The third anniversary of the 40-seat Corktown diner Brooklyn Street Local slid right by before husband and wife team Jason Yates and Deveri Gifford noticed. It took one of the guests to remind them that, yes, Saturday, May 16, was a milestone.
The couple from Canada bought the squat little structure in 2012, unaware that they were just ahead of the curve. They got in before the prices started to escalate as Corktown became one of the places to be in downtown Detroit.
In any case, the couple had no intention of turning their spot into a trendy restaurant. Instead, they wanted to concentrate on fresh, locally grown and organic ingredients for an early day menu, and that's exactly what they did, immediately attracting a crowd that appreciated what they were trying to do and unconcerned over the lack of trappings in the casual spot where the dining room and kitchen shared one room. Décor is not the strong suit here, and those who appreciate the freshly prepared fare don't care at all.
The plates that emerge from the kitchen behind the half wall that separates it from the tables are what people come for: fluffy omelets teamed with fresh fruit garnishes — where do they get the wonderful strawberries? — sandwiches on sturdy Avalon bread, and one of the house specialties, poutine, the French-Canadian dish served with their hand-cut fries, organic cheese curds and either mushroom or beef gravy. A breakfast version comes with a sunny-side up egg and bacon, and just so no one feels left out, both vegetarian and vegan versions.
Paper menus on clipboards are augmented with a chalkboard on the back wall listing daily specials that include two soups — artichoke and Parmesan and a rich mushroom typify the choices — and the quiche of the day. Gifford makes the quiches every morning, and judging by the fresh asparagus version that was on the menu last week, they are special.
Like so many of the dishes, quiches are served with fresh fruit and a scattering of ruffly greens in the subtle house vinaigrette. The menu expands on Saturday and Sunday when they combine breakfast and lunch dishes and add banana walnut pancakes, eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine to the array.
The chalkboard also lists the sources for the ingredients, from Brother Nature and its herbs and greens, to organic cheese and grass-fed beef from Oliver Farms, Great Lakes coffee for the array of coffee drinks, Mondo Chocolate, and Guernsey Dairy ice cream and Vernor's Ginger Ale for the Boston coolers. Menu listings are straightforward and free of cliches ("grilled to perfection" is nowhere to be seen).
For those who want a little more in the way of atmosphere, the flower-bedecked patio with its umbrella-shaded tables certainly provides it.
Brooklyn Street Local
1266 Michigan, Detroit
Call: (313) 262-6547
Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tues.-Fri., 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Closed Mon.
Prices: Breakfast dishes $6-$11, lunch burgers and sandwiches $7-$10, egg dishes and quiches $8-$11, soups and salads $5-$7
Credit cards: All major
Noise level: Moderate
Parking: Small attached lot and street
Wheelchair access: No barriers