Market North End serves New American cuisine with Mediterranean influences.
Two friends and I had fun catching up recently at a casual and lively bistro I found for us in downtown Birmingham’s walkable Gallery District on Old Woodward north of Maple. Market North End serves New American cuisine with Mediterranean influences.
“We always like to use the best products that are in season,” said native Detroiter Joe Bongiovanni, co-owner of the bistro with his wife, Kristin. They both come from restaurant families, and the food/hospitality business “is what we love to do,” Joe said. He’s also the bistro’s executive chef.
“Our fish [including salmon and halibut] is delivered daily and fileted in-house,” Joe said. It’s an example of how “we try to keep our menu fresh.”
The couple opened Market North End in October 2013 on the ground floor of a building that’s housed several non-restaurant companies. In addition, the Bongiovanni family’s dining group includes O.W.L. in Royal Oak and two places nearby in Birmingham: Sal’s, formerly Salvatore Scallopini, and Luxe Bar & Grill, which is also in Grosse Pointe Farms.
Kristin Bongiovanni and Ron Rea, principal of Birmingham-based Ron and Roman Architects, designed Market North End’s smart-looking décor. It incorporates vintage finds and materials, such as the white tiles covering the dining room’s central bar. Above is a barnwood ceiling and rafters. Two rows of liquor bottles sparkle on twin trays descending from the ceiling.
For safety’s sake, as well as the pleasure of dining al fresco, my party chose to have lunch on the covered side patio. Booth Park is across the street.
Perusing the menu, manager Andrew Nichols told me, “We are known for our pizza and salads, and the Chop Chicken Salad is a true crowd-pleaser.” Our friend Gail chose Roasted Beet and Avocado Salad, attractively arranged on arugula with pistachios, goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. We all thought it tasted great.
My friend Debbie went with the Egg Sandwich. She liked it, but called it different. An aromatic herb house sauce went over a bun with layers of spinach, tomato, avocado, white American cheese (she skipped that) and fried egg. Another popular sandwich is Chicken Milanese on house-made pizza dough.
I ordered Chickpea Stew, a menu staple. Vegetable broth with chickpeas and spinach had a plop of labneh for creaminess and tangy chili oil. My a la carte roasted cauliflower pleased me most. The slightly charred florets were dusted with breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
Meat, fish and chicken entrees and pasta/risotto choices also are available.
“We have a rotating cocktail, beer and wine list,” said Joe Bongiovanni of his bar. “We like to have some familiar offerings, but also love to introduce guests to new and inventive options they may never have considered before.”
I can vouch for the excellent service and hygiene practices at Market North End, open 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. There’s carryout and inside dining. The short wait for a table will be worth it.
Market North End
474 N. Old Woodward Ave.
Birmingham, MI 48009
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