Much is blooming in Ferndale dining scene this spring

Melody Baetens

A hotbed for dining and nightlife, Ferndale and southern Oakland County will see some changes and additions to the bar and restaurant scene this spring.

First, Voyager is set to open at 600 Vester this month. The tiny raw bar and seafood restaurant will be just east of Ferndale’s downtown area; about a 10 minute walk east of Nine Mile and Woodward.

Voyager is owned by Eli Boyer, formerly of Gold Cash Gold. He’s signed on the culinary team of Justin Tootla and Jennifer Jackson, who are relocating to Michigan from Chicago. They are developing a menu that has a “coastal American vibe” featuring sustainable seafood and locally sourced ingredients.

Once open, Voyager, which will also serve cocktails, wine and craft beer, plans to host oyster education and pairing events.

A 10-minute walk the other way from Voyager, neighborhood hangout the Stop Spot has changed hands and is now Second Base Pub & Grub.

The new owners have made the windowless bar at 1309 E. Nine Mile look a little more spacious and less cluttered, and the menu has more options.

A lunch special earlier this week included pierogi, cod sandwich, corned beef sliders and black bean soup. They still serve round pizza as the Stop Spot was known for, but I’m told it’s not the exact recipe. I’ve never heard of a bad slice of pizza, though, so long as it’s fresh.

Besides “home made” pizza, the Stop Spot was also known for fun distractions like a shuffle board table and a Megatouch bar top machine. Both are gone.

Across from Second Base, where the Wing Hing Chinese restaurant was, Ferndale will get a food truck-themed restaurant called Detroit Fleat this summer.

According to the Oakland County Times website, the plan is to have local food trucks pull up and serve diners on an outdoor patio in warmer months, and an indoor bar and restaurant will operate year-round.

One of the most anticipated Ferndale openings coming up is Livernois Tap. It’s a beer hall for Axle Brewing Company on Livernois just north of Eight Mile. Besides beer from Axle — Livernois Lager, Axle Porter, Long Cut IPA and more — the culinary program will be run by the team behind Midtown’s popular Grey Ghost restaurant.

I got a glimpse at what to expect from Livernois Tap’s menu at a preview dinner last month at Grey Ghost. Naturally, it’s food that goes well with beer: ribs, brisket, wings and corn fritters. The preview also featured prawns, twice baked redskin potatoes and a charred salad.

Another brewing company set to debut soon is Urbanrest at 2615 Wolcott. Starting this spring they’ll make farmhouse ale and kumbucha. Sample it in their tasting room, or fill up a growler to-go.

Not far from the Ferndale border, Joe Bar is readying to open any minute in Hazel Park. Located next door to the mega-popular restaurant Mabel Gray at 23839 John R, Joe Bar will serve food and drinks.

More news around town

For the Love of Sugar Bakery will open this summer inside the Scott at Brush Park at 3150 Woodward in Detroit. The 1500-square-foot bakery offers custom cakes and macarons. This is the second firm announced for the mixed-use building. Restaurateur Michael Abrams, who owns 30 local Five Guys Burgers and Fries, said he’s signed a lease to open an American-style bistro on the first floor.

Looking for a good plate of fish and chips during Lent? Warren’s Commonwealth Club, a nonprofit British social club, serves English-style fish and chips with mushy peas every Friday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. You don’t need to be a member to visit the club, which also has dart boards, a fireplace lounge and a full bar. Find it at 30088 Dequindre. Call (586) 751-9560.

Another seafood-friendly option is the new Kickin’ Bourbon Shrimp sub at Tubby’s. The Metro Detroit-based sandwich chain will offer the item — which has shrimp with bourbon sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion — through April 16 for $6-$11.80, depending on size.

Polpetta Meatball Cafe opened at 126 S. Old Woodward in Birmingham recently. Proprietor Sam Abdelfatah also owns the nearby Brooklyn Pizza. An all-day fundraiser for Birmingham Public Schools will be held at Polpetta on March 19.

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens