though Jet's is still a thousand times better, OBVIOUSLY.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

[Model D] REVOLVE Detroit's Art + Retail on the Ave winners announced

Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Arguably the largest single transformation project of any neighborhood in the city of Detroit, REVOLVE Detroit's Art + Retail on the Ave – a program designed to revitalize Detroit's once-prominent Avenue of Fashion shopping district (located along Livernois between McNichols and 8 Mile) – has announced all of the winners of permanent and pop-up retail spaces, as well as art installations and programming, after issuing a call for entries in June.

They received nearly 100 proposals and worked with members of the community and other community organizations to make their final selections. The retail stores and art projects will make their debut on Friday, Sept. 20, when the Avenue of Fashion hosts the Detroit Design Festival, and will include four new permanent retailers, eight pop-up retail concepts, nine art projects, and nine additional programming and events concepts.

Read more.

Check out the full list of permanent and pop-up vendors as well as art projects and events here.

[Model D] Coffee, gelato and sweet shop Melt next up in Midtown

Of the many (and there are indeed many) new restaurants and retailers opening in Midtown this year, it appears that Melt is going to be the next one to open.

Melt is a coffee, gelato, and sweet shop located at 4150 Cass (at Willis). Owner Aaron Haithcock has wanted to open a candy shop since he was a kid, but decided to diversify his concept to include coffee and gelato to support a steadier clientele base, a model he saw work while employed at a candy store in Chicago that also sold cakes and ice cream.

Read more.

[Model D] Corktown will soon have another spot for breakfast, lunch and brunch at La Villa

Corktown will have another new breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot opening, and this one is right next to Mudgie's Deli.

La Villa is a new concept by sisters Sarrah Willoughby and Rai Jackson. Opening later this fall, La Villa will offer an alternative twist on breakfast and lunch fare.

Read more.