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Dearborn builds splash pad as family amenity

The city of Dearborn is installing a splash pad and spray park on the east side of the city, giving current residents a free and fun activity and potential residents an amenity that might make Dearborn a good place to call home.

Construction on the splash pad at Hemlock Park is expected to begin this spring and opening day will come this summer, no later than the Fourth of July.

The splash pad will have two dozen shooting, squirting and spraying water features from colorful shapes. A 20-foot umbrella will stand near the splash pad as will six park benches. A decorative iron fence will surround it all.

Vortex Midwest out of Williamston, MI will build the splash pad. The city plans to add a splash pad to west Dearborn in the future as planners look for ways to add aquatic recreation to city amenities.

"We’re pleased to add the splash pad to our recreational options," says in a statement announcing the splash pad construction, " and know that families, especially those with young children, will find it a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon."

Source: city of Dearborn
Writer: Kim North Shine

Revolver restaurant in Hamtramck thrives on revolving chef concept

The owners of revolver saw promise in melding the concept of table d'hôte -- a set, pre-selected menu at a fixed price - with up-and-coming chefs, a belief in using locally sourced food and a desire to build a community around it all. And in just under six months, they are seeing their vision catch on.

Tunde Wey, who with Peter Dalinowski opened revolver at 9737 Joseph Campau in Hamtramck in September, says revolver will be adding to its list of revolving chefs and opening more days for its reservation-only seatings.

Instead of serving dinner only on Fridays and every other Saturday, revolver will also be open every Saturday and some Sundays.

"We want to grow with demand naturally as opposed to trying to force it,"  says Wey, who describes revolver and the chefs he and Dalinowski select to prepare the day's meal as "artisanal fare, handmade, farm-to-table with attention to detail. Typically the food is new American, he says, but guest chefs have also served Japanese sushi and Indonesian food.

"We're open to all kinds of food genres. But we want food that's approachable and comfortable," says Wey, who like Dalinowski is a self-taught chef and entrepreneur.

The pair wanted to go into the restaurant business and do it in a way that it spoke to things they care about: nurturing the cooking community, bringing people who love different food experiences together and operating in a socially responsible way.

"We've gotten tons of requests from chefs recently and we sell out our dinners," Wey says. "There are so many talented chefs and caterers here waiting to be discovered, and so many people out there who want to try their food first."

The restaurant has room for 36 guests per seating, but can go up to 40. Tables -- the four six-tops and one 12-top -- are seated so that guests often make new acquaintances in their dining companions.

"We have people making friends, getting phone numbers," says Wey. "We're hoping to facilitate a marriage one day."

Want to hear more thoughts from Wey on revolver? Check out his November 2013 blog post on Metromode's sister publication, Model D.

Source: Tunde Wey, revolver
Writer: Kim North Shine

Nom Nom's Cupcake Factory to add third shop & pizzeria in Detroit

After building a successful bakery in Westland and then Northville, Nom Nom's Cupcake Factory & Sweets Shoppe is taking its baked goodies to a third location, this one in Midtown Detroit. It's also building a pizza restaurant next door.

Nom Nom's Midtown is expected to open in late spring or early summer at 15 E. Kirby in Midtown, says Michelle Meador, project manager for LA Wier, which owns Nom Nom's, Rockstarz Karaoke Bar in Garden City and the future Detroit Pizza Co., which has no opening date set as the owners want to go slow with their first pizza restaurant. It will be located next door to Nom Nom's, within walking distance of some of Detroit's largest institutions.

They chose to expand from the suburbs to the city to be a part of the Midtown business boom, Meador says.

"We got a really great opportunity to go into that location and Detroit is just buzzing with entrepreneurship and new small businesses," she says. "We are excited to be a part of it."

Midtown draws customers from two of the city's largest employers: Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University. Wayne State students and employees and visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts are potential customers as well.

