The Whitney's Cityfest plays host to seasonal dinners, beer launch, bourbon tasting and more

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

The Whitney, one of the city's most regal and storied restaurants, is as much a destination as it is a place to eat. This is partially why the team there has launched Cityfest, a series of food events that aim to showcase the different facets of the Midtown mansion. 

The Whitney restaurant in Midtown Detroit

The second annual Cityfest kicks off this week with ticketed dinners for beer-lovers, opera enthusiasts, ghost hunters, lobster fans and more. There's also an evening to celebrate one of the restaurant community's longtime champions, Jewish News restaurant columnist Danny Raskin. 

"We're a special place that does a lot of special things," says the Whitney's director of operations David Duey. "We look at what’s going on in Detroit and with all of the new, hip, upcoming boutique restaurants that seem to come and go, we didn’t want people to forget that the Whitney has been here for 32 years."

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Here are some of the highlights of the events that still have tickets available. A paranormal dinner and some other parties are already sold out. 

Brewery's Feast, Friday: This dinner will host the debut of Florah's Kiss, a new lavender lager made especially for the Whitney and named after the home's former owner, Florah Whitney. The beer-centric event includes a strolling dinner in the mansion's garden and a road trip to Atwater Brewery for a tour and beer tastings. 6:30-10 p.m. Fri. $75. 

Lobster Bake, Saturday: A fundraiser for Cass Community Social Services, this New England-style feast is accompanied by live music with the Brett Lucas Band. The menu starts with a trip to the raw bar, followed by chowder, salad, Maine lobster, Alaskan king crab, clams, mussels, corn, potatoes and dessert, plus a ton of champagne. 6:30-10:30 p.m. Sat. $95. 

Art, Bubbles and Brunch, Sunday: Take a shuttle to view the murals in Eastern Market. Enjoy a plated brunch before the trip, and dessert and a guided tour of the Whitney upon returning. Seatings at 10 and 11:30 a.m. $79. 

Honey Bee Dinner, Monday: This honey-centric meal with drinks and four courses is a fundraiser for Bees in the D. 6:30-9:30 p.m. $60. 

B-4, Wednesday: The four B's here are bourbon, beer, barbecue and Brawlers, as in local jump swing band the Brunswick Brawlers. Tickets include appetizers, Florah's Kiss lavender lager, a sip of the Whitney's own Mansion Reserve bourbon, live music, strolling buffet dinner, and a cigar afterglow with comedy show. 6:30-11 p.m. $125. 

Broadway on Woodward, Sept. 19: Sip champagne on arrival as members of the Michigan Opera Theater Studio perform hits from Broadway. Cash bar and full menu available for purchase. $25 for entry. VIP tables available. 

The Whitney's executive chef Natasha Vitti

Ladies' Night, Sept. 20: The Whitney's executive chef Natasha Vitti presents a night of food and drink with the help of other women who are leaders in the culinary industry locally. Singer-songwriter Rochelle Clark performs. 7-10 p.m. $125.  

Autumn and Apples Tea, Sept. 21: A four-course harvest lunch that includes apple-based teas, ciders and cocktails. Noon-2:30 p.m. $70. 

Danny Raskin Legacy Dinner, Sept. 22: The Whitney honors 100-year-old Detroit journalist and restaurant columnist Danny Raskin. The evening begins with a champagne reception, followed by strolling dinner, entertainment and award presentation. There's an open bar. Black-tie is optional. Twenty percent of proceeds will benefit a charity of Raskin's choice. 6-10 p.m. $150. 

Visit for more information or to purchase tickets. Call the Whitney, 4421 Woodward, at (313) 832-5700.

Twitter: @melodybaetens