What better way for family to honor community leaders Marvin and Sharon Fleischman on the occasions of their 60th wedding anniversary and “special” birthdays than with a generous donation to the place that means so much to them?
The gift in 2015 from the Fleischmans’ children, nieces and a nephew initially was designated for renovating the kitchen, “nosh nook” and gift shop inside the Edward I. & Freda Fleischman Residence, named for Marvin’s late philanthropist parents. Instead, besides a renovated kitchen, two inviting repurposed spaces — Marvin’s Bistro and Sharon’s Boutique — opened earlier this year.
Fleischman Residence, an assisted living facility associated with Louis C. & Edith B. Blumberg Plaza, is also linked to Lillian & Samuel Hechtman Apartments. They are among a group of properties accommodating seniors on the Eugene & Marcia Applebaum Jewish Community Campus in West Bloomfield.
Jewish Senior Life (JSL), an agency of the Jewish Federation, oversees the senior residences, services and programming in West Bloomfield and also on the A. Alfred Taubman Jewish Community Campus in Oak Park.
“With Sharon’s Boutique and Marvin’s Bistro, we were able to create wonderful enhancements for Hechtman and Fleischman residents’ daily lives. It’s a great enrichment for them,” said Leslie Katz, director of Friends of Jewish Senior Life.
In addition to planning and executing fundraising events for the Friends, Katz coordinates the up to 500 resident and community volunteers JSL needs to staff entities like the new boutique and bistro at Fleischman. They are situated side-by-side toward the back of the lobby.
Sharon’s Boutique provides convenience for residents, staff and visitors who want to purchase greeting cards, small gifts and items for themselves.
The well-organized store with its white walls and natural oak wood floors beckons guests to browse through an array of summery tops, bottoms, scarves and purses that hang in alcoves. Items on display include artistic Judaica pieces, vases, platters and stuffed animals. A top shelf holds decorative lunchboxes. On sale is Generations, a Friends cookbook fundraiser that includes favorite recipes from residents and their families.
Volunteer Beverly Bennett, a former Eight over Eighty honoree for JSL, buys merchandise for the boutique. While working a daytime shift recently, she pointed out the practicality of owning a “three-way” necklace and cheerfully showed her customer just how to wear it.
Next door at the kosher-certified Marvin’s Bistro, posted sheets show the usual menu categories, but the food seems far from ordinary. The Bistro Asian Sesame Salad, recommended by Joanne Kristal from the JSL staff, was available in the bistro’s handy take-and-go refrigerated case. The salad, with a side of Asian vinaigrette dressing, has a very generous portion of ginger soy grilled salmon topped with black and white sesame seeds along with red peppers, water chestnuts, mandarin oranges, lettuce and toasted almonds.
Adding to a diner’s enjoyment are the bistro’s moderate prices. Entrée salads, as well as the deli and specialty sandwiches, are $5. Tuna or egg salad sandwiches cost $3, or $2.50 for half. It’s $4.50 for a combo, two choices among half-salad, half-sandwich and cup of soup. Classic chicken soup and Five Bean turkey chili are menu staples along with a rotating soup.
More popular food items are Tuscan beef panini sandwich, lox plate, chopped liver, Marvin’s Traverse City cherry salad and brownies. A daily special might be barbecue chicken wrap with fries. The bistro’s recipes are developed by Executive Chef Ron Colasanti, a Culinary Institute of America graduate. His experience includes 15 years as director of dining services at Henry Ford Village in Dearborn. Kelly Ala is the bistro’s chef, assisted by Amer Romaya.
Marvin’s Bistro has seating for 28 at tables and booths. The room is light and bright with some tiny blue and green tiles on sand-colored walls.
Sharon Fleischman, a former JSL auxiliary president, commented after lunch in the bistro named for her husband, “I think it’s lovely here. It looks more like a restaurant you’d want to go to.”
The public is welcome.