Detroit Pizza Co. will not "be just a fast food pizza. We want a slice of pizza that tastes great and is affordable, a good quality product at a great price…There's a little rumor we will have beer to go with your pizza."

"It's going to take us longer to do Detroit Pizza Co. because we've never done it before. The cupcake shop is pretty cookie cutter. We learned how to do it with our first location in Westland. The pizza place is very different and detailed…The amount of good, quality equipment, training a great staff, will be more intensive. We don't want to slap something together to make a quick buck. We want this to succeed just like Nom Nom's."

Nom Nom's is known for its fresh-baked favorites, such as booze cupcakes like Amaretto Sours and Irish Car Bomb, candy sweet treat cupcakes such as Butter Finger, Almond Joy and and Heath Bar, and soda pop and cheesecake flavors. It's a takeaway bakery as well as a thriving special-order business that makes different items, such as edible business cards.

Mother-daughter team Laura Wier and Jennifer Ryan have caught on in a short time with Nom Nom's. The Westland shop opened in April 2011. The Northville location launched in November 2013. In that time, it's also been voted "best cupcakes" for three years by readers of Real Detroit.

Source: Michelle Meador, project manager, LA Wier
Writer: Kim North Shine


The Bird & The Bread offers Euro-style, family-friendly eats in Birmingham



It was always a part of the plan for The Bird & The Bread to be a welcoming restaurant for families.

What was not as planned was the extent to which family would play into the charmingly-named, stunningly designed and decorated space where food described as modern Euro casual with an American twist is being brought to Birmingham by the owners and creators of Vinology in Ann Arbor and and Vinotecca in Royal Oak. The Bird & The Bread at 210 South Old Woodward opened for dinner Feb. 22 and will open for lunch March 25. It is connected to The ELM, a banquet room for about 150 guests that is under construction and will open March 18. Brunch will be served at The Bird & The Bread before Easter.

But back to the family ties. First, the restaurant name. It comes from the nicknames given to the twin 3-1/2-year-old children of the owners by their grandfather. One, the smaller girl with a cry more like a squawk, was dubbed The Bird. The heftier son was more like a dense loaf of bread and took his nickname from that.

Later, as the family thought up the name of their future restaurant that would serve more as a comfort food place than their wine-focused previous endeavors, the inclusion of bread, as in fresh-baked loaves, and bird, as in chicken, made sense. The whimsical nature of the name fit the family attitude and restaurant design, which includes an emphasis on environmentally sustainable construction and has a stave -- a room that feels like being inside a wine barrel.

"We agonized and agonized about the name of this restaurant because it's the first time for us not to do a vino concept," says co-owner Kristin Jonna, who grew up around good food and wine as the daughter of John Jonna, one of the founders of Merchant of Vino and former owner of Merchant's Fine Wine. She has traveled the world honing her craft -- wine and food -- and is known as one of Michigan's wine experts. The Jonnas also created Vinotecca inside the Bastone complex in downtown Royal Oak, and own and operate the successful Vinology in downtown Ann Arbor.

The departure from a fine-wine restaurant -- though the Bird & Bread will have a good selection -- was a response to something missing in Birmingham.

"Birmingham has done high end well. It didn't necessarily need more of that," Kristin Jonna says. "We felt what was untapped was a more a casual concept, more of an everyday family restaurant."

That should not imply that hot dogs and chicken fingers are on the menu, though executive chef Jim Leonardo, who is splitting his time between the new restaurant and Vinology, "is loving getting the chance to cook food he serves to his family," she says.

Further tying in the family connection, the grandfather's 30-year-old collection of cookbooks decorates The Bird & The Bread's walls and light fixtures in the space that's broken into comfy, homey rooms such as the nook and the stave and a restaurant entrance that welcomes diners with the warmth of a pizza oven and rotisserie.

The ELM banquet space, which has a simpler, elegant decor and a completely different food selection, is named after nephews Enzo and Luke and niece Maya, the children of Vincent Jonna, who's also in the family restaurant and wine business.

