Jim Lark, owner of beloved West Bloomfield restaurant the Lark, has died

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News
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Jim Lark, co-founder of the storied West Bloomfield Township restaurant the Lark, has died at age 90

After a full life of attending Law School at Georgetown University, traveling and serving in the United States Navy and co-founding Binder and Lark Building Company, which built affordable housing and developed subdivisions in the 1960s and '70s, he decided to open a restaurant with his wife Mary Lark in 1981. 

The Lark owner Jim Lark in 2007.

"Billed as a Southern European country inn," the Lark enjoyed years of support from the community and media, having landed on several best-of lists locally and nationally. A 1983 article in The Detroit News described it as a one of the area's "most popular and elegant" restaurants. 

He told the paper in 2003 that he and Mary had a simple principle to running the Lark: that it be the type of restaurant they'd like to visit. 

"We don't believe in a narrow approach," he said. "A discerning diner could turn the Lark into a New York steakhouse one night and a French brasserie the next, depending on what he or she chose. I like to think of the Lark as an ongoing experience." 

The Lark closed in 2015 so Jim and Mary could enjoy their retirement, said their daughter Adrian Lark. 

Visitation for Lark is Monday 4-6 p.m. at McCabe Funeral Home, 31950 W. 12 Mile in Farmington Hills. He will lie in-state at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday until a funeral mass at 1 p.m. at Prince of Peace Catholic Church, 4300 Walnut Lake in West Bloomfield. 

His family, which plans to hold a party celebrating his life later this year, ask that donations in Lark's memory be made to the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and the Father Solanus Casey Center. 

mbaetens@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @melodybaetens

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