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Citing Labor Shortages, Pepino’s Restaurant Shuts After Nearly 40 Years

Plus, new Detroit bakery remains closed after COVID case and other dining news

A blue sign that reads “Sorry, we’re closed” hangs in a restaurant window. Shutterstock

Pepino’s Restaurant in Oakland County is closing after 37 years in business. The restaurant announced its ending on its social media account.

“We weren’t expecting it so soon, but everything has an ending. Pepino’s, after almost 38 years will be saying goodbye to all her friends, family, and especially staff. It was a great run. She made so many beautiful friends, saw first dates, engagements, new babies, and goodbyes. She was with us all while we danced to music, sang Happy Birthday to our loved ones, and enjoyed gathering with our families. She couldn’t ask for more, loaded with ‘remember when’s’,” the social media post read.

Co-owner Kathy Morely tells The Detroit News the family is calling it quits because they can’t find employees.

“It’s staffing, definitely, 100 percent,” she said in an interview. “We’ve been trying for eight months to get staffing and it just kept getting worse and worse and worse because we have people that are retiring; I have some people who are having surgery who are going to be off for six months.”

Swiss chef Joe Bernardi and his wife, Helma, opened its first restaurant in Walled Lake in 1984, according to the restaurant’s website. Bernardi, a World War II veteran, had been tasked with cooking for the troops during his time in the Army. He was also known as the executive chef for Henry Ford and Lee Iacocca.

The family-owned restaurant served steak, pasta, veal, seafood, and salad, and was known for its rainbow trout and chargrilled lamb chops.

A fire destroyed the restaurant in 2015, so Pepino’s moved to Sylvan Lake.

The store had closed temporarily due to COVID-19 earlier this year.

Estella’s remains closed over COVID diagnosis

Estella’s Vegan Cuisine and Desserts will remain closed this week as owner Chantele Jones recovers from COVID-19. The city’s first all-vegan bakery opened to a sellout crowd that had lines outside the North Rosedale Park building on Sunday, October 17.

Jones posted on social media accounts that she tested positive for the coronavirus. The bakery will be closed until Friday, November 5.

French restaurant, bar planned for Brush Park

Bar Pigalle, a restaurant and bar that says it will offer high-quality French-inspired food and drinks, will open in Brush Park this winter. The restaurant will be tucked inside the historic Carlton Lofts.

Don’t expect any pretenses, co-owner Travis Fourmont says. The restaurant will be a nod to the city’s and the neighborhood’s French roots, says Fourmont, an award-winning mixologist who has developed many bar programs at restaurants around the city. He and partner, the sommelier Joseph Allerton, met a decade ago while working at Michael Symon’s Roast in Detroit.

Dishes will nod to French recipes and also draw from the experiences of the chef, Mike Conrad. “I’m pulling from the classics but I’m using everything I have in my toolbox to make it our own,” Conrad says in a news release. The chef most recently ran the kitchen at now-defunct Core City restaurant Magnet.

Bar Pigalle could open as soon as January at 2915 John R. in downtown Detroit. Learn more on the restaurant’s website.

Oakland County restaurants back antihate fundraiser

Five Oakland County restaurants are backing a new fundraiser for the Anti-Defamation League of Michigan.

Take a Bite Out of Hate is set for Thursday, November 4, with the restaurants donating a portion of their sales to ADL Michigan. Funds raised will aid the ADL in addressing antisemitism and hate of all kinds, according to a news release.

The organization is asking people to dine in/carry out from these restaurants and mention that they are supporting the Take a Bite Out for Hate event.

Participating restaurants are Forest Grill in Birmingham, Great Lakes Pot Pies in Clawson, Otus Supply in Ferndale, Stage Deli in West Bloomfield Township, and Zao Jun New Asian and Sushi in Bloomfield Hills.

Pepino’s restaurant in Sylvan Lake closes because of a lack of staff [The Detroit News]