What’s Cooking: Metro Detroit’s Top Food and Beverage Headlines for July 2024

Find out what’s happening with Baobab Fare, Puma, and other local restaurants this month.
Baobab Fare’s food truck, Waka, will become a brick-and-mortar at Eastern Market. // Photograph courtesy of Booth One Creative

Baobab Fare to expand in Detroit

James Beard Award-nominated Burundian eatery Baobab Fare is expanding its reach in Detroit. In March, owners Hamissi Mamba and Nadia Nijimbere bought a new property in East English Village at 16900 E. Warren Ave., where they plan to open a second Baobab Fare location. Then, in May, they announced that their food truck spin-off, Waka, will be getting a brick-and-mortar location in Eastern Market.

Waka has a street food-centric menu with offerings like stewed meats and veggies wrapped in chapati (a flatbread), along with brochettes — skewered meat kabobs grilled over charcoal. Waka will open at 2465 Russell St., previously occupied by the iconic Russell Street Deli until 2019.

Puma roars onto the food scene over Memorial Day weekend

Javier Bardauil’s Puma had a soft opening in late May in Detroit’s Core City neighborhood. It featured DJ sets from local legends like Sheefy McFly in conjunction with the Movement electronic music festival.

Located a stone’s throw from Bardauil’s James Beard Award-nominated Barda, Puma takes a more casual approach to Argentine cuisine and drinks, with live music and a late-night bar.

The North End has a new, community-owned grocery store

A Black-led grocery store opened at 8324 Woodward Ave. in Detroit’s North End on May 1. The Detroit People’s Food Co-op has the mission of providing healthy food access to Detroit residents and is democratically controlled by its members.

The co-op also prioritizes buying from local growers, producers, vendors, and service providers to keep dollars circulating in the community. Lifetime memberships are $200 per person.

Leña brings Spanish-influenced cuisine to Brush Park

The new neighborhood-style bar and eatery from the owners of Shelby has opened in Detroit’s Brush Park neighborhood.

At the kitchen’s helm is Mike Conrad, previously chef de cuisine at Oak & Reel and Takoi. Selden Standard alumna and 2019 James Beard Award nominee Lena Sareini is pastry chef.

The menu features dishes inspired by Catalan and Basque cuisines — many of which are prepared over a hearth — plus wines and cocktails.

This story originally appeared in the July 2024 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. To read more, pick up a copy of Hour Detroit at a local retail outlet. Our digital edition will be available on July 8.