Updated Classics Define Design and Menu at Michigan Grillery
From design to menu, Beau’s Grillery takes comforting American classics and adds an individual spin and local touch. Drawing inspiration and items from the community to reinforce a vintage design, the restaurant, which opened in August, offers comfort food from a menu that is refreshed frequently.
Beau’s Grillery of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, took the place of casual restaurant Beau Jack’s, a community icon that had been open about 40 years. While moving in to the well-known location, preserving aspects of Beau Jack’s was a priority, says Chef Zack Sklar, owner of Peas & Carrots Hospitality, which owns two other Detroit-area restaurants.
“We wanted to make certain that the impact of our new restaurant would, in the least, be a nod to the icon that stood for so long in the community,” Chef Sklar says.
Vestiges of Beau Jack’s are apparent in the restaurant’s name and in the signature piano that was stored during construction to become the centerpiece of the new bar.
Beau Jack’s closed in March and Beau’s Grillery opened at the end of the summer to a largely positive response, Chef Sklar says. But one recurring guest complaint was deafening—the sound level.
The initial design of Beau’s Grillery, which was reminiscent of a 1940s hotel lobby bar, did not include warm, sound-absorbent elements such as carpets or curtains. Acoustic engineers assessed the space and replaced the ceiling with foam, which has greatly improved the atmosphere, Chef Sklar says.
The restaurant, which seats 165, was designed to feel luxurious with the opulence of a bygone era, dominated by mirrors, dark leather booths, and a large bar adorned in brass and copper.
Beau’s Grillery incorporates recovered items that reflect the history of the surrounding community into the 7,000-square-foot space. The chandeliers are taken from a former theater in Detroit and the bathroom doors were reclaimed from homes in the region.
There are also more than 2,100 books in the restaurant that were stacked and arranged one at a time, Chef Sklar says.
“What I like about libraries and books is that, in today’s society, everyone is on their cell phones and social media and no one reads anymore,” he says. “Libraries are iconic—a kind of lost luxury.”
Another significant feature is the grill in Beau’s Grillery. Restaurant grills are another icon of American cuisine and culture, but the grill in Beau’s was custom made in Ann Arbor.
“We burn applewood and mesquite to really give our items a lot of flavor,” Chef Sklar says. “Because of the grill, we prepare some items differently.”
Chef Sklar and Executive Chef Daniel Campbell developed the menu, which features items such as artichokes and vegetables that are grilled for a special touch. Chef Sklar says the most popular menu item is the ribs, which are covered in dry rub, grilled, and served with homemade barbecue sauce.
The menu emphasizes creative side dishes, which rotate seasonally throughout the year. About 20 are available at any time.
“We put so much effort into our sides recipes and the idea is that they become the showpiece,” Chef Sklar says. A few options include Quinoa Fried Rice, Baked Apricots served with Ritz crackers and brown sugar, and a Glass Noodle Salad with Chili Vinaigrette.
The cocktail menu also hearkens to another era, with a few contemporary twists. It features classics such as a Mint Julep or one of Detroit’s signature drinks, the Last Word made with fresh juices and raw sugar cubes.
Beau’s Grillery, which is open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner seven days a week., recently expanded to include brunch on the weekends. Peas & Carrots also operates MEX in Bloomfield Hills and Social Kitchen and Bar in Birmingham, Michigan.
By Sarah Niss