When Mimi’s Bistro opened in midsummer 2014, it was just one long narrow room seating 24 for breakfast and lunch. Proprietor Mel Schridde had grander plans, however. And now, just a year later, she has a restaurant/gallery, with the adjoining space a haven of art, housing a changing array of exhibitions including the current one, “Our Rivers Our Lakes,” that offers works featuring Michigan.
It’s possibly the only art gallery that doubles as a dining room. It adds another 20 seats to the total with its five additional uncovered wooden tables. Breakfast and lunch are served there when there’s an overflow, and for the first time, dinner has been added Thursday through Saturday. The dinner menu will change as often as the art works.
There was a reason Schridde’s plans included a gallery. Her father, the late Charles Schridde, was a well-known artist, photographer and illustrator, and his paintings have been an integral part of the restaurant from the beginning.
It stands to reason that if the art is the real thing — and it is — the accompanying fare should be handcrafted too. And the kitchen responds, with from-scratch cooking that includes some of the signature dishes of Schridde’s family, including German potato pancakes from her great-grandmother’s collection and housemade gnocchi and linguine with Mel’s own sauce, a creamy tomato with a touch of port and Gorgonzola cheese, one of five sauces including classic marinara and mushroom cream.
The dinner menu includes, in addition to the notable fresh pastas and sauces, some main dish salads including another house special, the chopped Reuben, an invention of the proprietor’s, with all the elements of the classic sandwich cleverly re-interpreted as a salad with romaine, corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, rye crostinis and housemade Thousand Island dressing.
Another hefty salad at dinner is the Southwestern, combining corn, black beans, feta cheese, smoked turkey and black bean chips with another of the dressings, lime cilantro. The Michigan salad (fitting in nicely with the current exhibition) is a mix of greens, dried cherries, candied pecans, red onion and goat cheese teamed with raspberry vinaigrette. Any of the excellent dressings may be substituted.
A list of burgers, including the classic beef with tomato, lettuce and cheese, is featured with turkey and vegetarian versions as well. One evening’s special, soft shell tacos made with flour tortillas and marinated beef, with housemade pico de gallo and guacamole, had just the right balance of ingredients including a dollop of sour cream.
Schridde has covered all the bases, including offering some vegan choices, even vegan bread. Desserts include such house-baked sweets as orange, oatmeal and cranberry cookies, brown sugar bundt cake with caramel sauce and brownies.
Earlier in the day, egg dishes, pancakes, sandwiches typified by an open face tomato, onion, cheese and pesto topped with fresh greens, and interesting soups such as carrot ginger take the stage, and Schridde’s German heritage is a little more noticeable. Schmalz (a spread made with bacon, pork fat, onions and apples) is one of the sides offered.
The style at Mimi’s is best described as American with European touches, and it’s very appealing.
15318 E. Jefferson at Beaconsfield
Grosse Pointe Park
Call: (313) 922-4085
Hours: Breakfast and lunch 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Tues.-Wed.; breakfast, lunch and dinner 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Thurs.-Sat., breakfast 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sun. Closed Mon.
Prices: Breakfast $5-$9, lunch $5-$13, dinner entrees $10-$16, desserts $1.75-$6
Credit cards: All major
Noise level: Low
Parking: Street or rear lot
Wheelchair access: No barriers