Restaurants, shops coming, going, moving in Oakland County

Posted on December 20, 2018

From bookstores to bridal gowns to top-shelf beef, the Woodward Avenue corridor in southeast Oakland County is booming with new businesses.

Royal Oak

Meals from scratch delivered directly to your home have been the hallmark of the Golden State Chef Company for four years but, in November, private chef Ryan Klink opened a storefront at 112 Catalpa in the former site of Gangnam Chicken.

Now, diners seeking home cooking have the option to grab the prepackaged meals directly from the store’s cooler and head home. Or they may eat there in the small dining area that seats 20. Klink said he will warm the meal up, plate it and add extra garnishes to give it that home-cooked touch.

“These are elaborate dishes,” he said, of the meals that include ginger basil turkey meatballs or red curry coconut soup. “It’s without the hassle of waiting at a restaurant or the shopping, the cooking and the cleanup at home.”

The storefront allows Klink to host pop-up dinners there and private events.

“I come from a fine-dining background, so I’m excited about the possibilities,” he said.

Longtime Howell restaurateur Adam Merkel has opened his second Diamonds Steak & Seafood at 100 S. Main Street in the former Cantina Diablos. Filet mignon and a 32-ounce dry aged prime Tomahawk for two share equal billing with mussels, scallops and Lake Superior whitefish.

Upstairs, though, is Red Fox, currently an Italian oasis where Merkel is serving up menu items from his Cello Italian Restaurant, also a Howell favorite. Its menu boasts house-made pasta and limoncello. The Italian presence is temporary as Merkel expects to eventually transform the menu to a small-plates restaurant, Detroit Free Press writer Mark Kurlyandchik previously reported.

Some might say Vera Asian at 305 S. Main Street,has the same flair as BD’s Mongolian Grill. Guests pick a base, like rice or noodles, then a protein, up to three vegetables and finally a sauce to create a meal.

Housed in the former site of Infinity Design jewelers, the made-to-order restaurant also has sushi.

Similarly, diners can customize their own gourmet burgers at BurgerIM at 30270 Woodward Ave., housed in a former sandwich shop.

Guests will continue making choices when it comes to ordering French fries. The chain’s signature spud resembles a thicker potato chip.

Craving sweet potato fries instead? There is even an order for half sweet potato and half thick spud fries.

Royal Oak’s Economic Development Manager Todd Fenton said BurgerIM is still working through the permit process.

Jewelry store Metals in Time, inside the three-story Wayne Oakland Bank building at 400 S. Main St., will close its 9,500-square-foot location at the end of the year.

Owner Sergio Basmajian expects to relocate in Royal Oak to a smaller building, said Fenton.


Just down the road at 22961 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale, two-year Michigan resident Elaine Jaeger opened Elaine B. Jewelry. This 1,800-square-foot dedicated design studio and showroom helps bring her custom pieces to life.

Jaeger, who has a fine arts degree in metalsmithing and hot glass work from Virginia Commonwealth University, uses silver, gold, diamonds and quartz – primarily from recycled materials – to create striking pieces. She favors geometric shapes, like cube earrings and hexagon necklaces, in her designs.

“I’ve been making jewelry for 10 years,” Jaeger says. “I’ve had a wholesale business and online presence, so it’s nice having a showroom that’s also a design studio.”

The space was previously occupied by Green Thumb Garden Center, which downsized its space and remains next door.

Two Ferndale businesses that have several years under their belt in the city have made some changes:

The Oakland Art Novelty Company, a craft cocktail bar at 201 W. Nine Mile Road, has renovated its façade. Its new accordion doors transform the hidden speakeasy vibe by making it visible from the streets. That also means, in warmer months, it will add patio seating, said owner Sandy Levine.

Le’Host Hair & Wigs, at 305 W. Nine Mile Road, has tweaked its name and business model, now focusing on hair replacement rather than hair salon services. It has bolstered its inventory with more than 300 designer and custom-made wigs, including its own Le’Host brand, named after owner Haith Le’Host Johnson.

One thing that hasn’t changed? Johnson still flies to India, Brazil and China to find the most luxurious real and synthetic hair.


Birmingham’s 110 Couture is back at its charming original location on the lower level of 110 S. Old Woodward Ave., offering the same one-of-a-kind women’s fashions, accessories and attentive service it did when it originally opened in 2003.

Owner Stacie Maier resurrected the shop after moving away and spending several years in Florida. She opened in November with a new business partner, her good friend and former customer, Carrie Aubrey.  They decorated the space with a symbolic butterfly to emphasize the boutique’s transformation.

“It’s a magical place here and guests feel it when they come in,” Maier said.

Buying designer bridal gowns straight off the rack and for a significant discount is rare but now visitors can do just that at Luxe Bridal Rack at 700 N. Old Woodward Ave.

Owner Maria Rubino chose Birmingham for her second location – the original is in Chicago – because she said she knew the demand for her carefully curated 200-plus collection would be well received in the community.

“Most gowns are designer overstock or are sample dresses,” Rubino said. She can order new dresses as well.

The salon is open by appointment only, which allows Rubino to focus on the bride’s unique experience.


Named after a character in the book Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy,Toadvine Books is writing its own story at 2783 Coolidge Highway.

The 1,500-square-foot shop, housed in the former Universal Electric Motors Service site, will sell a slew of new and used books that owner Luke Janes procured through the years.

Janes has the experience. He owned Kilgore Books in Denver for 10 years before moving back to his native state of Michigan, he said.

He plans on opening the shop’s doors before Christmas with a limited inventory, which he expects to round out in January.

Janes became a local celebrity, with his neighbor, after discovering a fragment of the meteor that rattled Michigan Jan. 16.

If all goes as planned, he will put that 4-billion-year-old stone on display in his store because he knows it’s a story in itself.

Tootie and Tallulah’s moved into its new location at 2600 12 Mile Road, allowing it to combine its consignment business, its local art offerings, repurposed furniture and fair trade gifts into the former Guildcrafters Quilt Shop.

Not only did it add a plant shop, which has enough space to host a make-your-own terrarium party, said owner Jeri Brand, but her store now has a coveted parking lot.

“I used to only have a few spaces near my store, so customers love it,” Brand said.

The renovation exposed some of the character that first appeared in the building’s original tenant, Baker Drugs, which Brand preserved, right down to the apothecary shelves.

“We love Berkley and it’s nice being on the main thoroughfare,” Brand said.

City Style, a boutique offering apparel, footwear and accessories, is closing at 3017 12 Mile Road. Co-owner Carrie Vestrand posted on Facebook that she will host pop-up shops and have an online presence but the bricks-and-mortar location will close soon. Hours are limited until then.

National chain FYE, which sells entertainment and pop culture merchandise, is closing its 28297 Woodward Ave. location.

The city hasn’t received business license applications for either property, said Tim McLean, director of Berkley’s Community Development.

Oak Park

You’ll be able to imbibe at Eddie’s Gourmet, 25920 Greenfield Road. The city granted a liquor license to the restaurant, which has a menu filled with steaks, shrimp and pastas.

It marks the third restaurant in Oak Park to receive a liquor license, said Kimberly Marrone, director of economic development and communications for the city.