Po boys by the freeway: New Brush Park restaurant serves a taste of New Orleans

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Brush Street Stadium Deli's proprietor knows a thing or two about hospitality. 

Mona Ross-Gardner is the owner of 234 Winter St. Inn, a small bed-and-breakfast in Brush Park, where she's lived for about three decades. Her latest venture is this new restaurant, which is less a deli and more a friendly bar and restaurant serving Cajun cuisine within eyeshot of both Ford Field and Comerica Park. 

Brush Street Stadium Deli is open on Brush at the E. Fisher Service Drive.

Opened last month to little fanfare, chef and owner Ross-Gardner said they've only had one busy day, a recent home game at Ford Field. She's hoping to get more folks in for lunch and dinner, though, to try her family recipes from the Big Easy. 

"I'm from New Orleans, so is my whole family, so there are generations of recipes, from the gumbo to the bread pudding, even the seasoning that we make the shrimp po boy out of ... we blend our flours and our cornmeal together with herbs and spices to actually make the seasoning for the batter for the shrimp po boys and the gator bites and the catfish po boys." 

The shrimp po boy is served on a long bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles and a spicy, flavorful remoulade sauce. There are also po boys stuffed with catfish, chicken, pulled pork, corned beef, Cajun sausage or black beans.

The cornbread fritters have bits of corn and jalapeno in them, and the gumbo is so thick you can eat it with a fork. Other sides at Brush Street are red beans and rice (vegetarian and otherwise), mac and cheese, coleslaw, and deep-fried corn on the cob. 

The shrimp po bo is one of the owner's family recipes.

There's a full bar with bottled and draft beers and cocktails. Happy hour is 4-6 p.m. Tues.-Fri. with $4-$5 drink specials. Ross-Gardner and her team also have deals on game days with margarita chicken wings with coleslaw for $7, bourbon pulled pork sliders for $7, $5 draft beers and other specials. 

The well-lit restaurant is broken into two rooms, with bar seating on one side and low tables on the other. Guests are asked to start a tab with a credit card when ordering, or pay cash upon placing an order, rather than paying a bill at the end of the meal.

Ross-Gardner, who is also the chair of the Brush Park Development Corporation, said she and others have been working on growth in this neighborhood for years. It's been a slow start, but she's hoping things pick up at the restaurant. 

"I'd like to see people come in and try some of our Southern cuisine, because it's new to Detroit.There are other Cajun restaurants but ours is a little unique in regards to the recipes that have been passed down for generations," she said, adding that before the restaurant the space was a nightclub called Visions. 

"It wasn't a really good fit for the community and this is more of a diverse type of restaurant. It offers an atmosphere that is friendly to all, and with the different types of food it gives you more of a homey type of environment, and then you still have the bar flair."

Brush Street Stadium Deli is at 2458 Brush in Detroit, and is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tues.-Sun. There is a parking lot in back that is free on game days, and always free for anyone picking up a carryout. Grubhub delivers, too. Visit brushstreetstadiumdeli.com or call  (313) 656-4640. 


Twitter: @melodybaetens

Brush Street Stadium Deli is two rooms, with a bar on one side and a well-lit dining area on the other.