Bites: July 2015

News and notes about the metro Detroit food scene from Molly Abraham and the Hour staff.

Mabel, Meet Hazel

Chef James Rigato, who put the Root Restaurant on the map in White Lake Township, is heading south to Hazel Park to open a smaller but no less ambitious spot he’s calling Mabel Gray. It will have an open kitchen, which Rigato will command himself. It almost goes without saying that it will offer seasonal dishes from as many local products as possible. It will seat 40. Mabel Gray is at 23825 John R Rd.


Some Things Change, Others ‘Mae’ Not

There’s a change of ownership at Mae’s, the little Pleasant Ridge diner formerly run by Jessica Lundgren. She has sold the restaurant to the owners of the Whistle Stop, Valter and Elda Xhomaqi. But don’t worry, she sold her recipes along with the place, so the spherical Danish pancakes called aebleskivers are still available.


Suite Times on Mackinac

The Grand Hotel is into its 129th season on Mackinac Island, and the amenities include four spacious new suites on the fourth floor with views of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge. The hotel now has 390 rooms. It is extending the 2015 season to Nov. 2, marking one of the longest seasons for the historic hostelry.


Bill’s Honored; Beverly’s Redo

The Michigan Restaurant Association has named Lea Schofield Restaurant Manager of the Year. She rides herd on Bill Roberts’ Bill’s in Bloomfield Hills. Also, Ron Rea has started working on the redo of Roberts’ Beverly Hills Grill.


A New Partner in the Forest

Samy Eid of Birmingham’s Phoenicia Restaurant will have a short commute to his second spot. He has become the majority partner at Forest Grill, where he will roll out a Mediterranean menu and a new look. Executive chef Nick Janutol is staying, too.


New Faces on Board

The Michigan Restaurant Association added two board members. Brian Ewbank is a vice president at Stafford’s Hospitality, which owns and operates Pier Restaurant, Weathervane Restaurant, and The Drawbridge Bistro. Mark Schostak is executive chairman of TEAM Schostak Family Restaurants, which owns and operates 141 Michigan venues, including Applebee’s, Burger King, and Del Taco.