The Detroit News has tapped a restaurant critic to replace Molly Abraham, who retired from her long-held spot at the end of 2018: Melody Baetens, who has long covered entertainment and dining for the paper as a reporter.
Baetens introduces herself in a column today:
I got into writing about food and restaurants by way of music. When I was hired at The News as an editorial assistant nearly 20 years ago I covered local bands and compiled the entertainment calendar (which I still do). That led to writing about bars and clubs, and as the craft cocktail and beer scenes began to take off, I launched my "Cheers" column, which started as drink recipes and bar news.
Over the past 10-plus years, as new bistros, gastropubs and cafes debuted one after another, and as illustrious chefs started to open up shop here and “dining in Detroit” became a thing again, I started focusing more of my coverage on dining and restaurant culture.
She's not a snob; even in the city's rapidly improving restaurant scene, that would be a bad perch to occupy. Her long experience covering the more proletarian music and club scene will serve her well. What she's after:
I want to feature a variety of cuisines from all over Metro Detroit, from fine dining steakhouses to hole-in-the-wall neighborhood favorites. I want to be useful to you, the reader, reporting not only how things taste, but also about the best way to approach the spot and the story behind it. I want to shine a light on chefs and business owners who deserve attention but who may not have the resources for a publicist or marketing strategist.
Baetens approaches her job with some knowledge of the other side the business; she is a co-ownership partner in Small's, a Hamtramck bar known for its music acts. Her husband Dave Malosh is a guitarist for the Electric Six.