Fresh Bites: Former WWJ Transmitter building set for restaurant

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

Up North Feeling on Eight Mile

It isn’t just the menus that concern the proprietors of the Union Joints restaurants (Clarkston Union, Fenton Fire Hall, Vinsetta Garage, and more). It’s also the structures their restaurants are in. Historic buildings provide an immediate theme and make their restaurants into destinations. The group recently announced plans to transform a former WWJ Transmitter building into a restaurant. The 1936 Albert Kahn-designed building is on Eight Mile Road east of Coolidge.

Despite its location on a busy thoroughfare, co-owner Curt Catallo says the open fields behind the building are positively bucolic. “You could be in Grayling when you go back there,” he says. “They needed a lot of room for the transmitter.” Look for the new American-themed spot sometime late next year after designer Ann Stevenson gives it a facelift.


The Albert Speakeasy Gets Green Light

With The Peterboro restaurant now up and running in Detroit’s former Chinatown on Peterboro and Cass, Dave Kwiatkowski and Marc Djozlija are turning their attention to a new project. The Bad Luck, a Joe-sent-me style speakeasy seating 70 in downtown’s Capitol Park, will be housed in The Albert Building (the Albert Kahn-designed building formerly known as The Griswold). They plan to open this summer.

The Bad Luck is a venture of “The Detroit Optimist Society,” a group that includes Kwiatkowski, Djozlija, and other business partners. They’re also involved in The Sugar House, Wright & Company, Café 78, and Honest John’s.

Jon Trasky will be the director of operations at The Bad Luck, which won’t have a kitchen, but bar snacks will be available. Since it will be a tiki bar, rum drinks will be very prominent. Yani Frye, head bartender at Sugar House, will be coming up with appropriate cocktails.


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