Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's about time that I get back to this!

The Whitney is coming along very nicely, indeed. We've made a number of changes to the building and gardens and have more in the works. We're making progress. The place is looking better and better and will continue to improve. (And remember, it was already a beautiful, one of a kind place to behin with!)

We've also made a number of changes to the staff adding our new General Manager, Geoffrey Browning, earlier this summer. You may remember Geoffrey from his 20 years on the scene at Joe Muer's. He managed Joe Muer's Grill in Southfield after Joe closed his revered downtown location and later opened Deep Blue on the same site on Southfield Road. He knows restaurants and he's making The Whitney hum.

A new Executive Chef, Michael Lutes, started yesterday. Michael has years of experience in Detroit at The Golden Mushroom, Tribute, Motor City Casino, and his own venture in Grosse Pointe, Lunch Box Deli, Inc. He also spent time at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and came to us directly from New Orleans where he was Executive Chef at Joel's Catering handling events for as few as two people to as many as 2,500. He's happy to be back home in Detroit and we're happy to have him. Watch for our menu to evolve.

A new dining room manager, Dawn Dorsey, joins the team later this month from Friday's in Sterling Heights. Dawn has years of experience in the metro Detroit area including serving as General Manager at Northern Lakes Seafood Company and a corporate trainer for the Matt Prentice Restaurant Group.

Master Sommalier Claudia Tyagi remains happily (for us!) on the scene and has given us a wonderful wine list including a wide selection of Michigan wines which are gaining in reputation as fine wines nationally, plus, of course, the California, French, German, Australian and other international wines you'd expect to find in a fine dining establishment. We have lots of wines in lots of choices -- by the glass, by the half bottle or by the bottle. Ask Claudia if you have any questions about any of them!

So we're charging ahead, getting ready for a kind of "re-Grand Opening" in the Fall. We want to make The Whitney, THE WHITNEY!, and the place to be in Detroit. It's gonna happen, ladies and gentlemen. C'mon in and check us out!


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hello Whitney Fans

I hope you're still out there.

It's been awhile since I've posted anything but we're going to try to be more regular in the future.

Business is good, thank you. Comments are excellent. People -- including the local restaurant critics --seem to like Chef J's food and the ambiance we're trying to create. We've had more and more walk-in business (i.e., no reservations) at lunch time and our brunches and dinners have been busy, lively and fun. On Easter Sunday we were so busy I found myself bussing tables, which must have been a real treat for the professionals watching me stumble about!

Soon we'll be ripping up the front of the place to repair the fence and put in new walks and lawns and remove that big, ugly (to me anyway) awning to let the house shine through. We're also looking at some new carpeting for selected areas.

Meanwhile, yes, Virginia, we do have an answering machine and we are attempting to make sure the phone is answered whenever you call and that somebody will get back to you as soon as possible if they aren't there to answer your call. We apologize to anyone who had a different experience, and we thank you for letting us know about it.

And, yes, Virginia, we will be having garden parties again this summer, hopefully more than in past years and with some fun new twists. We're also trying to figure out if we can serve lunches and dinners in the garden from time to time.

So we're up and running. Up and learning. Up and pleasing -- hopefully, delighting -- our guests. We hope you'll stop by for lunch, dinner, brunch, dessert or cocktails. Bring some friends. Help us grow. Come see Detroit and The Whitney. We're back!


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Glimpse of The Whitney

Photos by: Donna Terek of The Detroit News

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Whitney is looking better than ever...

We hope you’ll notice the initial changes to The Whitney. For the first time in years you can see us from Woodward. We’ve removed about 20 years of overgrowth. More improvements will be coming. Inside we’ve cleaned and scrubbed, we’re doing some painting, we’ve removed some of the excess furniture, created a new menu, are bringing in some fun and interesting new wines, have a newly energized staff, etc. We’re ready to welcome you back. Come see how we’ve changed! We reopen March 22.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Welcome to The Whitney Blog

Strange thing, huh? A blog from a 113 year old building in Midtown Detroit. Well, we said we wanted to change some things at The Whitney and this is only the first. We hope you’ll drop by often and give us your thoughts.

“Us” is me, Bud Liebler, who just purchased The Whitney effective February 22; my son, Patrick, who is my partner in this endeavor; my wife, Nancy, who will be our interior decorator, menu conscience and collaborator-in-chief; and Tim and Lisa Wilkins, owners of The Historic White Horse Inn in Metamora (MI.) and the only real professional restaurateurs on our start-up team. There are others, too, but they’ll be introduced later.

As a lifelong PR/marketing guy who knows nada about the restaurant business, you might ask “Why?” Well, I have, too. Especially the other day as I was working up a combination migraine and debilitating writers’ cramp signing checks galore to finalize this purchase and start this new venture. The answer is, “Why not?” I am a Detroitophile. I love the city and am excited about the growth and changes I see springing up all around town. I also love The Whitney and am excited about the things I think we can do to build on what it has been for the past twenty years and take off from there.

We’re not short of ideas, everything from menu changes to landscape changes to interior d├ęcor and uniform changes. New entertainment, new attitudes, new excitement and new energy. The restaurant is closed for a couple of weeks ‘til we get our opening act together, hopefully no later than mid-March. Then we’ll throw open the doors, fire up the ovens, tune the piano, and jumpstart The Whitney back into life. We’re enormously enthusiastic about what can be. We’ll try to keep you up to date with our plans, and with the day-to-day happenings. We welcome your comments about what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong and, most importantly, what we can do to make the place even better and more appealing to you.

Welcome to The “new” Whitney!