Reporter Food: New Menu at Rosie O’Grady’s in Ferndale

Reporter Food: New Menu at Rosie O’Grady’s in Ferndale

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 26, 2018)

Ferndale, MI – Rosie O’Grady’s in Downtown Ferndale has long been an advertising sponsor of Oakland County Times, so it was exciting to be able to bring people from Pontiac, Holly, Davisburg and Royal Oak there for lunch when Main Street Oakland County had their Connected Downtowns Conference in Ferndale earlier this month.

And I was even more excited to hear they had just launched a new menu! They now have mac and cheese waffles, which is a nice serving of pasta and cheese cooked in a waffle iron and topped with shaved Parmesan served with a cheese sauce.  I had that with dill pickle fries, which were also amazing. And they came in an adorable little metal basket with a handle, which I thought was a nice touch and made sharing easy.

I was curious about the new menu so I sat with General Manager Michelle Lagrou and owner Brian Kramer about a week later to sample some more items and learn about their inspirations.

“We wanted to focus on our prices and on items that are more an individual size,” Lagrou said.  “We want people to be able to try more things so we brought the portions inline and made a menu that was really fun.”

I tried the Reuben egg rolls and the Brussels sprout Caesar wrap, which was a very interesting  and healthy twist on traditional Caesar.  It comes in a wrap and in a salad.

Other items on the menu were requested or inspired by friends and co-workers.  “My friend Angela, who lives on Ardmore, always talked about wanting the Turkey Club back, so we put that back on the menu,” she said.  “Erica, our events manager, came up with the three-way sandwich.  Dave, the bar manager, created Dave’s steak sandwich.  And Ashley, our marketing manager, wanted Mediterranean nachos”

Lagrou said she was determined to make salmon part of the menu. “Salmon is harder to do right in restaurants, but I thought it was important. So we have the salmon burger and blackened salmon. Those are the dishes I fought for.”

Kramer, who also owns Pop’s for Italian, One-Eyed Betty’s, Cantina Diablo’s and a second Rosie’s location in Chesterfield, was just as excited about the mac and cheese waffle as I am  There’s also a cauliflower waffle for those seeking a healthier option.

He’s also proud of the veggie burger.  It’s one they get from their distributor called the “impossible burger.” “This thing is so juicy and the right texture that people don’t even realize it’s a veggie burger,” he said. “And no meat ever touches the grill that we make it on.”

Kramer bought the original Rosie’s on W. Troy Street in 1999,  where One Eyed Betty’s currently is.  Before that he was a partner in Woody’s and Duggan’s, but wanted to take off on his own.  In 2008 he mortgaged his home and put everything he had into buying an eyeglass store and turning it into the current Rosie’s.  “It was a big bet,” he said.

At the time Ferndale was not a hot spot, but he’s watched it grow over the years and been a part of it.  “I love Ferndale. And we’re at a tipping point now, where we need to invest and continue to grow,” he said.

The City is preparing to put in a parking deck in the lot behind Rosie’s.  The deck is a mixed-use project that will also bring retail and office, with the potential for residential.  “It’s going to be hard this year.  I know it’s going to hurt business, but I’m going to use the time to do some remodeling here.  In the long term it’s something we need.  I remember joking years ago, saying ‘can you imagine being so successful that we have a parking problem?’  It’s not a bad problem to have.”

Our discussion ended with something amazing – a smore’s waffle, topped with marshmallows, whipped cream and chocolate syrup.  There are several inexpensive desert choices thanks to the goal of a more family-friendly atmosphere.  “I have kids. Brian has kids.  Most of us do.  We know how it is to go out to eat and how expensive that can be. A lot of families skip desert because of the cost, and we don’t want that to be an issue here,” Lagrou said.There’s also a chocolate brownie waffle, birthday waffle and an Elvis waffle topped with bananas, ice cream and peanut butter sauce.

Rosie O’Grady’s is located at 279 W Nine Mile Rd, Ferndale, MI 48220.  Check them out online at http://rosieogradysirishpub.com/ferndale/.

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