Monday, September 30, 2013

[EID Feature] Chef Paul Grosz takes a Stand

Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

The Stand in Birmingham officially opens for business today. The hotly-anticipated restaurant taking over the former Zazio's space - a concept that rather majestically flamed out for any number of reasons up to and including a cumbersome, poorly-planned space draped in seizure-inducing swirls of neon and food that quite simply wasn't that good (even by Birmingham's notoriously mediocre standards) - is a partnership between Chef Paul Grosz of Cuisine and fine dining industry vet John Kelly with Greenleaf Trust/Catalyst Development, owners of the building, as the investors.

Chef Paul is the Executive Chef of this new concept, and he'll also continue overseeing Cuisine in New Center, running back and forth between both. I've know Chef Paul for a few years - he was one of the first chefs I really established a personal rapport with back during my early days as a scrappy blogger - and, knowing him as well as knowing the difficulty of taking on such a massive space and making enough money on it for the business to stay open, my first question to him was: are you insane?

The answer is yes but in a way that makes sense in the long term. Paul has a 10-year plan. Part of that 10-year plan includes positioning himself for retirement and being able to put his mark on something other than Cuisine - a restaurant he is very proud of and happy with, but one that is also very much events-driven given its somewhat isolated location in New Center across from the Fisher Building.

Paul is also considering the natural trajectory of the chef's career. As he is currently filling in for Mr. Charcuterie Chef Brian Polcyn at Schoolcraft, teaching Polcyn's charcuterie class while Polcyn is busy working on his latest endeavors, Paul is thinking more and more of following in Polcyn's footsteps and transitioning into the role of instructor. He'd like to teach more at Schoolcraft - not Polcyn's class, but possibly a new class on seafood, which receives little attention as part of the school's culinary instruction, and maybe even vegetarian and vegan cuisine. (Paul is big on seafood, and also on veggies, as you'll find on the menu at the Stand). He'd also like to mentor up-and-coming chefs and eventually get out of the kitchen entirely.

Chef Paul in the kitchen. 

But that's all part of the 10-year plan. For now, Paul is going to be in BOTH kitchens, overseeing all operations and doing the cooking himself along with the help of his culinary team.

The menu at the Stand is decidedly small and carefully-managed. Items include a lobster fried egg - a brioche-breaded soft-boiled egg with lobster and asparagus - duck confit cassoulet, rabbit, and waygu beef, with a purposeful emphasis on sea food. (Again, this is Paul's thing.) There is a charcuterie room in which they will cure and dry their own meats (which will also be supplied to Cuisine) that should be fully operational in the next month. And while that all sounds like a very protein-centric menu, vegetarians and vegans can take heart: YOU HAVE YOUR OWN MENU. Eight entirely-vegan items are highlighted on their own menu, so you don't just have to order whatever lame-o salad or soup made vegan as an afterthought.

The bar area comes with its own menu and includes things like veal sweetbreads, foie gras burgers, duck sliders, and daily oysters. And desserts will be just as special as the rest of the menu: Pastry Chef Kevin Kearney, who has worked with Paul at Cuisine for years, is now at the Stand making his unique creations like goat cheese cheesecake and funky ice cream flavors (he did it before it was cool). He is one of the finest pastry chefs in the area, so do be sure not to skip dessert.

The beverage program is just as thoughtful, with a small but solid selection of Michigan craft beers and an entire craft cocktail program designed by none other than Travis Fourmont.

The Hall of Culinary Fun.

Those of you who remember Zazio's Wizard of Oz-on-acid color scheme (an image surely burned into your brain if you ever stepped foot in the place), all I can say The space is transformed. And by that I mean they COMPLETELY gutted it - like, everything. Like, they kept nothing. They scrapped everything short of actually bulldozing the building. The entrance is now on Peabody and diners will be greeting in the "lobby" before heading down what Paul calls the Hall of Culinary Fun. To the right, you will see the open kitchen with a 10-seat bar where they will host two degustation menu seatings per night (in lieu of actually having a "chef's table" in the kitchen). To the left is the separate bar area with comfy booths and a community table. Further down is the main dining room and three private dining rooms.

Hand-blown glass gourds from Epiphany Glass.

As you walk around the massive space, take note to pay attention to the design details. Wood for the bars, ceilings, the communal tables and booth backsplashes is all reclaimed wood sourced through the WARM Training Center in Detroit, much of it from deconstructed homes in Detroit and Hamtramck. Eric Gorges of Voodoo Choppers made custom metal art pieces, including a copper "replica" of the Mackinaw Bridge over the communal table in the bar. In the main dining room, a series of four hand-blown glass sculptures made by April Wagner of Epiphany Glass represent the four seasons of food - leeks in the spring, shellfish in the summer, squash in the fall, and ice wine in the winter. Janelle Songer made the ceramic pieces throughout the restaurant. It was very important to both Paul and John to make this a space that is a reflection of the community, using local artists and salvaged materials with roots in metro Detroit. They want this to be a place that appeals to everyone, to have construction workers sitting next to bankers and everyone be comfortable. Like at a lemonade stand, where everyone has the same experience regardless of who and what they are - hence the name.

