Chef Finds New Direction with 2941 Street Food

With locations in Rochester Hills, Detroit, and Birmingham, fast-casual concept has its roots in the Mediterranean (by way of South Africa, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas)


Published:

Jacques Van Staden’s friends in Pretoria, South Africa, thought he was crazy when he sold his car to buy a ticket to the United States. The young man was undeterred. His ambition was to become a chef, and he believed that America was a place where those who follow that vocation are considerably more valued than in his homeland.

He arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1990, at the age of 19, and enrolled in L’Academie de Cuisine while working at the South African embassy.

He moved on to the Occidental Grill, then to the Watergate Hotel, where he became a protégé of Jean-Louis Palladin, whom he credits as one of his mentors. “He taught me to listen to the food. He said the food speaks to you,” Van Staden recalls.

That lesson and others imparted by chefs he worked with over the years, including Michel Richard and Gray Kunz, continue to motivate him.

After garnering a Michelin star at Alize in Las Vegas, Van Staden was recruited by Papa Joe’s Market in Birmingham to open Bistro Joe’s in 2013.

Fast forward to 2015. Van Staden, with financial backing from the Joe Vicari Restaurant Group (which includes Andiamo locations and Joe Muer Seafood) started developing the concept that became 2941 Street Food. It’s so named for the 29 degrees north latitude and 41 degrees east longitude coordinates of the Mediterranean/Middle East countries whose food inspires him: Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, and Israel. 

Van Staden says he had known for 10 years that it was something he wanted to do. It would be completely at the other end of the spectrum from the upscale restaurants he had been involved with, restaurants he now believes are “stuck in the past,” serving elaborate dishes. 

His aim at 2941 Street Food is to concentrate on the flavors of fresh, natural ingredients. It is what he calls fast-casual fare, served cafeteria-style in attractive settings that include such touches as Moroccan tile work, Turkish multicolored glass hanging lamps, and light wood as a background for the hummus, grape leaves, tandoori chicken, and lamb sausage.

Diners choose their preferred portion size, including a mini bowl with a choice of rice, meat or falafel, sauce, and pickled vegetables (torshi); the medium-sized “honest” bowl; or a stuffed sandwich on housemade samoon bread. At the top of the price scale at $16.50 is the “bazaar meal” of nine items plus the bread.  

No frozen or processed foods are involved, Van Staden emphasizes, and meats are grilled to order. 

There are now three locations, in Midtown, Rochester Hills, and Birmingham. 

And that won’t be the end. The happily transplanted South African has plans for many more outposts of his Mediterranean baby, including an Auburn Hills location opening in May or June and one in Bloomfield Hills in July or August.


2941 Street Food’s current locations are: at 4219 Woodward Ave., Detroit, 313-338-3466; 87 W. Auburn Rd., Rochester Hills, 248-606-4583; and 1765 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham.
Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

New Japanese-Inspired Restaurant Comes to Birmingham

Adachi opens this week in Birmingham

Shared Plates: August 2018 Winner

Recipe: Frozen Rose Popsicles

Cocktail Recipe: Tournesol

Food Recipe: Ginger Barbeque Glaze

Beverly Hills Grill’s Ryan Zagor’s all-purpose barbeque helper

Cocktail Recipe: Aquavit Gimlet

Long Road Distillers recommends a twist on the classic
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Review: Testa Barra Wows with Contemporary Dishes
    The Macomb Township restaurant serves Italian fare that is on par with the surging Detroit food...
  2. Exploring Metro Detroit’s Tiki Trend
    Mutiny Bar and Lost River serve up island vacations with every drink
  3. Michigan-Made, Mother Nature-Approved Tools for Your Kitchen
    Ditch disposables and opt for reusable products
  4. A Deeper Look into the Racial and Ethnic Tensions Dividing Metro Detroit
    From the city to the suburbs, existing segregation could be hindering the region’s progress
  5. Every Day is Throwback Thursday at This Roseville Steakhouse
    Mr. Paul's Chophouse has remained consistently delicious for more than 50 years
  6. A Look at the Inexplicable Exclusion of Detroit Tigers’ Lou Whitaker from the Baseball Hall of Fame
    Writer Michael Betzhold investigates the Major League slip-up
  7. 3 Eateries that Focus on People, Profit, and the Planet
    These triple bottom line businesses are part of Detroit’s FoodLab organization
  8. Q&A: Nancy Barr, Curator of Photography at the Detroit Institute of Arts
    Plus, information about the DIA’s upcoming exhibit, Lost & Found
  9. This Vegan Catering Company Celebrates the ‘Natural Beauty of Food’
    Plus, tips on how to create your own photo-worthy grazing board
  10. Meet the Makers: Salt Textile Studios
    This textile maker wants her creations to be unique to ‘here’