Ferndale Restaurant Scene Revs Cautiously Back Up

Ferndale Restaurant Scene Revs Cautiously Back Up

(Crystal A. Proxmire, June 10, 2020)

Ferndale, MI – The COVID-19 outbreak put the brakes on Ferndale’s thriving food scene. But as the state lifts restrictions, the taste for more than take-out is growing again among customers who want a break from social isolation.

As the shutdowns first began, the Kramer Restaurant Group was among the first to adapt for carryout service, with One Eyed Betty’s and Pop’s for Italian serving up popular items to go through the pandemic.

Now their doors are open again, with reservations available on www.OpenTable.com. Items include the Betty Burger, Vegan Soy Tacos, Sweedish Meatballs, BTL Handwiches and more.  And of course warm fresh-made donuts for dessert.

Sister restaurant Rosie O’Grady’s is take a step back in time with their re-opening menu.  PIZZAISBACK is the theme as Chef Edward Jeffrey makes an old school favorite. “Our time of curbside only was time well spent,” Jeffrey said.

“I operated Rosie O’Grady’s in its original location from 1999 to 2009.  I’ve spent the intervening years fulfilling various positions within the company and I’m happy to be back in Ferndale.  Rosie’s original was known for pizza and it just didn’t feel natural that we weren’t serving it.

“We have invested in a brand new pizza ovens and spent our “alone” time mixing and baking and throwing out mistakes in order to bring a great pizza back to Rosie’s and the community.  Along the way we also came up with a stand out grinder bread.  Baked fresh daily.  Let’s just say if you try it we are very confident that once won’t be enough.  In order to promote safety in our kitchen we pared back the menu.  If it’s on the menu, it’s great and we can’t wait for everyone to try it.”

Options include the BLT, the Spin-Art Blackened Chicken, and the Crunchy Hawaiian.  Also available are The Omnivore,  The Herbivore, and The Carnivore.  Patrons can also build their own with a nice selection of toppings.  Rosie’s still offers burgers, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers like wings, bread sticks, and spinach artichoke dip.

Also part of the KRG family is Pop’s for Italian which opened for dine-in service by reservation this week.  “We have made many changes to ensure both the safety of our guest, but also our staff. We also have moved our tables around to provide ample amount of space for each experience. Pop’s is currently operating on reservation only so please visit our website to plan your next visit! www.popsforitalian.com,” boasted their Facebook Page.

Danny’s Irish Pub reopened this week as well, with a capacity of 30 people – keeping to the rule of 50% occupancy.  Imperial reopened Monday with plexi-glass partitions.  Among the others opening this week are Bobcat Bonnies’, The Emory, J’s Penalty Box, Imperial, Christine’s Cuisine and several more. 

Up the road on 1820 East Nine Mile is Detroit Fleat, which has outdoor seating and inside service with Detroit Fleat food, as well as a Taco Trailer and two food trucks, which currently are Pita Post and Impasto Italian Wraps. There’s also a Slooshie bar trailer with boozy frozen beverages and a couple draft beer options.  The Slooshie bar will be a sporadic feature as the staff adjusts to “the new normal.”

For Fleat this means switching from table service to a walk-up counter, limited capacity, and a temporarily expanded outdoor seating area.

Owner Aaron Tye spent the weeks “off” making renovations to the patio area.  “We are excited for everyone to come take a look,” he said.

All of the restaurants have been working with the Oakland County Health Division to ensure safe distancing and safety protocols.  All staff members are to be screened at the beginning of their shift, including with a temperature check.  Gloves and masks are a must, as well as frequent sanitation.  Guests are asked to wear face masks until seated.  And each venue has a capacity of 50% their pre-COVID capacity.

Unfortunately, some restaurants won’t make it back open at all.

Michigo Pizza has been gutted, and Nello’s Eatery at 25994 Woodward Ave, just up the road in Royal Oak, now has a for lease sale out front.  Also not returning will be GreenSpace Café, who closed at the end of January, a decision unrelated to the COVID-19 crisis.

Some, like Dino’s Lounge, are waiting to see how things go before making the leap to reopen, and Howe’s Bayou is leaving us in suspense as they are close to being able to open, but not yet sure of the date.

But even in the midst of hard times, there are still new beginnings.  Balkan House Ferndale opened earlier this year, and has managed to weather the storm with a solid carryout business, including their famous doner kebab and baklava.

And the community finally has been able to welcome Got Pho? after months of a sign in the window and COVID-related delays.

Got Pho? features many Thai favorites including stir fried noodles, fried rice, Sweet and Sour chicken, stir fried entrees, and of course seven different kinds of pho.

For more on local Ferndale businesses check out www.DowntownFerndale.com and www.FerndaleAreaChamber.com.  For more on restaurants throughout Oakland County, check out our Reporter Food column index, sponsored by White Castle.

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