In regards to my question of how they were going to break up this 10,000-square-foot space to maximize marketability and monetization (something else Zazio's struggled with), the three private dining rooms are the answer. The 14-seat communal table inside the wine cellar is one, perfect for private celebrations. The 10-seat Paul W. Smith room is intended for celebrities and high-ranking executives, and even has its own private entrance. The third is a 40-seat conference room wired for all AV equipment with a large TV for teleconferences, and this is the space with the most potential to bring in a steady stream of business business.

Part of Paul's 10-year plan includes possibly opening more Stands in other areas in metro Detroit, or working with John on another concept in Birmingham - seafood, perhaps? But he's got 10 years to figure that out. For now, he's focused on getting the Stand open, which quite possibly stands to be the best restaurant in Birmingham.

The Stand has already been operating for a few weeks, hosting private events and seminars. It opens to the public officially at 5 p.m. today and will be open 5-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 5-11 Fridays and Saturdays (closed Sundays). Eventually they will also be open for lunch.

Want to see more? View the Flickr set here

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

~Rock City Eatery opened. [EID]
~(revolver) opened. [EID]
~Schramm's Mead opened. [EID]
~Hatch Detroit 2012 finalist Detroit Vegan Soul (D.V.S) celebrated their grand opening on Saturday in West Village. Co-owner Boyd says, "(D.V.S. is) both unapologetically vegan AND unapologetically soul food. We do soul food but veganize it. We see our food as being a good transition food into a plant-based diet, introduced in a way that is familiar and comfortable." [Model D]
~Do you remember when I posted that atrocious Craigslist job posting saying it was for Marais and everyone piled onto it basically swearing off the place and the people behind it? Well, I was wrong. Really, really wrong. [EID]
~Big news about Union Street. [EID]
~There's a lot of damn events all happened at the same exact time. [EID]

Premiering October 3, Cooking Channel's Chuck's Eat the Street "Motor City Meals" episode featuring SLOWS BAR BQ, Hygrade Deli, Mercury Burger Bar, La Pita, and Peaches and Greens. Pretty good cross-section of Detroit's food culture, I have to say. [Cooking Channel]

St. Cece's celebrated their two-year anniversary. [St. Cece's FB]

Effective immediately, Treat Dreams will have a cart at all Lions home games. They'll be serving four ice cream sandwich flavors which will change each week. [EID FB]

My cartoon alter-ego is Aeon Flux. Have I mentioned how much I love A2GastroBoy? [A2GB]

In case you haven't been paying any attention, like at all, here is a list of what has recently opened and will open soon. [Detroit News]

PROST! 'tis the season for the Dakota Inn Rathskeller, celebrating 80 years this year. Beer steins, chicken hats, and dirndls galore. [Detroit News]

Pizzeria Biga will be changing its name of all current and future locations in all associated social media profiles and marketing materials to Bigalora: Wood Fired Cucina. This is due to a trademark issue with the word "biga," and as the company continues on their aggressive expansion plans they needed something that could be trademarked. Speaking of expansion, Bigalora Ann Arbor is scheduled to open at the end of October. [Freep]

Here's a look at some of the changes that have gone down at Bastone Brewery and Pizzeria Biga - Royal Oak. [Freep]

Republica is now open in Berkley. Here's a bit more about it from Berkley Patch from a couple of months ago. I'm not sure that Greek salad really qualifies as a food revolution, but it does look pretty cool inside. [Berkley Patch]

Someone wrote something about Detroit; outrage ensued. [HuffPo]

Here's a great story about an awesome couple, which includes a nod to their second location opening in New Center in the coming months. Looking forward to it, Cafe Con Leche! [Detroit News]

I often get distracted by pizza while driving. You know, there's laws against texting and driving, but there are no laws against PIZZA and driving. [Freep]

Good or b-a-a-a-a-a-a-d idea? *snort* [MLive]

The Onion has inadvertently announced Little Caesars next marketing strategy. [The Onion]

Hour Detroit's Chris Cook talks about the growing prominence of Michigan wines on a national level with Michigan Radio. Michigan wines have come a loooooooooooong way, and in the last 5 years have really seemed to find favor in the greater world of the oenophile. [Michigan Radio]

Planning a trip to the east coast anytime soon? Well, you can still get your local Michigan liquor there - Valentine Distilling Co. has expanded distribution to the east coast. [Promote Michigan]

Learning how to say "no" to fussy eaters (or, just find dinner guests who aren't such assholes). [HuffPo]

~MLive sure did get a LOT of mileage out of this "Michigan's Best Brewery" thing. [MLive]

~Pop beer science says these beers from Founders Brewing Co., Bell's Brewery, Inc. (Official), and others are the best in the world. It reads like pretty much every other "best beers in the world" list, but this one has SCIENCE behind it. [Business Insider]

Friday, September 27, 2013

[EID Feature] Schramm's Mead: Mead from the Guy Who Wrote the Book on It

All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.

