While already an attraction for old-school favorites like Loui’s Pizza, the city of Hazel Park has gained fresh attention over the past two years with the introduction of a new meadery, Cellarmen’s, and one of the most prominent new restaurants in the country, Mabel Gray. Now, metro Detroit’s unlikely dining hotspot is gaining yet another exciting, new recruit with the opening of Joebar.
First announced last summer (alongside a new Mabel Gray spin-off ice cream shack across the street), owner Joe Vaughn has kept relatively quiet about the project located on the same block as Mabel Gray, with limited sneak peeks on social media. Today, the restaurant and bar confirmed to the Detroit Free Press that it will open its doors to the public on March 15. Here are seven things to know about this casual spot on John R.
1. On the owner: Metro Detroit-based photographer Joe Vaughn is a first-time restaurant owner but has lots of connections to the food and beverage industry through his work (he’s worked with Mario Batali, Zingerman’s, and Coca-Cola just to name a few). Vaughn spotted the 3,500-square-foot building after taking photos for Mabel Gray and purchased it in 2015.
2. About the team: In many ways Joebar is a collaboration with Mabel Gray. In addition to being very near to one another, chef Courtney Witter previously worked as a line cook at Mabel Gray and Mabel’s bar manager Paul Fradeneck consulted on the beverage program.
3. About the name: While “Joe” is conveniently the same name as the proprietor, the moniker Joebar is meant to reflect “the average joe,” casual nature of the restaurant according to Joe Vaughn.
4. On the menu: French dip is getting a deep dive on chef Courtney Witter’s menu. Expect grilled cheese with “bloody mary tomato soup”; a “joedip” served on a weck roll, prime rib, caramelized onions and house horseradish and au jus; and banh mi with pho for dipping. Also look out for buttermilk fried pickles, honey garlic chicken wings, elephant ears, and chocolate cream pie.
The "good morning Vietnam" arrives on Wednesday 3/15 at joebar. BBQ Farm Field Pork-loin rubbed with House blend of Vietnamese Spices, seared, shaved and finished on the grill with a ginger and soy bbq sauce. Topped with House Pickled Vegetables, Jalapeño, Cilantro, Bean Sprouts, Thai Basil Add Pork Fat Mayo and a Fried Duck Egg surrounded by a daily baked Hoagie Roll. Dip in pho broth and you are good to go. #joebar #goodmorningvietnam #hazelpark #joevaughn #dipsandwich @joebar #hzpk #vietnamesefood
5. The drinks: Billed as a “communal drinking” destination on its website, Joebar’s beverage menu will feature affordable cocktails and beer in large-format servings. Miller High Life for example is available by the glass or in a $64-ounce glass milk jug.
6. About the design: Joe Vaughn tapped Ron & Roman to design the space which features murals by artist Glenn Barr; a bowling alley wood bar; two, 10-seat communal tables; as well as booths and two-tops. The restaurant also has an outdoor patio. The sign was salvaged from an iconic bar in Pennsylvania.
7. Another project is on the way: Cozying up in the Joebar space, Revolver founder Peter Dalinowski is apparently introducing a new project dubbed Frame. Details on that project are expected to be announced on Tuesday.
• All Eater Tracking [ED]