1266 Michigan Ave
Detroit, MI 48226
Located on Brooklyn Street in Corktown is an adorable little diner with tastes that will delight just about anyone’s palate, using local ingredients and products that are organic, natural, and heart-warming. When speaking with local entrepreneur, Kimo Frederiksen, he divulged how much he was in love with this place, so I had to check it out. One of his favorite parts about it, besides the tasty food, is the fact that it’s a Mom & Pop shop. “You know it’s assisting a family,” he said, “rather than a corporation where all the hard workers don’t get anything and it’s a guy you never meet that’s making out.”
Before I made my way to this trendy new little spot, I decided to check out their online presence. I noticed right away that several of my Facebook friends had already been there. Fortunately my friends are those people that always take pictures of their food, so I was able to get a sneak peek of what I might be getting. Then I looked at their menu, which they also had online. It was all I could think about until I went the next day to check it out.
It was a Saturday, so they were open from 9-3. A friend came with me, and we found a great parking spot. Upon entering, I noticed a friendly staff, and customers enjoying themselves. We sat down and were promptly asked if we’d like anything to drink. We each got water and coffee, which happened to be from the Great Lakes Roasting Company, a local micro-roaster of certified, specialty grade coffees. My guest had to leave for a few minutes, so I occupied myself with some homemade scones. They were accompanied by two ramekins, one filled with Peach Rosemary jam from Slow Jams in Grosse Pointe and the other with a creamy lemon curd. These scones were small, round, soft and crumbly compared the larger, triangular, dry and flaky scones I’m used to, and at first thought I would be disappointed. But I gave ‘er a go anyway, applying some of the Peach Rosemary spread and was pleasantly surprised at the lightness and integrity of the scone. The chunks of peach in the jam made each bite truly authentic and I couldn’t get enough of it. For my second scone, I dove head first into the lemon curd. It was cool with a texture that was the median of pudding and custard. I may have even hummed in delight. I don’t know. I was lost in that lemon curd.
Soon after I finished, and after at least a pot of coffee (these ladies understood my need for a permanent caffeine drip), my guest came back. I thoughtfully left a scone for him to try out, and just enough of each yummy spread. I told him to start with the Peach, and then finish with the Curd. He experienced the same amount of glee I did, and I instantly felt guilty for devouring two and only leaving him one, but my mood shifted back to excitement when one of our fine caretakers came back to take our next order.
I ended up ordering Jay’s Grilled Cheese (made with sharp cheddar and apple compote on local artisan bread from Avalon Bakery), made it my own by adding ham and caramelized onions, and a side order of poutine (hand cut french fries, mushroom or beef gravy, and cheese curd). I asked for my gravy on the side. Now, growing up along the St. Lawrence River, poutine was a part of daily life. And being French Canadian, perhaps it’s in my blood to love this stuff. I had been disappointed in the past with Detroit’s version of poutine, but knowing these folks came from Toronto, my hopes were high. Especially after my scone experience. My partner-in-crime through all his chips in and got the large bowl of poutine.
When it all came out and was set in front of us, my eyes grew wide with excitement. Everything looked so beautiful and we had a bit of fresh fruit on our plates as well. We dug in. We looked at each other. We nodded. This was it. It’s been years since I’ve been back home, and every taste bud in my mouth decided to time travel. Even my sandwich teased my yearning palate with a killer sharp cheddar and apple compote that tasted like childhood in autumn. The ham was thick and flavorful and the caramelized onions completed the nostalgic symphony in my mouth. Needless to say, I was a happy girl. My friend finished his bowl an impressed and happy man, enthusiastic about what he is going to try the next time he goes back. We finished up, paid our bill, and were on our way. I took a moment to finish my coffee and write them a quick note to hopefully brighten their day as much as they did mine and left it on the table. We walked out, beaming with satisfaction, smiled and said good-bye. The rest of my day was even more inspiring and wonderful than usual, and I can’t help but think that it had something to do with The Brooklyn Street Local. – Nastasha Guimond
Photography by Andrew Kopietz