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Whitney Cityfest includes Legacy Dinner, bourbon debut

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
The exterior of the Detroit classic, The Whitney, along Woodward Ave., now serving lunch, in Detroit, Michigan on December 28, 2016.  (The Detroit News/ Daniel Mears)

Beloved Midtown mansion-turned-restaurant the Whitney will be hosting Cityfest, a week of specialty dining events in mid-September.

As part of the event, the city institution will present a Legacy Dinner honoring Sue Mosey of Midtown Detroit and Wayne State University Police Chief Tony Holt 

The black tie optional event is $250 per person, and 20 percent of proceeds will be donated to selected charities of the honorees’ choice. The party includes a champagne reception, strolling dinner, open bar and live entertainment throughout the mansion. 

“We think honoring the two people who have arguably done more for Midtown than anybody else is a great way to cap our Cityfest celebration,” said Whitney owner Bud Liebler in a press release. “Sue and Tony have been here from the beginning. We owe them a lot.”

Liebler says Cityfest, which includes themed dinners and other events from Sept. 14-23, is all about “celebrating the revived spirit of Detroit through unique culinary experiences and worthwhile charitable events.” Many of the events will raise funds for local charities. 

Another highlight of Cityfest is Ladies Night on Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. This dining event is hosted by the Whitney’s executive chef Natasha Vitti and aims to showcase some of the best trendsetters in Michigan’s food scene and other women who are changing the culinary scene, plus live jazz from Chrissy Morgan and Susie Woodman. Tickets are $125 and partial proceeds will benefit the Girls Changing the Game charity. 

The Whitney hosts paranormal dinners throughout the year, and Cityfest will include a Sept. 16 "Dining with the Spirits" event ($150). As part of this, guests will enjoy several courses throughout the mansion, including in the basement coal bin.

The restaurant will also use Cityfest as a platform to debut its own beer, wine and bourbon.  

The kick off event on Sept. 14 will be a Brewery’s Feast introducing the restaurant’s Ghost of David Whitney Amber Ale. A $75 ticket gets your a strolling beer-themed dinner, beer cocktails, demos, tastings and live music from Ryan Dillaha and the Miracle Men. 

Cityfest will also mark the debut of the Whitney’s private label champagne at a brunch event on Sept. 16. In addition to a strolling brunch, dessert and live music, the $75 ticket includes a shuttle to the Murals in the Market event at Eastern Market. 

The Whitney has also teamed up with Detroit Distillery to produce Mansion Reserve bourbon. On Sept. 19, the mansion will host an event in the garden ($125) with appetizers and whiskey, followed by a field trip to the distillery in Eastern Market for a sip of Mansion Reserve right from the barrel, followed by a barbecue buffet and live music back at the mansion. 

The Whitney is located at 4421 Woodward in Detroit. For a full schedule, visit

Twitter: @melodybaetens