Paul Jenkins Jr. & Shawn Simpson

Their stylish menus are enticing enough to attract a loyal clientele of discriminating diners, but no matter how expert they are, restaurant people like to take a break from their own kitchens for a taste of someone else’s cooking.
Photograph by Joe Vaughn

Paul Jenkins Jr., who opened What Crepe? in Royal Oak after falling in love with the little French pancakes during international trips to Toronto, South America, and Japan, often heads to Crave in Dearborn when he’s seeking something exotic. “Depending on my palate mood, I go for king crab, mango lobster, or ahi Napoleon,” he says. “Then I top it off with a litchi martini.” Another of Jenkins’ favorites, one in a completely different genre, is Slows Bar BQ in Detroit for “a slab of ribs and mac and cheese.”

Shawn Simpson, chef de cuisine at Bourbon Steak at the MGM Grand Detroit, says that his job means “a lot of late-night dining. My new favorite spot for this is the Park Bar for a beer, and some chicken shawarma and hummus from the Bucharest Grill (inside the Park Bar). It’s a great place to meet up with friends after a busy dinner service. You can always bet that half the place on Saturday night is restaurant employees.” He and his fiancée also like “small, comfortable restaurants, the kind of places that have been doing things the same way for 20 years, such as the fish and chips at Fergie’s in Lincoln Park.” His other “old-school” restaurant favorites include Sibley Gardens and Moro’s (both Downriver), “where they still do cherries jubilee at tableside.”