Building of the former Van Dyke Place
Building of the former Van Dyke Place (Loopnet)

A look back at Van Dyke Place.

Looking back to the future … With nothing more to prove in the restaurant world … having carved a solid niche as one of the nation’s finest restaurants … Van Dyke Place added another gem to its treasured list of dining wonders.

Traditional Jewish foods, even back in 1994, were being received with high popularity at this popular restaurant, noted as one of three Michigan eateries rated among the top 50 by a prestigious Condé Nast Traveler restaurant poll … The others were the Whitney and the Lark for dedication and extraordinary service … A truly distinguished restaurant award was also received by Van Dyke Place.

Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot
Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot Taste of Kosher

When a restaurant has achieved such high significance, you may ask, why burden the executive chef with learning culinary skills of yet another cooking style?

It would be most difficult to prepare the Jewish dishes served at Van Dyke Place if the executive chef weren’t Jewish and hadn’t been brought up with its techniques and teachings.

Executive chef at the time, Keith Supian, had attended Achim Hebrew School, graduated from Southfield-Lathrup High School and was in the very fine Schoolcraft College culinary program … The son of Beverly and Bernard Supian, he had been executive chef at Van Dyke Place three years … If ingredients were in the house, he would make almost whatever customers would desire.

In the meantime, his enormous talents had released a wonderful dining experience drawn from Keith’s Jewish heritage … and so the L’chaim style of dining.

The rugelach and mandelbrot made were from recipes of his grandmother, Hannah Gellerman, who handed down her instructions to daughters Beverly and Roberta Brown.

Rugelach on display in store.

Beverly and Bernard Supian loved it when son Keith came over … He cooked, washed dishes and, with the help of his sister Karen, also served … Karen also assisted with the cooking.

L’Chaim was like a restaurant within a restaurant, with reservations required for dining on the non-smoking second-floor level … Guests could also order from a L’Chaim menu in the downstairs areas of Van Dyke Place … When making reservations, folks would ask to be given the L’Chaim menu … The upstairs area was considered the most desirable area because customers were often surrounded by people they perhaps might know.

Keith also looked at his Jewish cooking with a sharp eye on the health angles … He tried to stay away from fat as much as possible, using vegetable oil instead with highly gratifying results.

The L’Chaim “Noshing Menu” showcased Keith’s talented culinary expertise … His excellence as chef was one of quiet acclaim.

OLDIE BUT GOODIE … The customer tells of being held up in a small town recently because of heavy rains … “This looks like the big flood,” he said to the waitress in a restaurant there.

“The what?” she asked.

“You know,” said the customer, “the flood when Noah saved the animals in the ark. You must have read about that.”

The waitress said, “Mister, on account of all this rain, I ain’t seen a paper in four days.”

CONGRATS … To Douglas Goldberg on his birthday … To Harvey Goldsmith on his birthday.