"We are just so excited and ready to go," says Jonna. "We want people to know, the families to know, we're here and want to share The Bird & The Bread with them."

Source: Kristin Jonna, co-owner, The Bird & The Bread
Writer: Kim North Shine

Grosse Pointe Park to build second city-run movie theater

The city of Grosse Pointe Park, in cooperation with a nonprofit community foundation, will build a second movie theater at the city park.

This theater will be added to the existing movie theater, which shows first-run films and is a draw for all five communities in the Pointes. Construction on the second screen, which will seat 60-65 people,  will begin this spring.

It is seen as one more way to satisfy locals used to two resident-only city parks that include a free ice rink and warming house, a splash pad and pool, fitness center, gyms and putting green -- amenities not often often found in other cities.

The Grosse Pointe Park Community Foundation is raising about $300,000 of the $450,000 cost to enlarge the theater.

Tax dollars will cover $75,000 and profits from the theater, which charges less than commercial theaters, will cover the rest.

Source: City of Grosse Pointe Park and Grosse Pointe Park Community Foundation
Writer: Kim North Shine

Kravings answering call for modern kosher carryout in Oak Park

After more than 40 years in business, Quality Kosher Catering is finding a new and different market for its food.

Daniel Kohn, the 28-year-old grandson of the founder, is part of that market -- the young Jewish community with an appetite for updated and creative Kosher food.

With that in mind, Kohn is overseeing the opening of the company's new takeout spot in Oak Park, Kravings. It's located at 25270 Greenfield Road and has a dining room that seats about 25. It has a grill, sushi bar and fully certified Kosher kitchen turning out traditional and contemporary Kosher meals.

Kravings' official grand opening is this week, but after a few weeks of what was supposed to be a soft opening Kohn says it's clearer than ever that the demand for more modern kosher food is high.

"The only bad thing since we've opened is how good the reception has been," says Kohn.

The idea to open Kravings came together about a year ago. Quality Kosher Catering, which started in Southfield in 1968 by Kohn's grandmother, is the exclusive caterer for the Congregation Shaarey Zedek synagogue in Southfield, but the vast majority of its business is outside the temple, across metro Detroit, says Kohn.

"It was a pretty spontaneous idea," he says. "It came up in the last year. It was about five months from the time we decided to do it to when we opened.

"Our business on its own started changing. A lot of clients who knew us and were comfortable with us and liked our food started calling for smaller orders. We were doing that from our catering location, but it was not ideal.

"In conjunction with that, Unique Kosher carryout, which had been around for about 25 years, was closing. The owner approached me and was planning on retiring and was looking to sell his business. So it was a combination of looking to solve a problem we were having and having the opportunity to purchase a great location."

At the same time the demands of local, young Jewish residents who had moved away and seen modern, trendy and different Kosher foods in other cities were looking for the same in metro Detroit.

"The Kosher community has changed a lot and evolved a lot, especially in the last 10 years," Kohn says. "A lot more people, young people, are moving back from Chicago, New York, and demanding something fresh, something more hip."

Sushi, brisket burgers, a quality steak and other grilled foods meet that demand. At the same time, Kravings wants to keep the traditionalists happy by serving Kosher staples.

Source: Daniel Kohn, general manager, Kravings
Writer: Kim North Shine

Ale Mary's to serve up craft suds in Royal Oak this spring

Tom's Oyster Bar in downtown Royal Oak is spinning off a new concept in Ale Mary's, which will give props to craft beer through a wide selection of brews and beer-influenced food.

Ale Mary's Craft Beer Hall will open in a renovated space formerly used as an extra dining area and party room by Tom's. Ale Mary's will take up about half the restaurant space, which covers two storefronts and will seat about 50-60 indoors and out, says general manager Justin Pries.

