Anita’s Kitchen owners to open AK Takeaway downtown
Opening this fall, the fast-casual concept will serve fresh Lebanese fare for breakfast, lunch, catering and carryout
Anita’s Kitchen’s locally famous chicken feta fattoush, hummus, falafel, chicken wings and more will soon be available in downtown Detroit.
The owners of the popular Lebanese restaurant in Ferndale are readying to debut AK Takeway, the latest outpost of the brand started in Metro Detroit by co-owner Jennifer Wegrzyn’s parents, Anita and Pierre Farah, nearly 40 years ago.
Opening this fall, AK Takeway will be in the 150 West Jefferson building at Griswold and Larned. Jennifer and her husband, Joe Wegrzyn, are aiming to offer breakfast, lunch and catering service in a fast-casual setting that seats around 40 guests inside and out.
The menu will feature many favorites from the Anita’s in Ferndale, and the Troy location that closed in 2011 after many years of business. It’ll be “very salad-centric,” along with Lebanese offerings like hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, chicken and beef shawarma, shish kafta, tomato kibbeh, grape leaves and their outstanding chicken wings with creamy feta dressing.
“We’re going to be serving Old World food in a new world way,” said Joe Wegrzyn. “Really, the premise is relying on the recipes that have been Jennifer’s mother’s that have been passed down through the restaurant since it originated back in 1980 in Farmington. It was fast-casual then.”
The Wegrzyns say Anita’s Kitchen brand is coming full circle with this new fast-casual spot downtown that is similar to the original location.
Anita and Pierre Farah opened their first Anita’s Kitchen in 1980 at Tally Hall, a food court and hangout space in Farmington that closed around 1990. After, Anita’s Kitchen opened an outpost in the same location around 14 Mile and Orchard Lake that operated until 2005. A Troy location operated for several years until 2011 and the Ferndale restaurant will celebrate its 10-year milestone this January.
In addition to opening AK Takeaway, the Wegrzyns are are also opening a commissary in Ferndale so they can offer more baked goods from baker Ann St. Peter, who supplies goods for the Ferndale Anita’s.
“She’s joining the ranks of Anita’s Kitchen,” said Joe.
“The menu is not finalized, so this may change, but we’re going to do a house-made granola, banana bread, oatmeal date bars, ginger molasses cookies, seasonal muffins, popovers ...” Jennifer said.
Anita’s Kitchen will branch out into the beverage market, too. They already make their own freshly squeezed lemonade and mint iced tea, and in the future plan to develop a line of cold-pressed juices, cold brew coffee and kombucha.
At AK Takeaway, these types of beverages will be offered, along with herbal teas, but no Coke or Pepsi products. The downtown spot will also have customizable breakfast and lunch bowls and grab-and-go items.
“What we’re trying to do with the menu is clean, organic, fresh and urban,” said Jennifer. “I feel like AK Takeaway is just an updated version of Anita’s Kitchen, it’s a branch of it.”
Joe adds that while newer restaurants are boasting farm-to-table and fresh ingredients like it’s a new thing, it’s something that Anita’s Kitchen has been doing for years. In Ferndale the produce comes in fresh daily partly because they don’t have enough space to hold inventory.
“As we advance even within these menus, were really looking at more natural products when it comes to chicken, we’re looking at alternatives with our beef products so that everything is as healthy as we can make it and then mixing with ancient grains and then the fresh produce that we’ve always used,” he said.
“We’re really just trying to bring a super healthy, light appeal and taking advantage of what is now just a completely 100 percent occupied corporate American downtown.”
Opening this Fall
150 West Jefferson Building, Griswold and Larned, Detroit
22651 Woodward, Ferndale
(248) 548-0680 or anitaskitchenonline.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri., noon-10 p.m. Sat. and noon-9 p.m. Sun.