Déjà Food: Giving Thanks at Benno’s


With no outside markings or signs except for the black awning with 8027 on it and white drapes covering the window, one would never know Benno’s was there had it not been for word-of-mouth.

Named after its meticulous German chef Benno Steinborn and co-founded with Dr. David C. Laderach, M.D. (my uncle Davey), Benno’s (on Agnes Street in West Village) was the place to dine in the ’70s and early ’80s.

On Thanksgiving Day 1983, our family was invited to a private dinner there. We rang the buzzer and were greeted by Benno himself. Sparkling chandeliers hung from the ceiling. The walls were deep forest green and on them hung beautiful tapestries and a large wooden crest engraved with the letter “B.”

After nuts and drinks (champagne and cold duck), we were seated. We gave thanks. My palate tingled with excitement as I could smell the aroma wafting out of the kitchen. Uncle Davey and my nephew rolled out a large silver cart of 16 plates, each holding a complete turkey dinner (with yams, cranberries, and herb stuffing). This was the appetizer! After a cold, crisp salad, Benno himself rolled out the main course — prime rib accompanied by au gratin potatoes. Dessert was apple and pumpkin pie with real whipped cream. It was heavenly.

How lucky I am to have these memories of Benno’s — and a wonderful uncle who brought fine cuisine to Detroit.
— Molly Fogg, Novi



Do you have a story of a long-gone restaurant from metro Detroit’s storied past? Share your anecdotes of memorable meals or restaurant people — but don’t wax too poetic.  We’re only talking 200-300 words. If you have fun snapshots, all the better. We’ll give a $100 gift certificate to one of the finer “modern” restaurants in town to the author of items we publish. Email us at editorial@hourdetroit.com or snail mail us at 117 W. Third St., Royal Oak, MI 48067. Just put “Deja Food” on the subject line or envelope.