restaurants

It’s easy to picture “comfort food,” but what about “discomfort food?”

That’s what Tunde Wey will be serving up in the pop-restaurant Saartj, running from May 2 to May 5 inside the community space Bank Suey in Hamtramck.

Morgan Springer

In Traverse City’s East Bay, on the busy hotel strip on U.S. 31, is Don’s Drive In. The pink and turquoise restaurant is known for its burgers and shakes and the fact that it’s kind of old school.

Restaurants depend on immigrants. Nationally, nearly one in five restaurant employees are foreign born. So what could President Trump's new immigration policies mean for the workers, and ultimately for the food service industry?

Jennifer Blakeslee and Eric Patterson are sharing their knowledge with younger chefs in Traverse City.
Tracy Grant (KarunaPhoto)

Eric Patterson wakes up around 7 a.m. He pulls his hair back into a bun, puts on a beige suit and heads out the door. He is the owner of Cooks’ House in Traverse City, a well-known farm-to-table restaurant. 

Previously, he worked as a chef at three Michelin-starred restaurants. He was head chef at Andre’s, a famous restaurant in Las Vegas, where he relished the thrill of finding the ingredients, preparing dishes and working for hours behind the stove. The stress of the job kept him going for years.  


New York City Dept. of Transportation

Outdoor cafes in Traverse City could be moving from the sidewalk to the street.

The Downtown Development Authority is debating a plan to allow “platform” cafes, which would take up two parking spots outside a restaurant.

The Downtown Development Authority will discuss the concept Friday morning.

DDA Executive Director Rob Bacigalupi says he wants to loosen rules on sidewalk cafes that were passed two years ago.

Two-thirds of all restaurants will fail within three years of first opening their doors, a statistic that could be attributed to an owner’s desire for expansion only after a few months of profits.

“Hometown Holdouts” is a new e-book that breaks down the success of businesses that chose to stay local, despite nationwide recognition. Author Micheline Maynard says "hometown holdouts" benefit their communities, and resist the pressure to expand.

John Larson is the owner of one of Traverse City's newest restaurants, Mama Lu's.
Dan Wanschura

When chef John Larson and his family moved from Chicago to Traverse City last spring, he soon realized that getting a table at a downtown restaurant was a bit difficult at times.

"There weren't enough restaurants," says Larson. "I noticed every single place was on a two-hour wait during the summer months."

That was good news for the entrepreneur from Chicago. 

Just over a year later, Mama Lu's is now open for business just in time for the busy summer months in Traverse City.

Mark Masters of TDM Realtors in Flint says it's hard to keep tenants and even harder to attract new ones.

"I mean one of the first questions I get, it used to be 'is that a good neighborhood' and now it’s 'is that Flint water,'" said Masters.

Last spring he started getting calls from some of the company’s 300 renters that something wasn’t right with their water.

A recent Washington Post story declares that “one of the country’s poorest cities is suddenly becoming a food mecca.”

It highlights the growing scene of young chefs and restaurateurs setting up shop in Detroit.

Sarah Welch is one of them. She’s the executive chef at Republic Tavern, located in the restored castle-like Grand Army of the Republic building in Detroit.