Three Restaurants Planned for Grosse Pointe Park

Birmingham restaurateur Mindy Lopus will be opening not one, but three new eateries in Grosse Pointe Park this winter and spring —starting with Red Crown in the old Standard Oil Station on Kercheval.

It’s raining outside, but that doesn’t dampen Mindy Lopus’ mood or smile as she gestures to the former Standard Oil service station at the corner of Kercheval and Beaconsfield in Grosse Pointe Park.

“Isn’t it great,” Lopus grins watching workmen bang away as they transform the former garage into her vision for Red Crown, an American comfort food destination that will embrace the same farm to table philosophy of Lopus’ Birmingham restaurants, Tallulah’s Wine Bar and Bistro and Bellapiatti.

Lopus’ latest venture, Red Crown, is a departure from the French bistro flair of Tallulah’s and the rustic Italian fare of Bellapiatti--which opened last year and made the Detroit Free Press 2011 list of Metro Detroit's 10 Best New Restaurants.

The new garage-style restaurant is named after the original service station and will be open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner, with brunch on the weekends.  Lopus plans on keeping much of the original structure of the building, with the main dining areas located in the former garage bays while a clever bar area transforms the front reception of the former service station.

Choosing an unusual place for a restaurant isn’t new for Lopus, who chose to put her first restaurant, Tallulah’s,  in a building that had been vacant for three years on a dead street.

“I tend to look for a space that hasn’t been a restaurant before and that speaks to me,” Lopus said.

Lopus feels the planned alfresco patio with wood burning fireplace and outdoor ping pong tables will entice families and couples alike to the fun eatery.   An organic garden will make a beautiful display as well as contribute to the restaurant’s commitment to local, fresh produce. 

The menu is American comfort food with a Southern influence, Lopus said.  An on-site wood fire grill and smoker will no doubt add to the already delicious menu of barbecue, burgers and homemade ice creams.

Urban Renewal

In addition to the anticipated early winter opening of Red Crown, Lopus will open two more restaurants on Kercheval in the winter and spring.

First, Bona Fide Baking Company, will take up residence in the former Mulier’s Market.  The baking company will create commercial and retail artisan breads with a coffee bar that serves breakfast and lunch.  Pastry Chef Tanya Fallon, a James Beard finalist, will manage Bona Fide and it is scheduled to open before the year’s end.

Next to Bona Fide, in what is now a parking lot that faces Kercheval, a new building will host Tallulah’s, a twin to Lopus’ Birmingham restaurant.  Tallulah’s features a wine list with over 200 bottles and more than 50 wines sold by the glass.  Corporate Chef Daniel Campbell oversees Lopus’ restaurants and uses nearly 70 percent Michigan-made products in Tallulah’s French-inspired fare.

Lopus has embraced her technology background and was one of the first restaurants to employ a new digital tablet menu that provides tantalizing photos of all menu items while a patented algorithm pairs food with Tallulah’s vast wine list giving her customers confidence and choices when ordering food and beverage.  Fun events like “Girls and Grapes” or  “Som Slams”—a wine dinner with competing sommeliers that is fun and educational —are sell-outs in Birmingham and sure to be a hit with Grosse Pointers as well.

A Renaissance Woman

Lopus is relatively new to the restaurant scene first having a successful career in the technology industry before opening her first restaurant in 2009.  After selling her company, Triangle Technology Services, Lopus continued to work as a technology consultant and globe trotted, all the while taking note of excellent food and wine concepts.

She left the technology industry to pursue her passion:  wine.  Lopus enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America’s wine professional program in Napa Valley.  After over a year of coursework and bicoastal travel, Lopus is now a certified wine professional—knowledge that she puts to use in all the venues owned by her Silver Pig Restaurant Group.

Today, Lopus is a member of the board of directors for the Michigan Restaurant Association and co-founder of the charitable organization, Detroit Area Chefs Feed the Need, which feeds Detroit’s hungry through CASS Community Services.

Local Connection

Mindy Lopus is quick to point out that her plans to come to Grosse Pointe Park came about only after the Cotton family, who own the three buildings that will house Lopus’ new ventures, came to eat in one of her Birmingham restaurants.

“They liked my restaurant concept,” Lopus said. 

Pointes residents and brothers, Jon and Sean Cotton recently launched the Grosse Pointe Housing Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides grants for college students to live in the Park’s rental properties.  The program has helped stabilize the Park’s residential community which has roughly  20 – 25 percent rentals.

“The Cotton family has been absolutely amazing with what they’ve been doing in the Grosse Pointes,” Lopus enthused.

She said the Cottons urged her to come to Grosse Pointe Park and look at the commercial spaces available and the rest, as they say, is history.  In fact, Lopus was so charmed by the Grosse Pointes that she and her husband Rick have bought a house here and now call Grosse Pointe home.

