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Belle Isle Park Is Hunting for a Resident Food Truck

Plus, a new Middle Eastern and Indian restaurant is in the works in Hamtramck

Michelle and Chris Gerard

Can’t get enough Detroit restaurant intel? The EaterWire is your guide to all the food industry news hits you may have missed.

February 27

MEALS ON WHEELS — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is on the hunt for a food truck to feed visitors on Belle Isle. The season would begin in April. Mobile restaurant operators would be allowed to schedule events in the park’s food court area. People interested in submitting a bid should attend one of two meetings hosted at the Kid’s Row building on Belle Isle from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on March 12. The bids (details here) are required to be submitted by 2 p.m. on March 22.[WDIV]

EXPANSIONS — Al-Haramain International Foods in Hamtramck is plotting a major expansion. The market is adding a new location at 9329 Joseph Campau with more standard American grocery options and expanding into the second floor of its original market. Additionally Al-Haramain’s owner is devoting a portion of the square footage in the original location to a new Middle Eastern and Indian restaurant. [Metro Times]

BEER HERE — Batch Brewing Company is now offering a Wednesday special dubbed Franks n’ Steins featuring $5 Oktoberfest Batch Brauerei stein refills, and footlong frankfurters. The brewery will also be screening old horror movies. [Facebook]

EXPANSIONS — Coriander Kitchen and Farm is moving into the next phase of building their Jefferson Chalmers-based cafe and bar. Founders Gwen Meyer and chef Alison Heeres launched a Kiva Loan crowdfunding campaign this week to build out their cold kitchen and bar. [EaterWire]

ANN ARBOR — Zingerman’s Coffee Company hosted a grand reopening last week. The updated space features a “cupping lab” for experimenting with new brews, a toast bar, and additional seating. [EaterWire]

COMING ATTRACTIONS — A new Mexican restaurant called Sin Paredes appears to be in the works in Ferndale. [Metro Times]

THE CHAINS — Fast food chain Checkers & Rallys is bringing 59 more locations to Southeast Michigan over the next 10 years. The company is targeting Pontiac, Flint, Ann Arbor, Southgate, West Bloomfield Township, and Monroe. [Crain’s]

DEVELOPMENTS — Downtown Auburn Hills is getting a new four-story building with lofts and a restaurant. The development and architecture firm Designhaus is currently in talks with potential operators to open an American restaurant with cocktails. [Crain’s]

February 20

EXPANSIONS — Customers can now take advantage of Ima’s spiffy new all-season patio expansion. The heated space features several picnic tables for slurping noodles and is available for large group reservations and buyouts. Additionally, chef Mike Ransom’s Asian-influenced eatery plans to start opening on Mondays come March 5 with industry specials for restaurant, bar, and hospitality employees as well as barbers and hairstylists. Customers can also check out the restaurant’s happy hour specials from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday including $2 house junmai sake carafes, $2 cans of Tecate, and $2 snack menu items. [EaterWire]

AWARDS SEASON — Hour Detroit’s reigning critic Chris Cook has named Parc in Campus Martius his 2018 Restaurant of the Year. “It will become an institution that continues to evolve and evoke that sense of place,” Cook says. “The combination of charm, very good food, and a dazzling location all make Parc a great experience.” [EaterWire]

COMING ATTRACTIONS — The Hotel St. Regis in New Center is getting a facelift with help from its new owners Invictus Equity Group. Among the updates, Invictus plans to renovate La Musique restaurant and add a new bar. [Crain’s]

BEER HERE — Mainstream brewery Stroh’s (owned by Pabst) is preparing to launch a new IPA called Perseverance. It’s apparently still in development. [Crain’s]

DOH CHRONICLES — Southeast Michigan’s epidemic of hepatitis A is once again in the news, this time in relation to an employee at a Red Lobster in Novi. Customers who ate at the restaurant located at 27700 Novi Rd between January 14 and February 14, should consult a physician about getting a vaccination. [Detroit News]

NEWS — A family that ate at a Burger King in Southgate claims that one of the TVs at the restaurant was tuned into an R-rated sex scene. The parents were not amused. [WDIC]