Starting today, Schramm's Mead in Ferndale is now open for business! After months of planning, Ken Schramm, owner and internationally-respected mead maker, is finally opening his much-anticipated meadery and tasting room in downtown Ferndale. (Read the EID mead primer here.)

The tasting room has six meads on tap - four signature and two rotating - as well as a selection of "mead cocktails," along with a small menu of sweet and savory small plates made to pair with their meads. (Cheese plate, anyone? Anyone besides me?) The tasting room can accommodate 28 inside and another 20 on the spacious patio overlooking 9 Mile when the weather is gracious enough to permit it. On the walls are works by local artists that are available for purchase; Schramm charges less commission than galleries and hopes to be able to get a lot of quality artwork in. As Schramm was looking for a location somewhere along the Woodward Corridor he looked at many buildings and spoke to many city council members and planning officials. He found Ferndale to be the most enthusiastic and supportive of what he wanted to do. Now, between Schramm's Meadery, from one of the most respected mead makers in the world, and B. Nektar, possibly the highest-producing meadery in the country right now, Ferndale might as well be called Meaddale. 

All meads will be available for purchase in the tasting as well as select stores - they are self-distributing for now until their production requires something more substantial. Schramm has a goal of producing 300 gallons per month, or somewhere north of 130 cases (by comparison, neighboring Ferndale meadery B. Nektar has been steadily producing over 2,000 cases per month, so Schramm's is a tiny operation by comparison). 

I had the chance to sit down with Schramm last month to discuss his new meadery and his history with the burgeoning craft mead industry - something he has been instrumental in growing. "Okay, I have a bit of a reputation," he said bashfully to me as I attempted to make him take credit for his work. Schramm is an exceedingly kind and humble person, and more than one industry friend has referred to him as a genius - a label I have absolutely no doubt he deserves after hearing him rattle off the numerical designations of yeast strains he has used, the ethical conundrum of organic versus local, and the importance of having "fidelity to your product." Quality in, quality out, he says - which means while he will be using Michigan fruit and honey in his products, he is also very mindful of seasonality and will use what he needs to from where he needs to as the items are in season and available. 

The following is an excerpt from this conversation that appears in this month's issue of Hour Detroit, now on stands


Just as craft brewing started in the basements of home brewers before it broke into the mainstream, so too did mead – and the home brewer and home meadmaker were often one and the same.

That's how Ken Schramm started in 1987. His brother bought him a home brewing kit one year for Christmas, which came with a copy of Charlie Pappazian's The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, long held as the definitive guide on the subject. In the back there was an appendix on mead.

"In it he spoke in superlatives, [like] there's really nothing better [than mead] in the whole wide world," Schramm says. "So I decided to give it a shot."

At the time craft brewing wasn't even yet in its infancy; it was still a zygote. Mead had even less prominence. Schramm started making meads and contacted fellow Michigander Bill Pfeiffer, one of the first five national beer judges in the country who was also meadmaker of the year. Pfieffer directed Schramm to the Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, where he met Dr. Dan McConnell, a PhD in microbiology research from the University of Michigan. "We both had the mead bug at the time, and I suggested we start a mead-only competition. Then people would send us their meads from all over and we could learn which ones were best and how they made them." And so, in partnership with a third friend Mike O'Brien, the Mazer Cup was born, America's first and largest mead-only competition. (The event is now held annually in March in Boulder, Colorado.)

Schramm and his mead buddies continued to build their reputations with experimental meads, and were guest speakers at the American Homebrewers Association national conference in Denver in 1994. "At that point our reputations were sealed," Schramm says. "People knew we were serious. We were asked to write articles. Eventually I got asked to write a book." McConnell was busy with a research grant from Harvard so Schramm took the lead on the mead-making manual.

The Compleat Meadmaker was released in 2003. It is still considered the current book of reference for meadmaking, and Schramm plans on a second edition soon. That's right: Ken Schramm is, quite literally, the man who wrote the book on mead.

Now he is opening his own meadery in downtown Ferndale, which he has wanted to do, he says, "Since before I wrote the book." Now in his 50s, he decided that if he was ever going to do it, now is the time. "I really wanted to open the meadery when mead was starting to gain currency and was not so obscure, when it was beginning to be part of the craft alcohol movement in the United States. I had to do something to support that first."