Lopus said, “We’re excited to be a part of this beautiful community and help preserve its charm.”

GP For Life October 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM
There's plenty of parking in that area. The busy hours for the restaurant don't coincide with the busy hours for the rest of the area. This is a big win for the patch. It's great to see people seeing the great potential the two commercial districts have here. Though, I would rather have Muellers back than an artisan bread place, but no big deal. Good job to everyone involved on getting this deal pushed through. Keep up the good work.
Breckels Massage Therapy October 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM
The beautiful thing about living in the Park is that it is a totally walkable city! And soon we'll be able to walk to a Farm to Table restaurant! I can hardly wait!
Lisa C. October 23, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Too bad there's not much else to do in the village besides eat.
Joanne Dennis October 23, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I've always loved that great Standard Station and was hoping someone would do something fantastic with it. Soooo happy to see it will become a restaurant.
Adam October 23, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Indeed, wonderful news! I'm most excited about Red Crown opening at Standard Oil, but will certainly sample all 3 of these locations. With Dylan's, Lucy's and GGGTP Crepes all apparently closing, this announcement couldn't have come at a better time. We needed some new dining options in the area and these concepts seem to really reflect the tastes of the community. Hopefully, these restaurants will draw more college-aged folks, young families and entrepreneurs from the broader region who may be just as charmed by GP as Ms. Lopus was. West Park is on the rise!
Adam October 23, 2012 at 03:15 PM
To be fair, there are still a fair amount of retailer and grocery options in the Village--and, the new Neighborhood Club building is shaping up rather nicely as well. But, yes. Losing Borders, The Gap, HWP and now Ace has definitely not helped things "downtown." I was a proponent of a proposed luxury-boutique theatre, but we all know how that ended. Either way, it's good to see West Park (and, to some extent, the Hill) gaining some momentum, even if the Village isn't all it could be.
Adam October 23, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Agreed. I find it funny how everyone in GP seems so concerned with parking (at least judging by the comments on Patch). It's the easiest place to park in the world! Spaces are abundant, generously sized, easy to access and relatively cheap. I can't ever recall being unable to find a spot within a few paces of my destination.
Richard Landuyt October 23, 2012 at 03:56 PM
I have lived in GPP all my life and this is wonderful. I WILL TOTALLY SUPPORT THIS. R Landuyt
Todd October 23, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Excellent. I'll be glad to eat at these new spots!
Breckels Massage Therapy October 23, 2012 at 06:39 PM
I miss Muellers too, but the good news is Yorkshire Market is back to carrying Calder's milk products and seems to want to bring it back to more of a grocery store, which I totally support!
Tim October 23, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Looking forward to a whiff of wood smoke, a surge of chatter, and the sight of people enjoying Red Crown. I'll be able to see it from the front porch; always wanted somebody to preserve that fantastic Standard Station architecture of the early 20th century.
Geoff Finger October 23, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Just read this article to my entire family and we are all totally excited and will support these restaurants! Love the Ping Pong as well. The Finger Family
Brian Vosburg October 24, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Wow, talk about transformative projects! I was excited that the great looking old gas station was getting rehabbed into what sounded like a great restaurant, but to get the old Mulier's as an artisan bakery (Free Press is reporting it will also have Great Lakes Coffee!) and to unpave a parking lot to create what sounds like food paradise in one fell swoop, it doesn't get much better than this! I live around the corner from the Standard station and will gladly let you park in my drive way (for a fee of course!) if you have trouble finding parking. I'll use the parking revenue to pay what will likely be a hefty BBQ tab at Red Crown!
Joanne Hooks October 24, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Guess I'm the "downer" here; I am not happy about this development. I wish the restaurateur the best of luck with the new enterprises. But I sorely miss Muliers' Market and other walkable businesses and am not looking forward to an attempt to turn this area into a mini-Royal Oak. This is a family-oriented neighborhood, and i wish to see more businesses that support that aspect.
Mark October 24, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Good to see you show up to the party Debbie. Yes by all means we should allow vacant buildings to stay empty and continue to decay rather than fill them with successful dedicated businesses. Until the business you really want to see comes along let's have nobody come to the commercial districts at all.
