the inside of The Whitney showing a grand piano and fireplace with chandeliers

The Whitney celebrates 32 years.

Danny Raskin
Senior Columnist

There are two words that would aptly apply to this legend … True elegance … But there are so many more that can also relate to this legendary restaurant … Sophisticated class indeed!

Pat Liebler and Bud Liebler - two men smile together, one has his arms crossed
Pat Liebler and Bud Liebler Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

This is the 32nd anniversary of The Whitney, Woodward and Canfield, Detroit, for which simple words about it would not be enough as it continues to drip with elegance since opening on Dec. 12, 1986.

Various people have taken over The Whitney throughout the years, and it is highly creditable that they have maintained the dignified elegance of this iconic restaurant.

Owned today by Bud Liebler and son Pat, with general manager Dave Duey, it is important that the dignity of this esteemed 124-year-old, 21,000-square-foot former mansion be maintained in all its gracious finery … This has been upheld by Bud, Pat and Dave, whose aims are solely for maintaining the dignity of its “Old Detroit” persona.

Keeping its original look is important …Stained-glass windows, elevator, fireplaces, mahogany floors and walls … Daily tours are offered.

The rebirth and recovery of Detroit demands a pride that The Whitney’s grand architecture has so elegantly displayed … with the addition of renewed interior replacements.

Upscale dining at The Whitney is a thrill to enjoy … and the food is still superb … Its signature dish of Beef Wellington with accompaniments of foie gras, carmelized garlic and truffle oil duxelle has few equals … Also, tea-poached salmon, seafood saute with shrimp, scallops and Maine lobster served over toasted orzo, chateaubriand for two, etc.

Beef Wellington at The Whitney
Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

Executive Chef Natasha Vitte is outstanding, and the fulltime pastry chef Eric Bunge is superb … Chef Vitte’s deft presentations of 1.5-pound lobster tails and Alaskan king crab bring only rave notices … as do so many other selections from the menu.

The Whitney’s daily teas at 2 p.m. include soup and salad, tea sandwiches and canapes, miniature pastries and seasonal truffles … Dinners are seven evenings from 5 p.m. … Brunch is both Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. … Live piano music is in the Ghost Bar 4 p.m.-1 a.m., and live jazz from 10 p.m.-midnight on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays … Enjoy live piano music nightly and during Sunday brunch.

“We want to improve a little bit every day,” says a most proud Bud Liebler. “We’ve made huge progress with the mansion itself, our food, our service team, etc. We love it when people tell us how much they appreciate The Whitney and the fact that it is still going strong. We want to keep making it better every day, keep making guests happy. We want to grow with Detroit!”

salmon on a bed of green mash from The Whitney
Jackie Headapohl | Detroit Jewish News

The Whitney, a wonderful dining experience in its historical surroundings.

A crowning tribute to the return of a great and wonderful Detroit … on The Whitney’s 32nd anniversary.

REARVIEW MIRROR … When the late David Hermelin took one of his trips to Israel … and his flight was delayed as security dogs at the airport went bananas yelping crazily at one of David’s suitcases … Investigation found it to be loaded with salamis he had purchased from Sid Neuman at Star Deli to pass out … Sid always had the Wilno-Koshers around in case David needed them … David would take salamis with him on the jet in his travels and cut them on the plane to give to passengers.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … Two Jewish men are eating at a kosher restaurant. A Chinese waiter comes up and in fluent Yiddish asks them if everything is OK.

The men are dumbfounded. “My God, where did he learn such perfect Yiddish?” they both think.

After paying their bill, they ask the owner, an old friend of theirs, also fluent in Yiddish, “Where did your waiter learn such fabulous Yiddish?”

The owner looks around and leans over so no one will hear and says, “Shhhh. He thinks we’re teaching him English.”

CONGRATS … To Dr. Glen Gardner on his birthday … To William “Bill” Nosanchuk on his birthday.

Email Danny at

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