Want to see more? Check out the Flickr set here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

[EID Events] September 26-29, 2013

The Big Top Beer Tent and carnival setup, part of Rochester Mills' annual Oktoberfest celebration.


Hamtramck Food Week through September 28
Don't miss the final days of the first-ever Hamtramck Food Week going on now! $10 dinners at 10 participating locations and a whole lot more. Like trivia night tonight at Small's!

Detroit Restaurant Week through September 29
Just because you haven't made reservations yet doesn't mean you're completely SOL. Could be someone cancels and you could squeeze in, you never know. Or go somewhere like the Rattlesnake, put your name in, then head across the street to Andrew's on the Corner and knock a few back while you wait for a table. That sounds like a plenty good time.

Michigan Renaissance Festival, through September 29
I realize this isn't for everyone. If you hate fantasy and fun, you'll probably hate this. But for those who enjoy a bit of whimsy, Faire is fabulous. Whether you're in garb or not, Ren Fest is a blast every single year. Lots to eat and drink and see and do and buy. (Like leather! So much leather! And silver things! And shiny things!) Plus there's the Guinness Pub, which is pretty much the epicenter of fun-having.

Bastone Brewery Oktoberfest, through October 13
Bastone is now serving their annual Oktoberfest menu with their popular Rocktoberfest lager and special edition beer glasses.


Slows Oktoberfest, 4:00-8:00 p.m.
The annual Oktoberfest party at Slows. Several seasonal kegs will be tapped, plus there will be homemade sausage and sauerkraut.

A2 Art and Brew, 5:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Like Ann Arbor's Artini martini crawl, but with beer.

Rochester Mills Oktoberfest 2013, Tonight through September 29
Little Bavaria in downtown Rochester, complete with ceremonial keg-tappings, polka and lederhosen.

DIFFA: Dining by Design Tonight through Saturday
The annual Michigan AIDS Coalition fundraiser features over 30 over-the-top dining installations from the area's top talent in interior design, art, and architecture. The event starts tonight with Cocktails by Design, followed by the ArtWorks art auction tomorrow and the Gala Dinner on Saturday. There is also a public preview on Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. that's only $5.

Rap + Noodles at Green Dot Stables, 10:30 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.
Late night noodles (with a different featured bowl every month), DJs Frankie Banks with guests, $2 Sapporo, no cover. Every last Thursday of the month.

Friday, September 27

Plymouth Restaurant Week, through October 5
Has enough of restaurant weeks yet? Well, here's another one! This one's in Plymouth and features three-tier pricing.

Beer and BBQ at the Dearborn Historical Museum, 5:00 - 11:00 p.m.
$8 in advance or $9 at the door with beer from Kuhnhenn and Dragonmead and meat from Detroit BBQ Co. More info here.

(revolver) Friday and Saturday
A new communal-style chef's tasting dinner is opening this weekend in Hamtramck for Hamtramck Food Week. Read more about them here and make your reservations, some spots are still available.

Brewed in Michigan, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Kind of a mini-Michigan beer fest out in Milford. Lots of food, lots of beer.

Griffin Claw Beer, Sausage and Cheese sampling at Tom's Oyster Bar, Royal Oak, 7:30 p.m.
All of those things.

Saturday, September 28

Fall Flavor Weekends at the Henry Ford, through October 6
Celebrate harvest season at the Henry Ford during their Fall Flavor Weekends featuring a variety of fall foods and related programming.

Garden Bowl Centennial Celebration, all day and all night
Lebowski bowling. Need I say more?

Hockeytown BrewHaha, 1:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Beer and food trucks at the JLA.

Dabble in the Farms, 6:00 - 10:00 p.m.
A new fundraising event for Camp Casey and the Grosse Pointe Rotary Club on the Hill in Grosse Pointe Farms. Beer and wine and spirits and food and music and things. $30 advance/$40 at the door. Notables include Bailout Productions with Two James Spirits, Dragonmead, MillKing It Productions, Short's, and more.

Cattle Baron's Ball, 6:30 - 11:30 p.m.
If you fancy.

Sunday, September 29

Sundaylicious Oktoberfest, 5:00 - 11:00 p.m.
MotorCity Wine owners Dave and Melissa are putting on the food themselves at this special Oktoberfest edition of Sundaylicious at their new spot in Corktown. Kartoffelpuffer, sauerkraut Kartoffel Salat, Rotkohl and other things you can't pronounce but will go well with a dry Riesling or Oktoberfest beer.

Coming up
This fall kicks all other falls' asses.

Free Lunch Friday (FLF) October 4
Register now for a networky rah rah Detroit lunch thing at Detroit Labs next Friday. (Actually the free spots are all taken but you can still snag a non-free spot with a donation.)

Ferndale Restaurant Week, October 7-13
More here.