IDK — Mallie’s Sports Grill in Southgate — home of really big food — has unveiled a new (possibly record-setting) pizza. It measured 72 inches-by-72 inches and was delivered by truck to a family of four. [MLive]

DEVELOPMENTS — A development in West Dearborn called Wagner Place is expected to house between six and seven different restaurants and businesses. [Crain’s]

RUMORMONGERING — If the Detroit City Council likes the proposal, an Albert Kahn-designed building at 640 Temple St. could become a new boutique hotel featuring a live music venue and a first-floor restaurant. [Crain’s]

TEMPORARY SHUTTERS — Brooklyn Street Local temporarily closed this week for a break and some “decor updates.” It’s expected to return from winter hibernation on March 2. [Instagram]

Don't forget, today is the last day to get poutine until March!

A post shared by Brooklyn Street Local (@brooklynstreetlocal) on

February 13

EXPANSIONS — Ten-year-old Ferndale-based spirits operation Valentine Distilling Co. is plotting a $1 million production expansion with the addition of a 1,500-gallon still imported from Italian distillation company Frilli. It will have the capacity to produce 1,000 barrels of whiskey each year with the first round being ready for bottling in 2023. This is the latest expansion for the distillery which operates a cocktail bar in Ferndale and moved its operations into a 15,000-square-foot warehouse in the city in 2016. [EaterWire]

COMING ATTRACTIONS — Olympia Development reveals sparse details about another development within the so-called District Detroit (Cass Corridor) on Thursday. Columbia Street is expected to feature “nearly 40,000 square feet of new retail and will feature a variety of dining options among several restaurants as well as a European-style promenade boasting Cobblestone paving, festoon lights, and al fresco dining space.” The first round of tenants are expected to open sometime in 2018 but Olympia is still accepting inquiries about leasing. The number of restaurants included in the project hasn’t been confirmed. [EaterWire]

A rendering of Columbia Street in The District Detroit.
Olympia Development [Official image]

AWARDS SEASON — Restaurant critic Mark Kurlyandchik is counting down his top 10 best new restaurants of the year this week. He also unveiled two new awards this year: Restaurant of the Year Classic and the Sylvia Rector Lifetime Achievement Award for Hospitality (honoring Kurlyandchik’s predecessor who died in 2016). Phoenicia in Birmingham and its longtime operator Sameer Eid clinched both awards. The Restaurant of the Year will be announced on Friday, February 16. [Freep]

STUNTS — The Wurst Bar in Ypsilanti is getting in on the decidedly bizarre Tide Pod meme by unveiling a new cocktail called the Tide Pod Slammer. It features a layer of Bols orange curacao topped with heavy cream, and blue-dyed Absolut mandarin-flavored vodka float on top. [MLive]

LAWSUITS — A metro Detroit Roasting Plant franchisee Mike Shehadi is suing the New York-base company along with its CEO and chief sales and marketing officer for $9.5 million alleging fraud. Shehadi claims the company misrepresented profit projections for the cafes (he owns two locations in Ann Arbor and Dearborn Heights and owns the rights to open two more locations in Southfield and Dearborn). Attorneys for the Roasting Plant call the claims “frivolous and without merit.” [Arab American News]

THE CHAINS — A new 7,000-square-foot Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse is heading to the Northville Village Center in fall 2018. [DBiz]

February 6

BRUNCHWIRE — Batch Brewing Company is marking its three-year anniversary on February 11 with the release of two new beers — a double IPA called Batch 300 and a milkshake stout called HQ2 made in collaboration with Windsor’s Motor Craft Ales. However, the most exciting development is perhaps the new brunch menu at the brewery, which features items like pork belly benedict biscuits, vegetarian breakfast pasties, and maple praline french toast bread pudding. Service runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. [EaterWire]

EXPANSIONS — New York-based chain The Hummus & Pita Co. is plotting a Michigan invasion with five franchises slated to land in Detroit, Ann Arbor, Troy, Warren, and Canton. The fast-casual restaurants serve Mediterranean-inspired dishes including Moroccan beans, couscous, and “dessert hummus” in flavors like chocolate and cookie dough. Locations in Troy and downtown Detroit are slated to open in June. [EaterWire/DBiz]

