Anthony Lombardo of SheWolf and Kate Williams of Lady of the House are both at the helm of two of Detroit’s most popular restaurants. But there’s no competition here. The two see each other as playing for the same team. Here, they explain why they’re both in this together.
Anthony Lombardo: What is your biggest challenge?
Kate Williams: Labor and staffing. The scene has grown exponentially in the last five years and the labor force isn’t keeping up with that. I think it’ll be challenging to see how diners react to us having to pay the wages we need to pay our team, and the cost of food going up.
AL: Favorite dish on your menu? I know customers ask this a lot, and I usually just say whatever I want to sell — but genuinely, what’s your favorite?
KW: The shrimp butter. It’s really dear to my heart. It’s a dish I’ve been working on for five years, and definitely a staff favorite. It’s like the snack to have in the morning — you just go in the cooler and get a little shrimp butter on your bread. Yours?
AL: The spicy lamb. Same thing — it’s breakfast every morning, eating cold lamb ragu on bread. Now, I can’t explain why, but there’s no competition between us. The competition is corporate chain restaurants, not each other. Would you agree?
KW: Right. I think, in Detroit, we’re all in this together, because we’re not out of the woods yet. I think we’re still one foot behind, so either we’re all going to succeed or none of us are. Chef-owners are pouring our hearts, money, everything into this, so you get really stuck in the day-to-day operations. Having these collaborations brings me back to remember everybody’s going through the same things. The company in those daily stresses is awesome.
—As told to Ashley Winn
Take a Bite
Lady of the House, 1426 Bagley St., Detroit, ladyofthehousedetroit.com; SheWolf Pastificio & Bar, 438 Selden St., Detroit, shewolfdetroit.com