Dine Drink Detroit, October 10-16
More here.

Detroit Beer Week, October 17-27
Signing up Official Beer Destinations now; events will be posted soon!

Windsor Craft Beer Festival, October 18-19
Right on the other side of the Detroit River lies the exotic land of Windsor-Essex, and lo and behold they brew beer there. Can't wait for Fall Beer Fest in Eastern Market? Get prepped the weekend before with this celebration of craft beer heritage in Windsor-Essex in historic Olde Walkerville.

Theatre Bizarre: The Procession, October 18-19
New this year is a Preview Gala on Friday night. Limited tickets are available for this intimate event where masks are mandatory and masqueraders are led through a strolling dinner and scheduled performances. On Saturday, join the Procession.

Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival, October 25-26
As if this needs any kind of explanation.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

[NEWS BITES] That Craigslist posting for Marais? Was fake.

A couple of weeks ago a job posting on Craigslist ignited a firestorm of negative commentary against Chef David Gilbert and his new Grosse Pointe restaurant, Marais.

This was because I posted a link to this Craigslist post, specifically making reference to it being for Marais.

It was not.

The...well, let's just go ahead and say gloriously narcissistic, shamelessly verbose, unrepentantly obtuse, and batshit crazy post was so insane it just didn't seem like it could possibly be real.

Well, that's because it wasn't.

Afterwards David's wife and business partner Monica reached out to me via email. Her message was perfectly polite but pointed out that nowhere in the post was Marais specifically named and that she wished I had confirmed the information before posting it in such an inflammatory way. She also included a link to their actual job posting, which, I assure you, was quite a normal job posting and not at all insane. (It has since expired, otherwise I would share.)

The post for a "Captain's Assistant" in Grosse Pointe now seems to be perhaps exactly what it was intended for: a cruel mockery intended for people to assume it was from the Gilberts though it stopped just short of saying so, meant to turn the tide of public opinion against them worse than even the most finger-waiving Yelp reviewer.

Of course, this would not have been the outcome had someone with a prominent standing and wide reach not latched onto it. And, unfortunately, I did. Seeing this posted on a friend's timeline who specifically called it out as being Dave Gilbert's, the power of suggestion proved too strong. Though I didn't believe that any rational person or self-respecting business owner could POSSIBLY write this, I also didn't question it enough to find out otherwise. Nor did I didn't actually say where it was for.

Was it written by someone who felt they had been slighted by Gilbert before? The chef world can be pretty catty and competitive, and Dave has done pretty well for himself graduating from his Chef de Cuisine position under Brian Polcyn at Forest Grill to opening his own place in Grosse Pointe. Was the poster who planted this seed in my brain somehow involved, knowing I would seize on it and spread it like wildfire? Shame on me for being so predictable, if so.

There is of course also the possibility that this is a real job posting for a real restaurant really opening in Grosse Pointe, though I most certainly hope not, for their sake.

Below is the full posting, as it will likely be deleted soon. I apologize to the Gilberts for the heart attacks I'm sure I caused them because that kind of flogging by public opinion is something NO ONE wants before they even open, and they did nothing to deserve it. So, give Marais a chance, and I apologize to both them and you, dear readers, for misleading you.

Captain's Assistant's (Grosse Pointe)

We are seeking qualified, motivated Captain's Assistant's for a new and exciting restaurant opening soon in The Village in Grosse Pointe. The Captain's Assistant will assist his/her Captain with all duties that encompass taking care of our patrons and guests. Delivering food tableside, beverage service, and bread service, crumbing, clearing, and setting up both guests and Captains for the next logical step in the dining experience. As the Captain guides the guests through the Menus, food, and wine, the back waiter will be ever present in making sure all is accounted for, on both sides of the table. Server and Patron. What follows here is a succinct description regarding the relationship you will have with your Captain.

The Art of Front and Back Waiter Systems

It takes two to tango, two to make a marriage work and two to ride a tandem bike. What does all this have to do with the front and back waiter system? Well, have you ever tried to ride a tandem bike? As in tango, marriage and the ever-frustrating tandem bike, someone has to take a back seat (you know it had to be said). In other words, someone has to cede his control to his partner. There is a certain amount of compromise for both people. I believe, and you may agree Servers, that the most successful of you are control freaks. You can admit it - it's actually ok to be a bit of a control freak in this business. It's your business! Someone had better be controlling it! Who better than you? Back to the tandem bike...if you have ever tried riding one, you know that the person in the back has to trust the "driver," knowing that she will be steering you and her on the bike path, through traffic and other sudden obstacles and foreign objects. If you're in the back, you can't see what she sees. You have to rely on her judgment and abilities to get you through whatever comes at you - unscathed.

