Growing up Downriver, Chelsie Brymer enjoyed visiting Detroit, such as going to the Fisher Theatre with her family and admiring historic spots like the Fisher Building.
“I’ve always loved Detroit and felt very drawn to it even since I was a little girl,” she says. “[My family has] always felt really connected to Detroit.”
On Feb. 16, the journey comes full circle as she and her husband, Jono, open a second location of their French-inspired restaurant Promenade Artisan Foods.
The two met in Nashville where Chelsie was going to school. After they got married, Chelsie was yearning to return to her home state to raise their kids near family but Jono was a musician and struggled to find music gigs in Michigan. They kept having to go back to Nashville. By the time they had their second child, Chelsie was ready to make the move back home permanent.
In addition to the challenges of finding work, they also didn’t have a lot of friends in the area at the time. That got them thinking.
“What if we created a space where we would want to be, then we can meet people that are like us? And then we can create something special for our community, and something that would sustain our family as well,” Chelsie says.
In 2016, they opened Promenade Artisan Foods in Trenton where Chelsie oversees the menu, which pays homage to her grandmother’s French heritage, and Jono takes care of everything else. Many of the recipes are inspired by her family.
Dedicated to sourcing high-quality, local ingredients and preparing foods from scratch, Promenade’s signature offerings include Promenade Coffee — French press coffee lightly sweetened with real maple syrup, and topped with heavy whipped cream — sea salt chocolate chip cookies, and quiche. They also serve sandwiches, salads, soups, and other sweet treats, such as French staples macarons and croissants.
Before the pandemic hit, they had already developed a grab-and-go dinner program, which has become more common among restaurants lately. Promenade’s program really took off, and eventually they didn’t have the room for growth at the Trenton space. They also were looking to expand their catering and boxed lunch business to serve local businesses and hospitals, so they started looking for a second location, specifically in New Center.
“We wanted to expand our market into the city and outside of Downriver,” Chelsie says.
While they were looking, they discovered the Fisher Building management was looking for a tenant to take over the Fisher Bakery space.
The expansion of Promenade comes after they lost another business during the pandemic. They had a café in Wyandotte where the menu didn’t translate to takeout.
“We really learned to do more with less, just like everyone else,” she says. The biggest takeaway for her during the pandemic was realizing the strength and generosity of Promenade’s community.
“[Customers] ordered from us frequently ... they would call in an order for themselves and then they would ask us to deliver to their mom, or to their sister, or that kind of thing,” she says, adding customers would also call to place order to feed medical staff.
“Our biggest lesson is that our greatest asset is our community,” she says.
Promenade Artisan Foods will open with a special pop-up on Feb. 16, or “Craczki Day,” when they’ll offer their mashup take on the croissant/paczki. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or until they sell out). After Fat Tuesday, Promenade will be open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursdays from Feb. 18 until March 18. After that, the restaurant be open Monday through Saturday.