Food & Drink

Alma Kitchen Will Bring Fusion Fare to Jefferson Chalmers on Detroit's East Side

August 29, 2019, 9:10 PM

A cross-cultural neighborhood restaurant is moving toward a fall debut on Detroit's lower east side.

Alicia Sanchez and Gary Mui.
(Photo: Jefferson East, Inc.)

Food journalist Brenna Houck talks with one of the partners:

Alma Kitchen is preparing for a fall opening in Jefferson Chalmers. The restaurant headed to the Kresge building at 14300 E. Jefferson Ave. is on track to open sometime in November, chef Gary Mui tells Eater. . . .

Mui and his partner Alicia Sanchez began developing Alma more than a year and a half ago with the goal of opening a neighborhood restaurant that reflected their Mexican-American and Chinese-American heritage.

Meat and onion tortillas are among dishes at the fusion restaurant's preview site.

He learned the business during two decades with a pair of prominent restaurant groups -- Muer Corp. (1994-2001) and McCormick & Schmick's (2001-15) -- before working in the business elsewhere.

Now, with his children grown, Mui says he felt the time was finally right to establish his own restaurant. . . .

Mui and Sanchez developed the design for the interior of the 84-seat restaurant together, building off the existing Art Deco character of the corner building [a former Kresge store].

The pair will share the building with Jefferson East, Inc., a community development group that bought the site with TechTown and says it'll use 3,500 square feet at the rear for offices. The fusion restaurant will fill 2,300 square feet, according to the organization. The buyers are investing $2 million in the project, Jefferson East adds.

"We chose to locate in the historically rich Jefferson Chalmers district because we wanted to be part of a community," Mui is quoted as saying in the community organization's last annual report. "Not only to contribute financially, buyt let's get to know lives and worlds different from our own."

Planned hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, weekend brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday dinner 4-9 p.m. 

Construction "is on track to wrap up in late-October," Houck posts.

A preliminary menu draft includes shrimp and grits, a fried rice bowl with ham, four vegetables and a fried egg on top, and chilaquiles (corn tortillas with chicken and cheese).

Among beverages are Mexican coffee with kahlua, tequila and cinnamon, sweet tea with vodka, horchata with tequila, cherry and honey syrup, and mulled sangria. 

The Alma Kitchen website has these previews of what may be served:

The restaurant also will cater events with a spread such as this.

Fried plantains are the centerpiece of this dish with grains and vegetables.

Loaded tomato and cheese bruschetta.


Read more:  Eater Detroit

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