If you're the back waiter, or the server assistant, it's kind of the same thing. The front server is selling, talking, maneuvering and guiding your guests to either a wonderful dining experience or a mad trek through back yards and across crazy busy intersections. All you can do is sit in the back, keep your balance and pedal assist your fearless leader through good and bad. And it is all based on the communication and direction you receive from your front waiter.

It sure is great to have a team of strong, confident and well-organized servers. Are they the best team for the front and back waiter system? That is the question. Someone has to cede his control to someone else. Understand that you don't give up total control. You can stop pedaling and demand that your driver tell you what the #$*&$%@ is going on. You can stop the flow of service by doing so; just so you know you have some control over the situation. So trust is an important issue here. Everyone's performance and income is reliant on the others to give the best service possible.

I expect that Ginger Rogers fully trusted Fred Astaire while dancing. Let's face it - he could have let her fall so many times! A back waiter has to trust that the front waiter can time her tables accordingly and not make him look like a fool when he brings the entrees out while guests are still eating clam chowder. Fred drops Ginger...Sylvia Server drives you through the busiest intersection in get the picture...

It boils down to communication and control from the front server. He has to be able to time the courses of all her tables efficiently. The server assistant will try to combine his steps and courses based on the information given to maximize the efficiency the front waiter has established. A very graceful dance indeed.

Back (way back - almost the dark ages) when I was starting out in the fine dining world, I was a back waiter, of course. We didn't really have bussers; therefore, back waiters were sort of glorified bussers. I didn't mind; I was learning from the older, more experienced servers and had a great time because of it! I agreed to cede my total control to someone else and stuffed a sock in my ego's big mouth. I was usually back waiter to a server named David. David was from Iran and had a wonderful accent that people just loved to listen to. We made GREAT money because he was good at what he did - and he used his accent as a tool - always use what you have to your advantage!

Eventually we began alternating front and back waiter positions. No one minded because we worked as a team and made great money together. In fact, it can become a real treat to be the back waiter if you truly trust your front waiter.

I watched, listened and followed the examples set by the other waiters. They took me under their collective wing and made sure I was as good as they were. By being a back waiter, I understood the organization and preparation necessary to be successful on the floor. It helped me be a better front waiter when it came time for me to step into that role. I understood what I was leading and how to steer better. We all knew our primary duties; we all knew when it was necessary to get off the bike and switch seats. I credit that team of professionals for some of my best training and skills. In short, a great front and back waiter team can create a smooth ride through a beautiful park or perform a graceful tango together without tripping and create a seamless dining experience for their guests.

Excellence is an act won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather we have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.
 - Aristotle

What we seek are foodies with a desire to work in what will certainly be one of the, if not the best restaurant in Michigan. We all take our work seriously; we give 100% and accept nothing less in return. You will be in contact with many talented people that at are at the highest level of service in both food and wine. This is also a great opportunity for a server who is looking to gain fine dining experience. This is the same style of service used at The French Laundry in Napa Valley.

If this seems like something you would be interested in pursuing, please respond with your resume, and full contact information.

Experience is most certainly welcomed, that said, we are willing to look at self-motivated people, with a passion for food, wine and exemplary service. Must be available weekends.

We thank you for your interest, and look forward to hearing from you soon.
  • Location: Grosse Pointe
  • Compensation: Hourly Plus Tips, 401K, Family meal provided daily
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

[NEWS BITES] New chef, new menu, new owners at Union Street

Here is a press release about Union Street. No need for me to rearrange the words in different order and call it a unique post. Here y'go.

Union Street Detroit, a longtime mainstay of over 25 years in Midtown welcomes a new chef, a new menu, and new owners.

Big Changes
The most significant of the changes is the hiring of a young, new executive chef. David Hubbard Jr. is educated in some of the most respected local kitchens, including Coach Insignia, No. VI Chophouse, The Rugby Grille, and the Grill at the Ritz-Carlton Dearborn.
His new menu will debut on October 1, 2013. David's new menu will reward the restaurant's long-established clientele with an artistic culinary approach, while keeping some of the popular cult classics. Don't worry, the Dragon Eggs that Union Street is known for will remain. Some highlights from the new menu include shucked oysters, lobster lollipops, sticky bacon, deviled eggs, artisan pizzas du jour, and fish tacos. He will pay homage to the finer points of the past while embracing the “new” with a very pointed vision for Union Street's future.

Union Street has also added a new Catering Director. Rhonda Richter has developed and expanded catering options with a hands-on approach towards creating a truly personalized catering experience.

Union Street catering has been extremely popular around metropolitan Detroit over the past few years, and with Rhonda they'll take it to the next level.

New OwnersSince the 1930s, 4145 Woodward Avenue has been a community social hub in Midtown Detroit. In 2012, Ginger and George Barris purchased the iconic establishment and are moving it into the future while embracing the classic American sensibilities of its past.