Remodeling is expected to be completed within a few weeks, in time for a spring opening, he says. Tom's and Ale Mary's will operate separately, including staffs and kitchens. Ale Mary's is in the heart of downtown Royal Oak, at 316 South Main St.

This Thursday, a master brewer from Grand Rapids' Perrin Brewing will host a beer-themed meal at Ale Mary's communal table, the first of several special craft beer knowledge dinners that will be a feature at Ale Mary's. The intimate dinner is for Ale Mary's founding members, investors who will be entitled to special privileges such as first dibs on limited-seating special events. A handful of founding memberships are still available, Pries says.

In addition, Ale Mary's has 20-30 craft beers on tap and about 100 bottled beers from around the world, Pries says.

Owners Nick and Heather Ritts are fans of craft beer -- the drink and the industry -- and want to be a part of it, says Pries. They, Pries and staff have been educating themselves through tastings, brewery visits and certification training. Heather is working on one of the highest certifications in craft beer service, and the Ale Mary's staff must be certified as at least Level 1 certified beer servers, he says.

"People know so much about the craft beers now or they're learning," says Pries. "It's now very similar to wine, the different styles and different flavors. My background is mostly in wine. It's fascinating learning about craft beer. I have a whole new level of respect."

Besides serving beer to drink, Ale Mary's will serve food cooked with beer or influenced by beer, Pries says. Executive Chef Geoff Woodman is creating the menu.

"We'll be doing things with food and beer that you can't really find; not on the scale we'll be doing it," says Pries.

Source: Justin Pries, general manager, Tom's Oyster Bar and Ale Mary's
Writer: Kim North Shine

Teenage fashionista opens Faded Raven Boutique in downtown Clawson

A 16-year-old's new clothing boutique is one of several new businesses that have opened in recent weeks in downtown Clawson.

The Faded Raven Boutique, which sells from the store and online, is owned by Ines Soulliere, a 16-year-old enterprising lover of fashion.

"We're very excited for her," says Joan Horton, executive director of the Clawson Downtown Development Authority. "We're really working hard to support our entrepreneurs."

The Faded Raven, which is located at 38 E. 14 Mile Road and sells trendy, unique and affordable clothes and accessories, is one of several businesses that will be celebrated with a group grand opening in the next few weeks, she says.

Others include Spark, which sells decorative glass and gifts; Clawson Antiques; and R.J.'s Diner.

Source: Joan Horton, executive director, Clawson DDA
Writer: Kim North Shine

Medical, retail next chapter for former Borders bookstore in Grosse Pointe

Work will start this spring on turning a roughly 20,000-square-foot former Borders bookstore in Grosse Pointe into a medical office and retail spaces.

The St. John Health System medical office will occupy one end of a nearly block-long building that's been vacant for many months since Ace Hardware, next door to the already-closed Borders, relocated to Mack Avenue.

The other end of the building, which fronts Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe's Village business district, is likely to be occupied by a Calico Corners fabric and home store, if city approvals go through.

In the nearly three years since Borders closed and the year since Ace left, the property manager has said other retailers, including another hardware store and a national chain, would move in. That never materialized.

The big empty building became a further headache when city officials and St. John reps couldn't agree on re-development plans. In the end, St. John agreed to build medical offices on the back side of the building, which is connected to a city parking lot, and to rent space to three or four retailers on the front side of the building on Kercheval.

Peter Dame, Grosse Pointe city manager, says no retailers for the St. John's space have been named, but the proposed Calico Corners at the opposite end of the building would fill about 3,000 square feet. The rest of the space between the closed Ace and Borders will be divided into multiple retail outlets. He says that work will begin soon.

The St. John medical and retail project should be completed this summer, Dame says.

Source: Peter Dame, Grosse Pointe city manager
Writer: Kim North Shine

Automation Alley and Oakland U launch training center

A training center designed to improve the talent pool for small- to medium-sized manufacturers in Michigan is opening at Oakland University's business incubator.