POP-UPS — Retail shop Nora (4240 Cass Ave.) in Cass Corridor is hosting a pop-up on February 10 featuring Guilt Chocolates, a local confectionery startup that makes super sleek and glossy bonbons. Guilt will be selling nine-piece chocolate boxes for $27 a piece starting at 10 a.m. [EaterWire]

NEWS — Beans & Cornbread in Southfield is offering soul food in a shoebox in honor of Black History Month. The boxes are a reminder that African Americans were often refused service in the past while traveling due to segregation and were forced to cary lunch in a shoebox. The restaurant boxes cost $1 and are covered in black history facts. Proceeds will be donated to a youth program in Detroit. [WXYZ]

BEER HERE — Axle Brewing Co. in Ferndale is releasing its first-ever barrel-aged beer — an imperial stout called Wolf Tone aged in bourbon barrels. The official release is scheduled for 3 p.m. on February 10. [EaterWire]

January 30

BOOZE NEWSDetroit City Distillery is continuing its growth with more distribution and the opening of The Whiskey Factory event venue at the former Stroh’s Ice Cream building on Gratiot Avenue. Later this year, the distillery will begin pushing the brand in Chicago, the first market outside of Michigan, other than online sales. [Crain’s]

TOP CHEFFAGEBravo’s Top Chef will be in town Thursday as part of the cooking show’s nationwide casting call for season 16. Reps for the production will be at Mabel Gray (23825 John R Road, Hazel Park) 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Those interested in auditioning can set up an appointment by emailing [Freep]

THE SHUTTER — Michigan-based Bagger Dave’s has closed five of its 15 locations in January, citing “industry pressures.” Affected locations are in Canton Township, Shelby Township, East Lansing, Knapp’s Corner and Traverse City. These most recent shutters follow several closures in 2017. []

EXPANSIONSDROUGHT, the organic, cold-pressed juice-maker is adding business solutions to its repertoire. Under the name DROUGHT Solutions, enterprises of any industry can seek the firm for consulting services. Also on the horizon, the sister-owned juice company is gearing up to open a new 15,000-square-foot production kitchen in Berkley. [EaterWire]

AWARD SEASON — Former Roma Café owner Janet Sossi Belcoure has been give a top honor by the National Restaurant Association with a Distinguished Service Award. Sossi Belcoure was a third-generation owner of the old-school Italian eatery for the past three decades before she closed the restaurant last summer and transferred ownership to Chef Guy Perino, who’s since reopened the spot as Amore Da Roma. [EaterWire]

January 23

BOOZE NEWS — Blake’s Orchard is now keeping the doors open year-round in Armada for those who need their fresh cider and doughnut fix beyond the fall. The tasting room, which pours Blake’s Hard Cider will also be open offering dinner, wine, craft beer, and Sunday brunch. In addition to the new hours, Blake’s is also expanding distribution to three more states — Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. [EaterWire]

EXPANSIONS — Fast-casual Italian chain Fazoli’s is invading Michigan’s borders this year with new outlets in Monroe, Jackson, and Lansing. Other locations are also in the works throughout metro Detroit. The chain serves up options like baked lasagna and chicken parmigiano as well as pizza, salads, pasta, and sub sandwiches. [DBiz]

COMEBACKS — Twisted Tavern in Ferndale is out and Boogie Fever Cafe & Disco is back in. The retro dance club, which closed in 2014 is making an official comeback on January 24 at 22901 Woodward Ave. with a few upgrades. [Metromode]

BEER HERE — Founders Brewing Company inched slightly ahead of Bell’s Brewery in its production for 2017 and is now considered Michigan’s largest brewery. Of course, Bell’s still technically holds the title for largest craft brewery, since Founders sold a 30 percent minority share to Spanish brewer Mahou San Miguel in 2014. [Freep]

