City crepe-tress Torya Blanchard will open a new sit-down restaurant this summer in Hamtramck. Ootie's, her newest culinary creation, will be housed in the former Thai Bangkok location at 9737 Joseph Campau. Blanchard says she found the 1,100 sq. ft. space through the help of Hamtramck's Director of Community and Economic Development, Jason Friedmann.
"Ootie's is a breakfast and lunch place," she says. While she dances around calling it "upscale," she adds, "it'll be nice, good quality ingredients, but comfort food" -- with a creative twist.
"I want it to be food for everyone," she says. "It's a nice, quality place, but not so upscale where people wouldn't feel like they could come in and get a good meal."
She's also excited about the interior design, which she calls comfortable and casual. "That's my favorite part," she says. "On the wall, I'm actually putting up this huge billboard-size poster for Wrigley gum. It's really pretty."
Blanchard's inspiration was a since-shuttered restaurant in Hamtown. "I remember coming to Hamtramck in my early 20s, and there was a restaurant called Salvador Deli," she says. "It was so cute and so charming. Honestly, I think it's time for Hamtramck to have something like that again."
It's the latest venture in Blanchard's burgeoning empire, which includes another Good Girls Go To Paris creperie opening in Grosse Pointe Park this summer, as well as the upcoming Rodin bar in the Park Shelton building, where Good Girls Go To Paris Midtown is located.
"Detroit is an easy place to do this kind of thing," she says of her serial forays into entrepreneurship. "For me, I like doing it, and it's easy to do in Detroit. The Hamtramck Ootie's location is so close to Good Girls and Rodin and ... I don't know, it makes sense. Why not?"
And as for that moniker, Torya's staying coy. "It's a pet name for someone special," she says.
Look for Ootie's to open its doors in late June.
Source: Torya Blanchard, owner, Ootie's
Writer: Ashley C. Woods