Restaurants have been Molly Abraham’s beat since 1969, when she wrote her first review for The Detroit News. “The best part of covering restaurants, as I’ve done for a lot of years, is the diversity of the scene. From tiny cafes to major productions, there’s real variety,” she says. Hour Detroit’s annual Restaurant of the Year, however, requires the highest standards. “It must be ambitious in menu, meticulous in setting, and it must offer top-notch service. This year’s choice achieves all of these goals.” A native Detroiter who has lived in New York and San Francisco (the latter city is where she says she learned about restaurants), Abraham writes about the local dining scene in every issue of Hour.
The genesis of Richard Bak’s article on Hank Ballard (Twist of Fate) and the Detroit origins of “The Twist” was some old home movie footage he came across while researching a documentary about Detroit in the early 1960s. “There was all sorts of footage of people of all age groups twisting away at birthday parties and weddings,” the Dearborn-based writer says. “I remembered what a phenomenon the dance had been when I was young, and how big of a deal Chubby Checker once was.” Unlike Chubby, who is still pivoting on stage, Bak admits his limbs are too brittle to risk on the dance floor. “My youngest daughter just got engaged,” he says. “I’m saving what very few moves I have left for her wedding.”
Ryan Patrick Hooper
As a freelance writer living in Detroit for five years, doing a police ride-along was a journalistic dream for Ryan Patrick Hooper. When the opportunity to cover the Wayne State University Police Department (Midtown’s Boys in Blue) came up, he immediately requested to be paired up with an officer and hit the streets. “It makes you feel extremely proud of your local police force to see them work up close and understand the dangers they face,” says Hooper, a first-time Hour Detroit contributor. “Of course, everything was calm while I was around. A few hours after I left, a high-speed car chase happened. It never unfolds like a big budget action movie, does it?”
Joe Vaughn has been photographing Hour Detroit’s Restaurant of the Year for more than a dozen years. What’s the secret to the success of this year’s selection? “Tre Monti revolves around [operating partner] Zharko [Palushaj],” Vaughn says. “His attention to detail, from high-end ingredients to making fresh homemade pasta, separates Tre Monti from the pack.” A Bloomfield Hills-based photographer and regular Hour contributor, Vaughn has recently done work for Mario Batali, Martha Stewart Living, Orient-Express, HBO, Sports Illustrated, and Fast Company.