NEWS — Brunch restaurant Le Petit Dejeuner is now dishing up breakfast for dinner on Wednesdays. The series kicked off on January 17 and runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. once a week at 6470 E. Jefferson Ave. [Facebook]

IDK — Behold the black-as-your-soul activated charcoal lattes at The Red Hook. [Instagram]

Activated Charcoal Lattes: available at both shops

A post shared by The Red Hook (@theredhookcoffee) on

January 16

SPORTS — The Detroit City Football Club unveiled plans today to takeover the former City Sports Center skating rink into an indoor soccer facility called Detroit City Fieldhouse. The new space is expected to eventually feature a full bar and kitchen as well as space for “athletically oriented start-up businesses.” [EaterWire/Curbed]

COMING ATTRACTIONS — Food activist and D-Town Farm founder Malik Yakini intends to finally break ground on a long-planned Detroit Food Commons complex in the city’s North End this year. The sprawling 30,000-square-foot project will feature a cooperatively owned market called Detroit People’s Food Co-op as well as a 50-seat restaurant, community meeting space, an incubator kitchen, and office space for the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. There are reportedly three local restaurateurs already interested in taking over the cafe space. The co-op is already signing on members-owners with a one-time $200 fee. For more details call 313-345-3663. [Model D]

DEVELOPMENTS — The new owners of The Jeffersonian apartments near the Detroit River are planning to give the building a spruce. In addition to renovating the apartments and lobby, the high rise will receive a ground floor restaurant and a cafe. [Curbed Detroit]

EXPANSIONS — Daily Dozen Doughnuts is prepping for another expansion — this time to Sterling Heights. The fried dough slinger currently operates outposts in Warren and Royal Oak. [Facebook]

BEER HERE — Arbor Brewing Company is switching its packaging from bottles to aluminum cans for all of its year-round and seasonal beers. The brand shakeup also comes with a fresh set of labels [EaterWire]

THE CRITICS — M Cantina in Dearborn isn’t giving into the reigning stereotype that Mexican food is cheap: The restaurant is now offering $60 tacos sold three at a time. The tacos are made with American Wagyu beef, Hudson Valley foie gras, Golden Osetra caviar, and black truffle shavings with ice plant leaves, Hawaiian salt, chile morita sauce, and roasted grasshoppers. Orders must be called in ahead of time. [Freep]

CAFFEINE NATION — Dearborn’s new destination for Yemeni coffee, Qahwah House, is highlighted in a new feature looking at the pricey beans, hard-to-get beans and the man behind the cafe Ibrahim Alhasbani. The owner says that the Trump administration’s travel ban has made it extremely difficult for him to see his family. [Freep]

BEER HERE — Axle Brewing Company in Ferndale is preparing to release a new beer in February dubbed the Very Stable Genius — a nod to a recent tweet by president Donald Trump. “The beer itself really defies conventional logic and rational explanation,” Axle Brewing president Dan Riley tells the Detroit News. “It’s like, really delicious, and it’s going to be huge, but also very limited. It’s one of the most powerful beers in the world, yet incredibly delicate, even fragile.” [Detroit News]

NEWS — Domino’s CEO Patrick Doyle has announced that he will be stepping down this summer. Stock market shares drop significantly following the news. Richard Allison who currently heads the international division of the Ann Arbor-based company has been tapped to take Doyle’s place at the helm of the massive pizza empire. [Detroit News]

January 8

COMING ATTRACTIONS — Julién Godman of Tonic & Juice is preparing to launch a year-long New Armenian Supper Club series at Revolver in Hamtramck. The vegetarian dinners will operate on a walk-in basis every other Tuesday with doors opening at 5 p.m. and dinner service running from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. beginning on January 16. The supper club is partially funded from a successful Kickstarter campaign Godman ran last spring. He eventually hopes to open an Armenian vegetarian cafe and herbal tea shop in Detroit. Revolver will continue to host its regular pop-up series on weekends. [EaterWire]

OPENINGS — Fishbone’s West is back in action in a renovated space in Southfield after closing in 2016. Customers can expect a new granite bar and signage as well as a massive 800-gallon saltwater aquarium. The menu will feature all the Fishbone’s classics including seafood, steaks, sushi, and a Creole menu. [Detroit News]

