Support group for hospitality workers struggling with addiction launches Detroit chapter

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Ben’s Friends, a support group for those in the hospitality industry who struggle with addiction, has expanded to Metro Detroit. 

Meetings will be from 11 a.m.-noon Mondays starting Monday at Frame inside Joebar in Hazel Park. This chapter is led by frequent Frame collaborator Michael Barrera and another longtime member of the local food scene, Cathy Colombo. 

Ben's Friends founders Steve Palmer and Mickey Bakst

Restaurateurs Steve Palmer and Mickey Bakst founded Ben’s Friends in 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina, in honor of their friend chef Ben Murray, who died after struggling with alcoholism. Bakst is a Detroit native. 

“Being involved with Tapawingo and then Tribute for over 20 years, the Michigan and Detroit restaurant communities are family to me,” Bakst said in a media alert announcing the chapter. “Bringing this program ‘home’ to help members of the food and beverage industry here in Detroit is truly a dream come true. Our hope is to help anyone struggling with addiction find their way to sobriety.”

Ben’s Friends has chapters in 14 cities across the country and offers virtual meetings, men-only meetings and women-only meets. Visit for more information.

Twitter: @melodybaete