Can’t get enough Detroit restaurant intel? The EaterWire is your guide to all the food industry news hits you may have missed.
THE CHAINS — Prolific Japanese chain E.A.K. Ramen is reportedly considering an expansion to Detroit. E.A.K. trades in iekei ramen, a style that blends fatty pork-based tonkotsu broth with chicken and soy-based shoyu broth. The company launched its first U.S. location in Los Angeles last fall and opened a second outpost in New York this week. E.A.K. hopes to bring 1,000 restaurants to the U.S. in the next decade. [Eater NY]
EXPANSIONS — Multiple metro Detroit food businesses received financial awards from Quicken Loans during Detroit Demo Day last week to help improve their businesses. The winners included Recovery Park Farms, Eli Tea, The Farmer’s Hand, Social Sushi, and Good Cakes and Bakes. [Crain’s]
THE CRITICS — Mark Kurlyandchik recently recounted some of his most “memorable bites” from his first year working as Detroit Free Press restaurant critic. Among the biggest takeaways: The locavore movement needs to include hiring.
The quick influx of new restaurants to the city has led to a widespread staffing shortage. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in Detroit hovers around double digits, more than twice the national figure.
At the same time, it doesn’t take a critic to notice the stark racial divide in the staffs of many of Detroit’s hottest new restaurants. In a city that’s more than 80% black, African Americans are often underrepresented, particularly in highly visible front-of-house roles or at the top levels of the kitchen brigade.
Interestingly, similar observations were being made over at Crain’s in Mary Kramer’s business column. Among others, Kramer spoke with Dave Kwiatkowski of the Detroit Optimist Society restaurant group who lamented the lack of “a local asset for hospitality training.” One suggestion from the peanut gallery: collaborate with COLORS Detroit. This full-service restaurant works in concert with the Restaurant Opportunities Center to train staff in front- and back-of-house hospitality skills. [Freep/Crain’s]
EXPANSIONS — Year-round farmers market, Argus Farm Stop, is expanding to a second location in Ann Arbor. The shop announced on Wednesday that it would bring a new outpost to 1200 Packard Road. The company is currently seeking donations to help fund the expansion. [Facebook]
FOOD MEDIA — Reporter Priya Krishna highlights the 38-year history of Dearborn bakery icon Shatila in a piece for Bon Appetit. The author credits the pastry outlet with making the “best baklava I’ve ever had.” [Bon Appetit]