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Cheers: June overflows with chef takeovers, pop-ups


Some in Metro Detroit will be eating well this June, which is overflowing with one-of-a-kind dining events, pop-ups and guest chef takeovers.

Michigan-grown fruits and vegetables are bountiful this time of year, and chefs Jen Blakeslee and Eric Patterson of Cook’s House restaurant in Traverse City and chef Brandon Zarb of Public House in Ferndale will take advantage of this with an all-local, one-day-only collaboration menu on June 7.

Zarb invited Blakeslee and Patterson to join him at Public House (241 W. Nine Mile) and showcase what they do at their 26-seat casual spot where they serve sustainable, farm-to-fork food. Cook’s House regularly offers cooking classes and guests chefs (Detroit-area chefs Derik Watson is there June 26 and Kate Williams cooks in Sept. 18).

The menu on June 7 will be served noon-11 p.m. No reservations or tickets required, just stop by any time that day and squeeze in where you can. Menu items — there will be around a dozen — will be around $6-$24.

Continuing his promise to open his Mabel Gray kitchen to guest chefs, James Rigato is bringing his “Top Chef” co-star Rebecca LaMalfa to the Hazel Park restaurant for a brunch takeover on June 4.

LaMalfa is the chef de cuisine at Virgin Hotels in Chicago. The California native is married to Thomas Lents, chef at the newly-opened Apparatus Room at the Detroit Foundation Hotel.

Those who can nab a reservation during the three hours of service from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. will enjoy LaMalfa’s Michigan cherry sour cream buttermilk doughnut, green chili huevos rancheros or smoked salmon avocado toast. The a la carte menu is $1.50-$4.15 per item. Call (248) 398-4300 to reserve your seat at Mabel Gray, 23825 John R in Hazel Park.

For brunch and more, chef Meiko Krishok of mobile restaurant Pink Flamingo will cook at the Beat Match Benefit Brunch at Bank Suey, 10345 Jos Campau in Hamtramck, also on June 4 at 11 a.m. The event is a fundraiser for the Seraphine Collective, a community of feminist musicians and artists. They’ve been offered a matching grant from the Knight Foundation if $15,000 can be raised by November.

Krisok’s farm-to-table brunch will be accompanied by cocktails from Our/Detroit and sweets from Bon Bon Bon. Besides the food and drink, the party includes DJs like Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale, Izzy Johnson and more. Get tickets, $75, via

Next door to Mabel Gray, joebar will host its second chef residency at Frame, a dining space located in the back of the newly opened bar and restaurant at 23839 John R.

Katoi is wrapping up its final few services at Frame with five seatings this weekend, and, starting June 2, chef Garrett Lipar will take over. Lipar is known for wowing both diners and critics at Torino, a tasting-menu-only restaurant in Ferndale that was forced to close two years ago because of space issues.

After Torino, Lipar worked at Grosse Pointe’s Marais, and for his efforts there was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year.

While he’s readying to open his new Detroit restaurant Albena, Lipar will hold court at Frame throughout June, serving a seven course meal over two hours. Tickets, $85 per person, can be purchased at

Lipar’s menu at Frame will feature perch in garlic buttermilk, veal with grilled courgettes and legumes, garden sherbert with lemon peel and rhubarb red tea poke cake.

If you’re interested in Lipar’s food, I recommend hitting up one of the Frame dinners. Once Albena opens this fall, there will be a frenzy to get in the eight-seat, chef’s counter restaurant.

After Katoi finishes up its Frame stint, nomadic chef Brad Greenhill and crew will move on to a one-night-only event at Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (4454 Woodward). The ticketed dinner will have two seatings, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 or $75 for MOCAD members and can be purchased at

Considered widely to be one of the best restaurants in Detroit, Katoi opened in Corktown in March 2016 and closed in February after being damaged by a fire set by a burglar. Since then the staff has been popping up around town while the Thai-inspired restaurant is rebuilt.

A note about the price. The last two events list a per-person ticket price that exceeds what one diner would normally spend in a restaurant. I mention these under the suggestion of attending as a special occasion. Coupling a chef with a unique place that they many never cook in again is a rare event. Another thing to consider if you have sticker shock is supply and demand. Events like this regularly sell out, in spite of the cost.

Here are some more chef takeovers and special dining events taking place next month:

Camp Bacon 2017 with Chef Sarah Welch at Revolver is part of the five-day bacon, film and music event presented by Zingerman’s. Welch will prepare a five-course meal that has bacon in every course, including dessert. 9 p.m. June 2. $65. 9737 Jos Campau, Hamtramck.

Preeti Grewal will also cook at Revolver this month, bringing a Northern Indian feast for four seatings. This chef’s Revolver debut in November sold out with a long wait list. 6 and 9 p.m. June 9 and 5 and 8 p.m. June 10. $55. 9737 Jos Campau, Hamtramck.

Trivium chefs Jason Layman, Neil Murphy and Kyle Williams serve a seven-course meal inspired by their favorite fast food items at US 12 Bar and Grill. 6 p.m. June 25. $55. 34824 W. Michigan, Wayne.

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens