More than a year ago, restaurateur Thom Bloom gave me a tour of a gutted, 10,000-square-foot space on E. Nine Mile that would become Otus Supply, his bar, restaurant and music venue in downtown Ferndale.
I prodded him throughout the year about when he thought it may open. First it was late 2015, then the plan was spring. Now he’s confident that food and beverage service will be ready to go for the public on Tuesday.
Last week at I got a peek at the finished product and understood why it took more than a year to finish. Details of this quality take time.
Named after a genus of owl, the restaurant has an incredibly interesting design that conjures comparisons to the world of Harry Potter, with some steampunk touches. Although brand new, different areas of the dining room — separated by walls with circular doorways that are a nod to an owl’s nest — look lived-in and inviting.
Chicago-based designer Alex Morales has created a space that gives diners a reason to look up from their menus and cell phones and enjoy the surrounding view. One wall is made of reclaimed wooden pallets, which leads into a room with walls like leather patchwork. That leads into a library-like space with silver, gold and black damask wallpaper. Another wall has bits of assorted wood and legs of wooden tables and chairs tacked to it and painted over one grayish-white color.
Art is everywhere at Otus Supply, which has a bar inside the 150-seat dining area, and another inside an adjacent live music room.
Metro Detroit artist Malt designed a mural of colorful birds for the lobby, and Kobie Solomon (he did the lion mural at Russel Industrial Center that is visible from Interstate 75) has two pieces inside the restaurant, including a 50-foot mural in the front of the dining area where garage doors can roll up to allow open-air dining in appropriate weather.
Bloom says chef Myles McVay is preparing to debut a farm-to-table menu that is inspired by the bounty of the Great Lakes region and uses no GMOs or corn syrups. Much of the food served — including the shrubs and tonic used in the craft cocktails — will be made in-house from scratch. Details of the menu are under wraps, but we know that there will be some small plates, handmade pasta, pizza and other items prepared in a wood-fired oven.
McVay, who has worked at D’Matos and Opus One to name a few places, is also a rock musician in the Detroit band Dirtwolf. This is just one of many components of Otus Supply that connects it to the local music scene.
Bloom and his partner at Otus Supply, Scott Myrick, have known each other since the early 1990s when they were in the local concert business. So it’s no wonder they carved out a special place at their new venue for live music.
The live music area is called the Parliament room. It’s named after the term for group of owls (and also because “we don’t hate George Clinton,” Bloom says). The room has its own bar and room for 200-300 people, depending on the setup.
Music industry veteran Scott Guy and Detroit-based promoter and talent buyer Joe Choma will work on booking acts. Upcoming shows include Greg Burns and Friends on Dec. 30 and Kitchen Dwellers and Whistle Stop Revue on Dec. 31. Both shows will serve as after-parties for the Greensky Bluegrass shows at Royal Oak Music Theatre. The Rebirth Brass Band will play Jan. 16.
Michigan hitmakers from the 1990s, the Verve Pipe, will perform Saturday. Drinks will be flowing that night, but Bloom says food service won’t be available until next week.
Otus Supply is at 345 E. Nine Mile in Ferndale. Visit otussupply.com.
■Another Ferndale restaurant named after a bird, Black Eagle pop-up kitchen (which operates out of the Bosco) will debut a brunch menu this weekend. Sweet and savory “brunch bowls” will be served 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The Bosco, which also has a full bar, is at 22930 Woodward.
■A second MEX location will open at Great Lakes Crossing Friday. The original MEX opened in 2013 in Bloomfield Hills. It’s owned and operated by Peas & Carrots Hospitality, which also oversees Social Kitchen & Bar in Birmingham and Beau’s Grillery in Bloomfield Hills. The 6,000-square-foot restaurant will serve lunch and dinner and is at the entrance of District 6, near Legoland Discovery Center.