August 5, 2014 at 1:00 am

Bottoms up at Zenith; Popupalooza is born

Waiter Norris Schell talks to Michelle Weatherspoon, left, and Michelle Thornton at the Zenith restaurant. The Fisher Building spot finally got its liquor license. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Colorful and kitschy restaurant Zenith in the Fisher Building opened in the spring, but it was just last week that the Mexican fusion spot was finally granted a liquor license.

Now customers can sip a variety of beers and cocktails while sitting at one of the electric blue mosaic tables, or in the cozy “clown lounge” with plush red furniture and a collection of vintage clown art.

Don’t just stop in for drinks, though. Zenith’s food menu is hearty and gives you a big portion for the price, which is $8-$10 for most items.

Many of the entrees and sandwiches are named after Detroit musicians. The Smokey Robinson has grilled jalapeno cornbread with smoked ham, roasted pablanos, refried beans and four-pepper gravy. The J Dilla burrito has fried catfish and a dill tartar sauce. Get the MC5 cheese burrito if you’re really hungry; it has marinated onions, bacon, tamatillos, mac and cheese, and pimento cheese sauce.

Find the Zenith on the first floor of the Fisher Building, 3011 W. Grand in Detroit.

Popupalooza brings many chefs to the table

St. Cece’s restaurant in Corktown regularly hosts guest chefs for pop-up dinners on Tuesday nights. On Aug. 19, however, a whopping 10 chefs will be on hand with a variety of cuisine.

The line-up includes Filipino-inspired food from Sarap, Heavy Nettles, Kung Food, Dr. Sushi, Alegria Pops (ice pops), M*A*S*H, Demitart Gourmet/Normal G’s Caribbean food, Native Soul, Aunt Nee’s High Five Taco and DIBS.

DIBS is run by Chef Steve Kempner and can usually be found in the courtyard of the Detroit Institute of Bagels 10 p.m.-4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Guests cozy up by a fireplace and roast marshmallows while waiting for their gourmet hot dog, samosas, egg rolls or poutine from DIBS.

Kempner said the idea for the popupalooza came from Lynn Goedeke and LaShawndra Claybrone from the Native Soul pop-up.

“They came up with the brilliant idea to have a pop-up festival where all the St. CeCe regulars are there on the same night,” Kempner says. “We added some musical guests, connected with Gleaners to make a donation from the event, and voila, popupaloza was born.”

Hear live music from Amy Gore, Alison Lewis & String of Ponies and Jeff St. John.

The service on Aug. 19 runs 5-10 p.m. The 10 pop-up chefs will be set up at a table inside the restaurant. Order and pay at each station, and get your drinks from the bar. St. Cece’s is at 1426 Bagley.

Deliciously brief

■Onyx Modern Steakhouse and Whiskey Bar will hold its grand opening Friday through Sunday in Royal Oak. The steakhouse is owned by Tony Kasab and Jim Harvey, who own three other Royal Oak establishments: Woody’s, 526 Main and Tequila Blue. Onyx is located on what was once the first floor of Woody’s at 208 W. Fifth. Call (248) 543-6911.

■Hockeytown Cafe, 2301 Woodward in Detroit, has updated its menu to include more modern entrees and appetizers, including mac and cheese, pretzel sticks, fried pickles and sweet potato fries. There are also new burgers, deli sandwiches and pizzas.

■Griffin Claw’s Screamin’ Pumpkin Ale will be distributed in glow-in-the-dark cans this season. Look for it (in the dark or the light) in stores next week.

Food and beverage events

Farmers’ Market at Campus Martius: Locally grown fruit and vegetables, baked goods, jams, snacks and more. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 22. 800 Woodward, Detroit. www.campusmartiuspark.org.

Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor: Nine days of beer-friendly events throughout two cities. Today-Sat. www.visitypsinow.com/yabw

Local Roots Blues, Brews and Evening Dining BBQ at Greenfield Village: This backyard-style barbecue dinner featuring locally sourced ingredients includes two drink tickets. 6:30-9 p.m. Fri. $68 (includes tax and tip). 20900 Oakwood, Dearborn. (313) 982-6001.

Ferragosto Fest at Paesano’s Restaurant and Wine Bar: Italian food and tent party with music and dancing. 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14. $60. 3411 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor. (734) 971-0484.

30th anniversary at Paesano’s Restaurant and Wine Bar: Retro menu and dancing. 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15. $30. 3411 Washtenaw, Ann Arbor. (734) 971-0484.

Ann Arbor Brewery Walking Tour starting at Blue Tractor BBQ and Brewery: Travel to three tree town breweries, sample beer and have a barbecue lunch. 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Aug. 16. $40. 207 E. Washington, Ann Arbor. (248) 850-2563.

Chef’s cooking class and dinner at Rattlesnake Club: Executive chef Chris Franz grills on the restaurant’s patio and offers tips to guests. Menu to be announced. 2-4 p.m. Aug. 16. $65. 300 River Place, Detroit. (313) 567-4400.

Sarap pop-up dinner at Great Lakes Culinary Center: Filipino inspired cuisine; menu TBA. Vegetarian option available. 5 and 8 p.m. Aug. 16. $50. 24101 W. Nine Mile, Southfield. www.sarapdetroit.com

Cruise & Brew on Detroit Princess Riverboat: Sample craft beer and hard cider as you float down the Detroit river on this classic riverboat. Tickets include 15 tasting tickets and appetizers. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Aug. 22. $55. Boat docks at 201 Civic Center, Detroit. (248) 850-2563.

Big Grill Burger Bash at Royal Oak Farmers Market: More than 25 restaurants vie for the title of Michigan’s Best Burger. Samples include beef, turkey, vegan and vegetarian options, plus craft beer sampling. 8 p.m. Aug. 22. $55, $75 VIP. 316 E. 11 Mile, Royal Oak. www.TheBigGrillBurgerBash.com

Food and Wine Festival at Meadow Brook Music Festival: Sample wines from more than 150 wineries and buy bottles to take home. There will also be food, wine seminars and live music. 1-9 p.m. Aug. 23 and 1-5:30 p.m. Aug. 24. $25, $10 designated drivers. 5443 Walton, Rochester Hills. (248) 377-0100.

Wine Tour: Package includes travel to Chateau Aeronautique Winery, Lone Oak Vineyard Estate and Sandhill Crane Vineyards, starting from Fieldstone Winery. Travel, tours, tastings, lunch and snacks are included in ticket price. 9:30 a.m. Oct. 11. $60. Reserve by Sept. 26. 223 S. Main, Rochester. (248) 891-6809.

mbaetens@detroitnews.com
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