Millennial Detroiter to open brunch 'loft' in Rivertown
One of the city's newest restaurant owners is 24-year-old Micah Jenkins, and she wants to up the game when it comes to brunch in Detroit.
For the past several months, she's been working on the Breakfast Loft, a brunch and breakfast restaurant on the third floor of 1440 Franklin in Detroit's Rivertown neighborhood. The building is also home to Steve's Soul Food; owner Steve Radden is Jenkins' mentor, she says.
Her parents know Radden, who opened his restaurant more than 30 years ago, and he hired Jenkins to help him with some branding for his businesses. Jenkins studied advertising and marketing at Michigan State and has her own marketing business.
"We started just bouncing ideas off each other," she said. "What if there was this place where we can kind of bring in the older generation and the younger generation and I thought the best thing (was) to do it over breakfast."
She said she has memories of going to local coney diners and breakfast spots like the nearby Clique Restaurant with her parents and grandparents, and she wanted to be able to offer a family-friendly place that was also seen as upscale casual with a bar (Jenkins will serve a sangria/rosé drink that she's very excited about, among other breakfast-friendly cocktails).
Some of the menu highlights will be seafood omelets, quiche, breakfast sandwiches and a house-made waffle-biscuit hybrid.
The Breakfast Loft concept was born also in part because in Jenkins' many visits to Los Angeles to visit her brother, she saw how big brunch was in California.
"The brunch scene is probably bigger than the dinner scene," she says of L.A. "Although quite a lot of new restaurants are opening in Detroit, and it's becoming this super cosmopolitan city, I was like, we don't really have this brunch culture ... that's one of the things I wanted to bring here."
Jenkins has been opening the Breakfast Loft on and off since May on the weekends for buffet service. She's planning to open officially on Sept. 8 with a buffet brunch she'll have every Sunday. Monday-Saturday service will be a regular menu.
The spacious restaurant, which has a view of the Detroit River and seats around 125 in cozy booths and at a square bar, was formerly the Key Lounge. A new apartment community, Orleans Landings, is just a stone's throw away.
Jenkins, who originally planned to be a fashion buyer, said she never thought she'd be in the restaurant industry and calls her plan "a leap of faith."
"I’m excited. I like a challenge," she said. "I like being in environments when I’m not comfortable. So this is definitely that. I’m learning as I go."
The Breakfast Loft opens Sept. 8 at 1440 Franklin in Detroit. Enter through the main floor and take the elevator to the third level. Hours aren't set in stone yet but are planned for 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun. Visit thebreakfastloft.com for reservations.