Ginger Barris is a 20-year veteran in the bar/restaurant industry. Worth noting is that her entire career has taken place in the neighborhood of Midtown. Ginger was a well-known and respected manager and bartender at the Majestic Theatre Center, and later at Union Street. She brings a good sense of community tradition, along with a passionate eye for the future.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

[Model D] Detroit Vegan Soul celebrates grand opening in West Village this Saturday

Scrambled Tofu, Polenta Cheez Grits, Red skin potatoes, vegan sausage, and sprouted cinnamon raisin toast from Detroit Vegan Soul

2012 Hatch Detroit finalists Detroit Vegan Soul will celebrate a grand opening in its new space in West Village at 8029 Agnes St. this Saturday, Sept. 28.

After starting out with a vegan meal delivery and catering service, Kirtsen Ussery and Erika Boyd realized that there is a real demand for homemade vegan comfort food in Detroit. Both vegan themselves, they started veganizing their family recipes and found that people really loved it.

Read more.

[Metromode] Distilling the Greatness of Michigan-Made Spirits

Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Thanks to the growth in the craft beer industry and craft cocktail culture, the craft distilling industry has been growing exponentially in recent years, from barely two dozen microdistillers across the country in 2000 to over 250 in 2012, with dozens more currently seeking federal licensing. Michigan alone has over 30 licensed craft distillers with more in the works, including several in metro Detroit. There is also a Michigan Distillers Guild in the early planning stages, mirroring itself after the Michigan Brewers Guild to be an advocacy group for Michigan's microdistillers.

Read more.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

~Rock City Eatery is now open! They will have a limited menu and hours during their soft opening period, so be patient. Once they're firing at 100% the menu will include items like duck rilette sandwiches, charcoal-grilled beef tongue skewers, pork "fries" with togarashi, and bone marrow fritters, with plenty of vegetarian options like roasted brussels sprouts with Thai basil and smoked tomatoes, and grilled heirloom carrots with fast-pickled apples and goat cheese. [EID]
~Dine Drink Detroit, Ferndale Restaurant Week, Hamtramck Food Week, Revolve Detroit's Art + Retail on the Ave in conjunction with Detroit Design Festival's Light Up Livernois, expanded Detroit Restaurant Week and bunches of new restaurants opening: yeah, this fall kicks all other falls' asses. [EID]
~The Two James Spirits tasting room is now open with limited hours, but you can find their 28 Island Vodka in stores and on the shelves of local favorites like SLOWS BAR BQ, The Sugar House, and Michael Symon's Roast - Detroit. You can also buy bottles directly from the tasting room. [Model D]
~Interested in the growing craft spirits movement happening in metro Detroit? Here I talk in-depth with folks from Valentine Distilling Co., Griffin Claw Brewing Company (GCBC), Two James Spirits and Detroit City Distillery about craft spirits as part of the local foods movement and how recent changes in the laws governing microdistillers have allowed them to flourish. [Metromode]
~Better mark Eastern Market After Dark on your calendar for next year. [EID]

Get your taste of Hamtown with the new Hamtramck Food Week starting today: 10 restaurants with dinners priced at $10 or less and a host of other coordinating events. [Model D]

The new ballroom at COBO Center is now open and it's spectacular. Want to see it for yourself? Sign up for the Crain's Detroit Business House Party this Thursday, which includes an afterparty inside the new ballroom (with strolling dinner and open bar). Registration closes today. [The Detroit Hub / Crain's]

Public House is also now open for all your rock and bao roll needs north of 8 Mile. [Real Detroit]

Ben Hall and Jason Murphy, owners of Russell Street Deli, are opening a new restaurant on the outskirts of Corktown this spring called Lafayette Kitchen and Diner. [Crain's]

Excellent article about a book about supper clubs - The Supper Club Book - and about Detroit's own historic supper club, Cliff Bell's. Join them for Detroit Restaurant Week going on now through September 29. [Detroit News]

Celebrate the Garden Bowl and Lounge's centennial Dude-style on September 28. [Detroit News]

Here is an example of the powers of media being used for good: Bedrock (parent company of Quicken) has dropped the eviction notice against Angelina Italian Bistro after word spread through the media and Bedrock received a good public social media shaming. [Freep]

Yates Cider Mill is 150 years old this year and it's officially CIDER SEASON! [Yates Official]

Crain's Detroit Business takes a look at how area cider mills are diversifying after 2012's apple crop devastation, including a new cider house and winery at Blake's Cider Mill, expanded offerings at Paint Creek Cider Mill, and a brewery, winery, and distillery in the works at Miller's Big Red. [Crain's]

It is now officially fall. And that means pumpkin EVERYTHING - including Pumpkin Pie a la Mode ice cream from Guernsey Farms Dairy. [Guernsey Official]

Here's why the annual Tour de Troit is more than just a bike ride. If you missed it this year, better mark that one on your calendar for next year too. [Model D]

~This video from Founder's should give you an attack of the eye-watering "allergies."