BRUNCHWIRE — Following up a successful fall opening, Corktown restaurant Lady of the House is preparing to launch brunch service from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on February 10. The service will run on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations with starting times at 11 a.m. through 12:30 p.m. are now being excepted online or by calling 313-818-0218. [Facebook]

NEWS — Ferndale’s celebrated meadery Schramm’s Mead is voluntarily recalling its Elderberry honey wine — released between September 30 and December 6 at the Nine Mile tasting room — after two customers reported having nausea and stomach upset after consuming the brew. Production of the product has been halted while the meadery conducts an investigation and testing in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Agriculture, according to a company statement. [Facebook]

ICONS — Not even a fire could stop Capers’ owners from keeping the tradition of joicy steaks and massive baked potatoes alive. [Hour Detroit]

EXPANSIONS — Frankenmuth is saying so long to the former Healthy Habitz building (formerly the Bavarian Inn Lodge’s Schnitzelbank Shop) and saying hello to a brand new Frankenmuth Cheese Haus. [MLive]

NEWS — Como’s Restaurant recently went up for sale at the steep price of $4 million. Some developers predict that the site could eventually welcome a multi-story, mixed-use development. [Crain’s]

THE SHUTTER — Mitchell’s Fish Market’s Birmingham outpost permanently closed its doors on December 31 at the end of the restaurant’s lease. Willits Retail, LLC is reportedly seeking a new restaurateur to fill the space. [Oakland Press]

DOH CHRONICLES — As Southeast Michigan continues to face a public health crisis due to the spread of hepatitis A, restaurant-related incidents seem to be happening more frequently. In December officials began recommending that restaurant employees get vaccinated as a precautionary measure. While none of his workers have been diagnosed with hepatitis A, the owner of Mr. FoFo’s Otis Lee opted to take the advice of health officials. He’s making sure employees receive the shot to give customers peace of mind. [Michigan Radio]

THE CRITICS — Detroit Free Press critic Mark Kurlyandchik talks some of the best food in Detroit in 2018 with WDET’s Candice Fortman during a recent segment. Callers also chimed in with some of their favorite spots. [WDET]

January 2

EXPANSIONS — Bigalora Wood-Fired Cucina is aiming for an early May debut in the former Box Bar building in Plymouth. The owners had also hoped to open an Arbor Brewing Co. location at the site, however challenges with the Plymouth liquor licensing process have put that plan on hold. The Box Bar closed on December 21 after 75 years of business. [Hometown Life]

COMING ATTRACTIONS — A new health food kitchen Cooking With Que is filling a space in New Center at 6529 Woodward Ave. Owner Que Broden currently operates her health food education business online but plans to offer classes in a demonstration kitchen at the brick-and-mortar business. The space will also have a retail section. [Crain’s]

SHIT PEOPLE STEAL — With its assortment of photos and nicknacks, Cafe d’Mongo’s Speakeasy is occasionally a target for thieves. On this occasion, owner Larry Mongo is calling out the customers that took a photo of Bix Beiderbecke off the wall. He’s offering a $500 reward for its return. [Facebook]

NEWS — Savvas Kazelas, the owner of Nick’s Gaslight in downtown Detroit, is resisting the city’s attempts to enforce an ordinance regarding large building signs, saying he doesn’t plan on removing the Piston’s billboard on his restaurant. “I’ve been downtown 40 years. They aren’t going to chase me out of town,” he says. Property owners receive rent for the signs as an additional source of income. The city will start handing out misdemeanor tickets and fines in January to those who don’t comply with the code. [Freep]

CH-CH-CHANGES — Beginning in January, on Friday and Saturday nights Takoi will start using its shipping container annex (aka The Green Room) as an overflow waiting room where guests can grab drinks and bar snacks. [EaterWire]

BEER HERE — Vice television series Beerland recently aired its Detroit episode featuring the Black Bottom Brewing Club. Check out the video below. [Vice]

All EaterWire Coverage [ED]

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