Local Kitchen and Bar
We weren’t quite sure where Local Kitchen and Bar was located so we found a parking place on 9 Mile, in the heart of Ferndale, and started walking. As we were passing by unique storefronts and masses of people, we saw a large awning with sidewalk seating and an open designed chimney, stacked full of logs, rising above the roof, and realized this must be the place. We enter the restaurant through a small vestibule that contains some beautiful antiques, a generous sized window, and some plants. As we continue through a second door, we are pleasantly greeted by the hostess; stationed in the waiting area that is filled with a variety of seating choices. Guests can opt to sit at the u-shaped bar, one of many high-top tables, or a more intimate, fireside, seating option. The bar is surrounded by turquoise, red, and black vintage bar stools and accommodates seating for 12, plus standing room for several more. The lobby side of the bar has a series of windows, which gives the visual effect of being outside of the restaurant; however it allows the patrons the opportunity to enjoy a drink while waiting for a table. This unique feature, although visually appealing, creates difficulty for the bartenders to properly hear patrons, especially when the lobby is busy. The ceiling is an open design with exposed ducts, which are painted black. The illusion of a lower ceiling is created over the bar with horizontally mounted antique wooden ladders decorated with a collection of baskets and pottery and an abundance of liquor bottles are openly displayed on various shelves surrounding this area.
As we are lead to the outdoor patio, we pass by a roaring fire, topped by a towering column of logs (stacked cut-end out for added visual interest). The fireplace is two-sided and can be viewed from inside the dining room and from the outdoor patio. Cozy seating areas are on both sides where guests can comfortably wait to be called to their table. I imagine guests are in no hurry to leave this spot on cool evenings, although the flickering candlelight in the stainless steel and glass lanterns surrounding the patio invite the diner to move along in their dining experience. There are a variety of different sized tables throughout the dining room and patio and the tables are elegantly decorated with fresh flowers and candles.
The outdoor patio contains a special area where there is a collection of various types of lights strung above an oversized dining table, reserved for large parties. This dining area is anchored by a wall decorated with mirrors in all shapes and sizes. Although I didn’t get close enough to this area, I imagine the combination of candlelight and ambient lighting reflecting in the mirrors amplifies the elegant and festive environment.
An eclectic selection of hard finishes is used throughout the entire restaurant. Brick walls, wood millwork and furniture, aluminum ducts, concrete floors, laminate-look counters and tabletops, metal antiques, vinyl upholstery, and glass and metal accessories are contrasted by the use of, what appears to be miles of pale blue fabric, draperies; softening the hard edges and creating a sense of mystery to what lies beyond.
There are two sets of staircases (and an elevator) leading to the upper level where special events take place. The first set of stairs is slightly hidden by a flowing fabric panel in the main dining room and the second set of stairs is located behind the bar. The event area has beautiful wooden floors, white walls, an open ceiling, and windows softened by panels of sheer white fabric. One unique feature is the large window panels at the floor level that provide a view into the restaurant and vice versa, guests can catch glimpses of movement in the event area when the fabric panels are left open.
Courtesy of Brian Siegel, Developer and Business Manager, a beautiful collection of antiques and decorative accessories is artfully displayed in a manner that leads the eye throughout the entire restaurant. Even navigating utilitarian spaces, such as stairways and restrooms, is a true delight as there are collections of accessories displayed in unexpected areas.
After my first visit, I corresponded with Rick Halberg, Developer and Executive Chef, and made arrangements to return so that I could take photos for this blog post. During my second visit, I was able to talk to Angela Knight, Manager, and Hanna and Corey (hostess and waiter) who graciously answered questions and spoke passionately about the restaurant. What once was a gas station with a Masonic Temple directly behind it is now seamlessly joined into this enchanting, multi-functional space known as Local Kitchen and Bar located in beautiful Ferndale, Michigan.