~Speaking of Founders Brewing Co., Thrillist named the best breweries in each state and Founders was named the best in Michigan. [Thrillist]

~On their search for Michigan's best brewery, MLive paid a visit to Warren's newest brewery Falling Down Beer Co. Here's more about it. [MLive]

~Who makes one of the best pumpkin beers in the country according to Complex Magazine? Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, of course! (As is to be expected.) [Complex]

~Detroit Beer Company celebrated their 10-year anniversary this weekend. [DBC FB]

~One woman's experience surviving Whole Foods. Namaste. "Next I see the gluten-free section filled with crackers and bread made from various wheat-substitutes such as cardboard and sawdust. I skip this isle because I'm not rich enough to have dietary restrictions." [HuffPo]

~I want to hang out with these kids. [Death + Taxes]

~Chipotle Mexican Grill wins. [Gawker]

Friday, September 20, 2013

[HOT LIST] Fall events

Not all falls are created equally. And this fall is about to put all other falls to shame. From spankin' new events to expanded old events, bon vivants have plenty of opportunities for dining and drinking in the coming weeks. Here are the highlights.

#1 Dine Drink Detroit October 10-16
In the afterglow of the grand dame of Detroit dining events, Detroit Restaurant Week, check out the brand-new Dine Drink Detroit. If the comparison had to be made, DDD is DRW's scrappy DIY cousin. And that suits these particular Detroit joints. Thirteen of Detroit's most interesting bars and restaurants that don't really fall into the realm of "fine dining" (as in, $32 a plate) will offer food and drink pairings for $15 each, no reservations necessary. Follow them on InstaBookEr via the hashtag #DineDrinkDetroit. Participating restaurants are: El Barzon, Great Lakes, Green Dot, Mercury Burger Bar, MotorCity Wine, Mudgie's, Ottava Via, Rodin, Slows, St. Cece's, Sugar House, Traffic Jam, Woodbridge Pub.

#2 Ferndale Restaurant Week October 7-13
Also hot on the heels of Detroit Restaurant Week is Ferndale Restaurant Week, a new effort by the Ferndale DDA chaired by Beth Hussey, co-owner of One-Eyed Betty's. It was important to Hussey to create the kind of event in which ALL Ferndale restaurants could participate, everyone from Treat Dreams and Easy Like Sundae to Assagi Bistro and Local Kitchen + Bar. So Ferndale Restaurant Week has options for breakfast, lunch and dinner in $10, $20, and $30 increments. Check out the very cool website to see the full list of 24 participating venues and what they will be offering, including the brand-new Public House, which just so happens to be opening to the public at 5 p.m. today.

#3 Hamtramck Food Week September 23-28
So hot on the heels of Detroit Restaurant Week it's actually happening at the same time, the first-ever Hamtramck Food Week, which starts on Monday, features ethnic cooking demonstrations, food history tours and tours of Hamtown Farms and Srodek's, a pop-up biergarten, as well as $10 dinners at participating restaurants. Plus, both Rock City Eatery and (revolver) will be open just in time!

#4 REVOLVE Detroit Art + Retail on the Avenue
REVOLVE Detroit's new Art + Retail on the Avenue makes its debut tonight as part of the Detroit Design Festival's Light Up Livernois event. Art + Retail on the Avenue includes four new permanent retailers, eight pop-up concepts, nine art projects, and additional programming and events. Check out the new Local Social Ice Cream + Good Cakes and Bakes, a combination ice cream shop and bakery, and Regal Cafe, a coffee shop and arts space, as part of the new permanent retailers on the Ave. Pop-ups include the Fresh Food Co-op with food from known pop-up food businesses the Batata Shop, Treats by Angelique, Beautiful Soup and Fresh Corner Cafe; True Indulgence, a specialty bakery; anf Fill-Anthropy, a pop-up nonprofit bar.

#5 Detroit Restaurant Week September 20-29
Since launching in 2009, DRW is still the grand dame of Detroit dining events. Add-ons this year include Jefferson House and Guns + Butter, and all the old favorites are returning. As always, prime time reservations fill up quickly, so make your reservations now or plan your outing mid-week to secure your spot.

Bubbling under Detroit Beer Week October 17-27 (events will be announced soon), Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival October 25-26 (Saturday is sold out; Friday tickets still available);  Theatre Bizarre: The Procession October 18-19 (for the first time ever, Theatre Bizarre is hosting a Preview Gala the night before the main event, masks required; if you purchase tickets to both events, you will also receive a limited-edition signed and number giclee print from Theatre Bizarre artist John Dunivant entitled "Edgar Balloon" from his Expatriate Parade series)