(Crystal A. Proxmire, Dec. 7, 2017)
Ferndale, MI – With so many quality restaurants in Downtown Ferndale, how do you stay a cut above the competition? Not just with good food, but with experience says Detroit Axe co-founder Geoff Kretchmer.
Kretchmer and Brian Siegel have transformed the former Local Kitchen space at 344 W. 9 Mile into a new restaurant concept that includes a 27-seat bar, modestly priced appetizers and dinner options, an area full of board games and an upstairs axe-throwing arena with a dozen lanes.
The idea is new to Ferndale, but is more common in Canadian pubs and Renaissance Festivals.
Lanes are partitioned by chain-link fencing, with an “axemaster” overseeing two lanes of competition. The axemaster explains the rules and makes sure each competitor is comfortable with the throwing technique. There are wooden targets and bullseyes are the best. The axemaster also makes it easy by keeping score.
“Safety is our number one priority,” said Kretchmer in an interview at the establishment’s grand opening party Wednesday evening. “All of our axemasters are TIPS trained so they can recognize if anyone has had too much to drink, and if there is any aggression at all – even if they are throwing too aggressively – they won’t be able to participate.”
Individual axe-throwing costs $20 per hour and can be done on a walk in basis if lanes are available. But the idea is really to attract larger groups and parties. Groups of 6-72 people are welcome to sign up for a 2.5 hour experience to enjoy a tournament. There are also food and beverage options.
Those wishing to simply drink or dine in also have access to a whole wall of board games for less strenuous table-top fun.
Siegel and Kretchmer are not new to the idea of experience-themed restaurants. Kretchmer, who owned Local, also owns Star Trax entertainment and event company. Another partner owns Joe Dumars Fieldhouse. “I’m in the interactive entertainment business and I wanted to bring up the energy of everyone in this place. I want crazy good service and crazy good food,” Kretchmer said. “People don’t just want to eat, they want to have an experience, something they can talk about and remember.”
The menu includes small plates and appetizers, as well as some more sophisticated dinner options. “This is a place for everybody,” Kretchmer said. “I want people to be able to get a shared appetizer, a meal and a drink and still be under $20 a person. But we also have some really good options for those who want to spend a little more.”
Detroit Axe, and it’s “The Corner” restaurant, is expected to officially open to the public on Dec. 11, and they are already taking reservations for groups at their website www.detroitaxe.com.