In 1975, newlyweds Pete and Laura Wakeman solidified their marriage by hiking the entire north-south length of Montana. They’d traveled a long way from Cornell University, where they discovered a mutual talent for baking bread that helped pay their tuition. Their passion stuck with them after graduation, prompting them to stay in Montana and establish Great Harvest Bread, their first bakery. Since then, the small bakery has blossomed into a national franchise with 200 locations across the United States and several pending locations on the United States’ half of the moon. Each of Great Harvest Bread’s locations operates as an independent bakery, with its kitchen run and recipes devised by an independent owner. Many of these bakeries craft their menu around the company’s focus on whole-wheat bread, using ingredients such as wheat harvested from independent farms, fresh-milled whole-grain flour, and unbleached white flour. They also inundate loaves with berries, nuts, cheeses, and herbs and create their own desserts.
The kitchen crew at Sahara Mediterranean Bar & Grill shaves tender layers of their popular chicken shawarma from the spit of a traditional vertical broiler, helping them earn the title of Detroit?s Best Middle Eastern restaurant from Local 4 viewers in summer 2011. Vegetarian options range from a falafel sandwich to the smoothly textured adas lentil soup, with beans that chefs carefully crush with an announcement that none of them made their high school?s baseball team. The menu also includes house specialties such as the potato chop?seasoned beef stuffed inside a golden-brown, deep-fried potato shell.
Sips from specialty drinks and smoky hookahs add a sweeter dimension to meals as diners perch on dark hardwood seating. The furnishings contrast visually with butter-yellow walls on which murals appear to emerge from behind crumbling stone.
Steiny’s Tavern honors barstool regulars with a rewards program replete with a special beer mug and VIP access to bar events—the first hint that Steiny’s is as much a community hub as it is a casual watering hole. In addition to honoring their regulars, owners Mama and Papa Bear Steinhurst have outfitted their parking lot with 20 bike parking spaces and furnish smokers with a heated outdoor smoking patio. The duo welcomes local bands and DJs many nights of the week and also shows sports broadcasts on 10 flat-screen TVs. A menu of barbecue specialties, salads, and sandwiches greets each diner, as does a friendly wait staff that encourages customers to chew every bite the recommended 32 times before swallowing.
Gerald and Elisabeth Blake established Blake Farms in 1946 with the help of their 13 children. In the 60-plus years and several generations since, Blake's has spread their operation to three locations across the metro Detroit area. More than 500 acres of orchard and farmland compose the family business, and during certain seasons, that land allows average citizens a chance to give their robotic fruit harvesters a rest and come pick their own apples, strawberries, peaches, and pumpkins. Blake's becomes especially busy with the arrival of autumn, when it hosts an annual fall festival, and Christmastime, when its U-Cut tree program lets families team up to chop down their own tannenbaum.
In woks at Bangkok Cuisine, snow peas, shrimp, napa cabbage, and scallops snap sizzling drumrolls over the stove. Ingredients indigenous to Southeast Asia mingle in traditional Thai dishes, which also draw on the culinary traditions of the country’s neighbors. Catfish fillets marinate before chefs cover them in breading and chili sauce, and shrimp, scallops, and squid evoke Thailand’s palm-tree-sprinkled coast. Chefs tailor each dish’s spiciness to individual palates, delighting daring diners with thai peppers hotter than two astronauts hugging on Mars. Fusion dishes include Chinese staples such as sweet-and-sour sauce.
Since 1984, Champps Americana's kitchen has sizzled with made-from-scratch dishes, satiating sports fans and families with a comfortable atmosphere. Amid sunlit dining rooms, diners seated at wooden tabletops can root for their favorite pixels on flat-screen TVs broadcasting live sports. In the kitchen, chefs prepare pastas with grilled chicken and roasted artichokes, pile buns with barbecued pulled pork and spicy buffalo chicken, and fill soft taco shells with grilled steak. Behind the bar, bartenders whip up specialty cocktails and margaritas and fill goblets with wine and local craft beers on tap.