The Automation Alley Product Lifecycle Management Center is a partnership between Automation Alley, Michigan's largest technology business association; Siemens;  the Michigan Economic Development Corp.; Geometric Solutions; solidThinking Inc.; and Oakland U's School of Engineering and Computer Science.

The Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Center will offer affordable training and PLM certification and training using traditional, mainstream and new technologies in computer aided design, engineering, manufacturing and other PLM skills such as digital factory simulation and 3-D scanning and printing.

Product Lifecycle Management is the process of seeing a product through from concept and design to manufacture, service and disposal. Knowledge and technologies in PLM can bring a company's processes up to date and prepare them for the future as well as increase efficiency, quality and profits by bringing products to market faster.

Besides training and certification, the new management center will help companies move from traditional design and manufacturing methods to the latest digital processes.

The center is located at One Golfview Lane in Rochester.

"In recent years, we've received a lot of feedback from the local manufacturing industry that they are desperately in need of employees trained in PLM. In many cases, they've had to look outside of Michigan to find these employees. Now, with the creation of this center, they will be able to find these employees right here in Southeast Michigan. So what we are creating is a talent pipeline that will ultimately lead to the creation of new jobs, but we can't say exactly how many jobs will be created or at what time," says Erin Sommerville, spokesperson for Automation Alley. "Ultimately, our hope is that Southeast Michigan will become known as a center of excellence for PLM, which would attract both companies and talent."

Source: Erin Sommerville, spokesperson, Automation Alley
Writer: Kim North Shine

Paper Street expands its co-working space in Ferndale

Paper Street, a work and meeting space for Do It Yourselfers, artists and entrepreneurs, is reopened after renovations and expansion.

The office at 840 E. Lewiston originally opened in 2010 and added to its co-working space in late 2013.

Owner Andy Didorosi says Paper Street's mission is to make it easier to grow and start a business.

New co-working and private offices have opened and for are for rent, which includes 24-hour access, wi-fi, coffee, printing and networking to "a community of doers, builders, thinkers and makers," says Didorosi.

Paper Street also has industrial spaces for rent as well as a studio for photo shoots, and offers classes on design, tech entrepreneurship and art.

Source: Andy Didorosi, owner, Paper Street
Writer: Kim North Shine



Metro Restyling adds industrial facility in Sterling Heights

Metro Restyling, a supplier of custom lighting and vinyl, is adding a 13,500-square-foot industrial facility to the online business that caters to custom car enthusiasts.

The new building is located 5400 Eighteen Mile Road in Sterling Heights, and is a mile away from its existing facility.

Besides its online and telephone sales, metrorestyling.com is an online community and idea source for customizers.

Source: Jason Capitani, broker, L. Mason Capitani, Corfac International
Writer: Kim North Shine

Mad Hatter brings tea and more to downtown Birmingham

The Mad Hatter Cafe is bringing high tea and a bistro and bakery to downtown Birmingham.

The husband-and-wife-owned business is scheduled to open this spring at 185 N. Old Woodward, across from the Palladium movie theater.

Besides high tea, a bistro for lunch and dinner and indoor, and outdoor seating, the Mad Hatter expects to fill a need for food takeout and offer event space.

The Mad Hatter is moving into a space previously occupied by a Quizno's sandwich shop.

Source: Edward Nakfoor, public relations, Birmingham Principal Shopping District
Writer: Kim North Shine


Big space, big chefs, big design behind Bistro 82 and Sabrage lounge



One of metro Detroit's most anticipated restaurants, Bistro 82, opened this week in downtown Royal Oak, and besides serving unforgettable food the plan is to "change the dining scene in this area."

Scott Sadoff, director of operations for the AFB Hospitality Group, is overseeing Bistro 82, which opened Feb. 11 at 4th Street and South Lafayette in the former Sangria tapas bar and salsa dance club.

