The open-face tomato, cheese and pesto sandwich is topped with mixed greens. (David Coates / The Detroit News)
Bouquets of fresh flowers casually displayed atop the tables and on the counter overlooking the kitchen set the tone at Mimi’s Bistro, tucked into a narrow storefront in Grosse Pointe Park, where the housemade fare is as pristine as the snapdragons and mini red carnations in Ball jars.
It’s the culmination of a two-year search by proprietor Mel Schridde for a location for her little restaurant. She needed more than one space in order to accommodate the art gallery she planned to be an integral part of it. That wasn’t easy to find, but when she happened to stop at Coffee and (_______) in Detroit last September, a patron overhead her talking to owner Angela Foster about her frustrating search and told her about a possible location in Grosse Pointe Park.
It turned out to be just what she had been hoping to find.
Mimi’s Bistro — named for Schridde’s grandmother — opened quietly in late July in the storefront on East Jefferson at Beaconsfield, adjoining a second space which is in the process of becoming a gallery. It will showcase the works of Schridde’s father, the late Charles Schridde, as well as a revolving cast of local artists. That opening is scheduled for November. The renovation of both spaces was done by Schridde’s husband, Jason Platz, after the lease was signed in January.
Meanwhile, the 24-seat spot is attracting attention with its well-prepared breakfast/lunch dishes, some from grandmother Mimi’s German-accented recipes and others from the proprietor’s own collection. The narrow floor-through space is contemporary rather than the frilly tearoom style that might be expected. The gray and white backdrop includes exposed ductwork painted black, and some of Charles Schridde’s landscapes are on the wall.
Two big chalkboards behind the counter on one side of the room spotlight the specialties, which include terrific Ethiopian coffee, fresh fruit smoothies and such dishes as carrot/ginger soup, housemade granola, roasted seasonal vegetables with hummus and French bread, and potato pancakes.
The kitchen also turns out interesting sandwiches, such as the open-face tomato, cheese and pesto topped with mixed greens in the subtle house vinaigrette. Several pesto variations are offered, from the classic basil to sun-dried tomato and a pesto du jour. Salads are equally distinctive, typified by the Reuben Chopped — corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, romaine and rye crostini with Thousand Island dressing. In other words, the ingredients of the Reuben sandwich translated into a salad.
Dressings are all housemade, and in fact, just about everything on the menu rates that designation from the mac & cheese with two cheeses and prosciutto to the German potato pancakes with applesauce.
This appealing spot is not a ham-and-eggery, although it does serve a Farmer’s Breakfast, a scramble of potatoes, onions, eggs, bacon and cheese, nor is it ladies-who-lunch style despite the banana bread and scones on pedestaled cake plates on the counter.
It has a refreshing personality of its own that will be underscored when the gallery opens later this year.
What the ratings mean: One star equals good, but routine; 2 good-plus; 2 and a half, very good; 3 excellent; and 4 outstanding, taking into account all of the elements of dining: food, atmosphere and service. 4 is the top rating.
15318 E. Jefferson at Beaconsfield,
Grosse Pointe Park
Call: (313) 922-4085
Rating: 2˝ stars (out of 4)
Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun.
Prices: Breakfast dishes $6-$9, sides $1-$4,
lunch sandwiches and salads $8-$9,
pastas $13 including salad, desserts $3-$6
Credit cards: All major
Noise level: Low
Parking: Rear lot or street
Wheelchair access: No barriers