GP For Life October 24, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Joanne, I feel your pain, but Mulier's was running a volume business with no inventory turns. They had a tremendous amount of competition from large corporate retailers in the area. They held firm for a long time but a couple things happened. First, TJ’s showed up, which prompted Kroger to remodel, and most importantly, they got a good offer. They pulled the injection handle. Honestly, it was the smart thing to do. I don't fault them one bit. I will miss their butcher counter as I would a good friend. However, we must bury our dead before they start to stink up the place. We need to embrace change in order to reinvigorate our community with fresh vibrant blood. In short, we need to clear out the dead wood to make way for the saplings. Imagine the little apartment complex behind the village filled with young 20-somethings going to college and just moving out on their own vice the meals on wheels population there now. Guess which one we want for the future of our community. This is why I propose the GP For Life GP Revitalization Plan: 1. Put the old people in the home, preferably in some place like Trenton. 2. Start issuing liquor licenses more than once a decade. Young people like to party. Embrace it. 3. Celebrate our nautical heritage. Our lakefront is what separates us from the culturally illiterate west-siders, let's make it the forefront of a multi-prong plan to attract a younger generation of GP'ers. I am GP For Life and you know I am right.
jon bell October 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM
You just insulted the demographic that will make it a success, young people don't have money, old people do. don't get me wrong, we had a business on kercheval for 10 years and loved are young people.but the number of old people with money is huge.
Bob Frapples October 25, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Young people tend to spend money on things like restaurants, bars, entertainment and having a good time where as older people (especially in Grosse Pointe) seem to spend money on products that they then expect to last FOREVER and get upset easily if it isn't as good as the one they bought 40 years ago. I, too had a business for 25 years and the younger people parted with their money way easier. Think about the areas that have the busiest nightlife right now: Ferndale, Royal Oak, Corktown and any college town. I would like to see a better mix of young & old around here rather than the retirement village it's become.
GP For Life October 25, 2012 at 02:04 PM
What are you selling? Geritol? Perhaps, I wasn't specific enough. We need more young professionals in this town or it will die. Do you know where born and raised GP kids move if they manage to get a job in the area? Royal Oak. You know why? They have better bars where they then spend the money they don't have, according to you. We need a better night life in GP. We need to make it a destination for people other than the roving gangs of thieves from across the border.
Lyn October 25, 2012 at 05:54 PM
GP for life, you too will get old some day, hopefully, and then you will need to be hauled off to Trenton (under you plan above). So I guess you really aren't GP for life. ;-)
The Village Malcontent October 25, 2012 at 06:20 PM
GP for LIFE I am all for a vibrant community life in GP. BUT "The roving gangs of thieves from across the border" aren't a factor in Royal Oak and with the lack of reliable public transit on Woodward aren't likely to become a factor any time soon. So I still think the young ones will choose Royal Oak over GP when it comes to night life because the chances of them finding their cars where they park them after a night on the town are greater in Royal Oak. Let's hope these new establishments have early bird specials with low salt selections on the menu.
GP For Life October 25, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Lyn, unless I have grossly underestimated the rate of medical advancements, I will be dead long before I am "old". My lifestyle is not exactly conducive to a long healthly life. Every day I wake up is small miracle. Not just for me, but for our community as a whole.
GP For Life October 25, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Bob, it sounds like you're jumping on the GP For Life GP Revitalization Plan bandwagon! Good for you! Seriously, our town is getting a little moribund. Which is awesome if you're Chas. Verheyden, not so awesome if you're looking for something to do on a Friday night.
GP For Life October 25, 2012 at 08:32 PM
The Village Malcontent, I would think you're overestimating the public safety of Royal Oak. The last thing this town needs is more early bird specials, unless they're drink specials.
GPP October 26, 2012 at 12:53 AM
@A.R You only see the problem not the solution? This is great news for us. I for one will support all three restaurants weekly.
RoseMarie Doles October 26, 2012 at 12:35 PM
@GP For Life hahaha excellent rebuttals. You are on a roll! But you better watch your back in the village on Senior Wednesday's.
GP For Life October 26, 2012 at 08:17 PM
The only thing in the Village I do on Wednesdays is Waffle Cone Wednesday and since most of the elderly in America are already tettering on the brink of diabetus, in the words Wilford Brimely, I won't be seeing any of them there. Also, unless these elderly assailants have been bonging Ensure a swift roundhouse to the hip will put them down for the count. In short, I am not worried.
Susan Reid November 01, 2012 at 10:43 AM
So happy to hear of the new enterprises for the park. Having been a Tallulah fan for the past few years, I am sure Grosse Pointers will thoroughly enjoy a true fine regional eatery. Wish Ms.Lopus all the best. S Reid
Nancy Gutierrez March 15, 2013 at 11:47 PM
The parking is indeed a problem- employees of the Red Crown have taken all spaces in front of existing business areas and much of the parking inside the designated parking area in front the Red Crown.- really hurting businesses that have been here quite a while. With more restaurants opening, I fear the parking will spill over into the neighborhoods, which daily experience parking shortages as many residences do not have driveways. I love the idea of a more vibrant business district, but once the other restaurants and the bakery are open,I think there will be a real problem .
Courtney AD May 08, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Very excited to hear about the new restaurants! I am a young professional who is tired of having to drive to Royal Oak and Birmingham in order to enjoy a decent walkable nightlife. GP can still be a family oriented neighborhood with great bars and restaurants!!


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