Former Zacarro's grocery store to be reborn as Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe

The Midtown grocery space vacated by Zacarro's Market will not remain so for much longer. Brothers Peter and Michael Solaka will reopen their family-owned gourmet grocery store, Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, in the space in May 2010. The grocery business is in the Solakas' blood. Their grandfather operated Wayne Market on Third in the 1950s. Their father opened Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe in Lafayette Park in 1972 and operated it until 1989. Both Peter and Michael worked there; now Peter owns Gourmet Deli in the Renaissance Center, and Michael is president of New Center Council and a partner in Northern Lights Lounge.

Past experience combined with an understanding of the Midtown market has influenced the store's product line-up and layout. There will be a parking lot dedicated to shoppers just east of the store, and a back door is being installed in addition to the main entrance on Woodward. This back door will be connected to the main part of the store by a warehouse-like hallway that will be stocked with city basics, which Michael characterizes as "sundry items, stuff that people use every day ... stuff that people buy at Target." Think mops, buckets, paper towels, cleaning products and kitchen gadgets.

As for the grocery store proper, expect upscale products toeing the line with everyday ones (i.e., Belgian endives next to plain old leaf lettuce). The Solakas see a mix of price points and products as essential to their store's success. "Just because you call it a gourmet grocery, does that mean you can't have ground round?" asks Michael. "This will be a usable, well-stocked place where you can put a whole meal together without having to run someplace else to get McCormick gravy mix."

The Solakas have been amazed by how many of their old customers still live in Detroit. Many have fond memories of Ye Old Butcher Shoppe's famous Lafayette Park Subs and Kufta Burgers -- both of which, Michael assures, the new Midtown store will indeed carry.

Source: Michael Solaka, Ye Olde Butcher's Shoppe
Writer: Kelli B. Kavanaugh