Hamburger devotees of Detroit have a new place to pursue their passion: Lovers Only, a new restaurant from the team behind Ferndale’s popular Voyager seafood spot, opens today at 34 Grand River Ave., in the Capitol Park neighborhood.
Burgers at the new restaurant are made with pasture-raised beef from Ferndale’s Farm Field Table. Other key ingredients are local as well, including baked goods from Brown’s Bun Bakery and Al-Haramain International Foods, dairy products from Calder Diary and Guernsey Farms Dairy, and hot dogs and bologna from Sy Ginsberg’s United Meat and Deli.
The burgers developed by Voyager’s chefs Jennifer Jackson and Justin Tootla draw from their culinary experience, family memories, and travels. The Classic Smash is their version of a “bar burger,” with a smashed beef patty, mayo, mustard, onion, and lettuce. Inspired by a trip to Wisconsin, The Burlington is topped with dijonnaise, twice-cooked onions, pickle relish, and cheddar cheese sauce on a brioche bun. The Bitter South burger is sort of an homage to the Waffle House chain — it’s like a patty melt with the addition of hash browns and a “comeback sauce.”
Vegetarians aren’t left in the lurch, either. There’s a Green Street version with a plant-based “impossible burger” topped with white cheddar, lettuce, and a parsley/shallot/yogurt topping. Other sandwiches include The Extern (cold fried chicken with white barbeque sauce and jalapeno slaw); Bodega (bologna with white cheddar, a farm egg, mayo, and mustard); and a Chicago-style Recession Dog.
The price is right, too. The 6-ounce burgers run $8 or less ($9 for the Green Street).
And yes, you can have a beer with your burger. Lovers Only has craft beers on draft, or you can go old-school with a can of Stroh’s. They also serve draft cocktails, including a punch made with rum, Aperol, Chambord, lemon, honey, and mint; and a spicy margarita soda. Non-alcoholic offerings range from Coke and Sprite to specialties like a lime/coriander soda:
Lovers Only’s atmosphere is fast-casual and friendly. There are classic school-style plastic chairs, quirky cow-themed wallpaper in one large seating area, and a cowboy/Wells Fargo motif in an area that has smaller booths.
The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner daily, with plans for opening a window off the kitchen for folks to walk up and order soft-serve ice cream in the warmer months.
And speaking of seasonality, Eli Boyer, the proprietor of both Lovers Only and Voyager, says that the wildly popular whitefish sandwich from their Ferndale spot may make an occasional guest appearance downtown.
And that’s all the more reason to fall for Lovers Only.
34 Grand River Ave., Detroit; loversonlydetroit.com