C.A.Y.A Smokehouse in Wolverine Lake

Wolverine Lake smokehouse will get new look, feel from new owners.

Photos via C.A.Y.A. Facebook

When it was set to open, people were told that the new restaurant’s name would be C.A.Y.A. … or Come As You Are … and probably said things like, “If they think I’m getting out of the bathtub, they have another think coming!” … But owners then, Executive Chef Jeff Rose and his business partners, Richard and Rachel Mandell, put them at ease … that it was the name of their new smokehouse.

Jeff and Rachel each had enjoyed 25 years in the dining game, and this was like a fulfilled dream … when opening on South Commerce Road at Pontiac Trail in Walled Lake.

C.A.Y.A Smokehouse in Wolverine Lake

C.A.Y.A Smokehouse in Wolverine Lake

Jeff was once a dishwasher before dining stints at Tribute, Iridescence, Big Rock, Roast and Toast … Rachel’s great love for food and restaurant design was realized.

Now that their dreams have come true in a big way …and after hours and hours of training, Damian Knight is his own full-time general manager and owner with his wife, Dianna Knight, and sister Jami and brother-in-law Brandon Blanchard, their own silent ownership dreams no doubt have also come true, as its new owners.

“We immediately fell in love with C.A.Y.A.’s amazing menu after our first visit and are excited to have taken over the restaurant,” Damian Knight said. “We have some new ideas we will be implementing and look forward to continuing to enhance our customers’ dining experiences.”

C.A.Y.A Smokehouse in Wolverine Lake

C.A.Y.A Smokehouse in Wolverine Lake

Most of the highly popular dinner and brunch menus at C.A.Y.A. have remained the same with very small changes … Their smokehouse bistro now offers French fries and jumbo chicken wings … served with choices of two side items instead of as a la carte … Customers can now choose from corn bread, mac & cheese, French fries, fried Brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, collard greens, fried sweet potatoes, baked beans with or without bacon, onion rings, creamy slaw or pickled vegetables.

“We want to offer our customers a better value with our smoked entrees and they are now included as the side items for a complete meal,” Knight said.

C.A.Y.A. seats 85 with 14 bar stools and three cocktail tables that are also open for happy hours and dinner Tuesdays through Thursdays, 4:30-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4:30-11 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m. … Closed Mondays … Brunch is both Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

It was a terrific winner for Jeff and Rachel … and has already become a big dining success for its new owners.

GREAT TO SEE that Dr. Steve Hutchinson, one-third partner in Pepino’s Restaurant, is inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame … Steve was at University of Michigan and played 12 seasons in the NFL with Seattle, Minnesota and Tennessee.

OLDIES BUT GOODIES … Years back, comics performing in New York’s Catskill Mountains tried these out on customers … “Waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup?” “Looks like the backstroke, sir” … or “Waiter, there is a fly in the butter.” “Yes, sir, it is a butterfly!”

CONGRATS … To Jackie Headapohl on her birthday.

Danny’s email address is dannyraskin2132@gmail.com.

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