Last month, I mentioned the opening of O.W.L. — a new 24-hour diner in the long-vacant Onion Roll Deli space in Royal Oak (27302 Woodward Ave.). This month, I implore you to visit and promise you’ll be impressed.
The revamped facade is simple and modern. The old sign stuck around, but it’s been painted black and bears only the restaurant’s three letter moniker and a simple cartoon of its eponymous feathered mascot. The interior is your first sign this isn’t just another diner. There’s beautiful hardwood throughout, set against a concrete floor and loads of stainless steel. Seating is limited, with space available at the counter or along the windows facing Woodward.
There’s not a single entree over $10, but don’t expect cheap and greasy — they’re serving some serious food. The menu has a Latin American flair, like a three-bean chorizo chili instead of your more typical Coney Island chili. Chicken wings are a dollar a piece (yes, you read that right) and are served either Buffalo style, with an amazing dry rub, or my personal favorite — with their Macha seasoning.
The double-layer nachos with poblano cheese sauce, radishes and jalapenos were superb — a stepped-up take on the nachos at Luxe, one of the owners’ three Birmingham mainstays. The tacos rotate daily and are served on a traditional tortilla with a blend of cilantro and onions.
Hamburgers and fried chicken round out the dinner menu, throwing in some traditional American diner favorites that might be a little easier on the stomach should you drop in for a late-night snack. I haven’t made it in for breakfast, but alongside eggs are some unique options that transform the routine into a meal that, I’m sure, would also be extraordinary — think chilaquiles and avocado toast, a grilled sesame bread with hardboiled egg, radishes, carrots and cilantro.
One word of caution, it’s already pretty busy — apparently the good news spread fast — so unless you find some odd hours to drop in, be prepared to wait, but know it will be absolutely worth it.
The Detroit Burger Brawl is returning to Eastern Market this month, with 20 restaurants from across Metro Detroit competing for the title of “Detroit’s Best Burger” on Saturday, Aug. 27. The event is “street fair-style,” running from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. with attendees encouraged to sample all the competing burgers before casting a vote for their favorite on the Burger Brawl app.
The top four restaurants will then create a custom burger blend on-site, which will be ranked by a five-member panel of celebrity judges. Ticket prices start at $25, giving you access to all-you-can-eat burger samples. $55 VIP tickets come with 10:30 a.m. early access, entry into the VIP tent and bar, and two drink tickets.
For a complete list of participants, or to purchase tickets, visit the website www.detroitburgerbrawl.com.
New Summer Menu
At Bistro 82
There are some new summer-inspired items on the menu at Royal Oak’s Bistro 82 (401 S. Lafayette Ave.). Don’t miss the burrata accented with shaved speck, grilled peaches, watermelon radish and lemon. Also fantastic are the watermelon salad — compressed watermelon served with whipped feta, toasted pistachios, with a delicious white balsamic and cucumber herb sorbet — and the blueberry cheesecake with candied orange. The restaurant’s incredibly talented chef Derik Watson is also busy developing the menu for AFB Hospitality Group’s the Morrie, which is set for its debut later this summer in an immaculate 8,000-square-foot space at the corner of Main and Sixth Street (the former Franklin Fine Wine shop).
Mazel Tov …
To Sarah Kahan and Matthew Brodsky on their engagement.
Happy birthday to Sheri Ackerson, Taylor Cohn, Norma Dorman, Ashley Fraser, Chad Gans, Brad Hantler, Scott Levine, Bunni Lieberman, Michelle Perlmuter, Judy Rubin, Alexis Sack, Donna Schwartz, Jack Silver, Ron Sollish and Lorne Zalesin. *
By Ryan Fishman, JN Contributing Writer