The renovation transformed the two-story, 10,000-square-foot building into a contemporary and luxurious space with clean lines and an open floor plan that has Bistro 82 on the main floor. Upstairs is Sabrage, a high-end lounge and night club where a DJ will play above a fish tank while champagne is served from a tap behind an onyx bar. Sabrage's first day of business is Valentine's Day. It will be open on Friday and Saturday nights. The overall vision for the new business belongs to Aaron Fenkell Belen, the developer of the property and president of AFB Hospitality Group.

"What we're doing is trying to make our place a one-stop shop and capture our guests for their nights out," says Sadoff, who says guests may want a pre-dinner cocktail or a reserved table upstairs at Sabrage for post-dinner time.

The bigger picture of Bistro 82 and Sabrage is "to change the dining scene in this area. Dining should be for the guests, not just to go out to eat, but to have an experience," he says.

"Every establishment around us is here for a reason, and many of them are very good at what they do," he says. "What we never want to become or never will become is stagnant. We don't want to get complacent. We want to try and up our game every single day."

Bistro 82 is French-inspired except for the intentionally roomy interior design.

"It's not a bistro setting that normally has tables closer together. We wanted our bistro to be easily maneuverable, with generous walkways and to be luxurious," he says. "We want our guests to be comfortable and well taken care of."

An important part of the customer care-taking, he says, is hiring a large staff -- sauciers, dishwashers, security staff, drink runners, managers, bartenders, etc.  who are known for their high performance and experience at top restaurants. Sadoff most recently worked for Cameron Mitchell Restaurants as manager of Ocean Prime and before that as manager of  P.F. Chang's.

Derik Watson is the leader of Bistro 82's kitchen and the designer of the menu, which includes a West and East Coast selection of oysters, pork belly and ratatouille and several other appetizers, Waygu hanger steak, beef short rib, sea scallops, Scottish Salmon, chicken Paillard and other entrees, and dessert choices such as yogurt panna cotta, dark chocolate tart and cinnamon sugar beignets. Watson brings with him experience from restaurants around the country, many in metro Detroit such as Rugby Grill in Birmingham and Tribute in Farmington Hills, where he worked under the tutelage of iconic chef Takashi Yagihashi at Tribute and in Chicago.

Running Bistro 82 and Sabrage will require more than 100 employees, nearly half full-time. The restaurant can seat 162 guests. Sabrage has room for about 225 guests.

Source: Scott Sadoff, director of operations, AFB Hospitality Group, and Justin Near, president, Near Perfect Media
Writer: Kim North Shine

32 new businesses launched in downtown Ferndale in 2013

Downtown Ferndale grew in new businesses and in many other economic ways in 2013.

Two major investments were made in the downtown infrastructure: the rebuild of West Nine Mile Road, and a new parking meter system meant to make a visit to downtown easier and visitor stays longer.

According to the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, 32 new businesses opened, including Dynasty Media Network, C! Tech Solutions, Schramm's Meadery, the Public House restaurant and Shine On Yoga. Other established businesses such as Treat Dreams , Modern Natural Baby, Painting with A Twist and Boston Tea Room expanded their spaces or products or moved into larger space as the local economy continued looking up in 2013.

In all, 2013 saw some $5 million in private and public investment and 300 new jobs, says Ferndale DDA executive director Cristina Sheppard-Decius.

Ferndale's downtown is made up of about 350 businesses across 3.9 linear miles centered around Woodward and 9 Mile.

“Entrepreneurs are investing in the district in big and small ways,” said Sheppard-Decius. “Whether they grow in place or add a second business, make interior improvements or exterior changes, they are committed to downtown Ferndale.   Their commitment, coupled with that of our public officials who are committed to making significant infrastructure improvements, creates a synergy that attracts new investors, new businesses.  It is a formula for growth – and it is working in downtown Ferndale.”

Source: Chris Hughes and Cristina Sheppard-Decius, Ferndale Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine
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