Amid Detroit’s much-hyped dining scene, a growing group of aspiring chefs who, without the benefit of major investors, have found an alternate means to break into the city’s increasingly competitive restaurant business.
The Detroit Pop-Up Alliance boasts some 30+ members, many of whom come from immigrant backgrounds – from the Middle East and West Africa, to Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. The group pools together its collective wisdom, connections, and front and back-of-house skills to help with hosting success events (and earn some cash on the side).
You might have seen of some the alliance’s cuisine at the now shuttered St. Cece’s Pub, Le Petit Zinc, or Nancy Whiskey’s.
Come Feb. 26, one of the group’s earliest members, Ameneh Marhaba, will showcase her Liberian and Lebanese heritage when she hosts her Kitchen Ramarj pop-up at Brooklyn Street Local.
On the menu for the ticketed event ($35): tabouli salad, mini meat sambousek (fried pastries filled with ground beef and onions), couscous with lamb stew, and a fruit platter.
Fairly new to the local food scene, Marhaba has become increasingly active with her Kitchen Ramarj, going from occasionally cooking for family and friends, to seeing it as the start to a potentially lucrative career.
As for the concept of fusing Liberian and Lebanese fare, Marhaba tells Tostada Magazine that she grew up in both countries – her mother is from Liberia, her father, from Lebanon – resulting in her own family-inspired recipes.
The event runs 7 p.m.-10 p.m. and tickets must be purchased in advance (seating is limited). Click here for a more detailed preview of the menu. Brooklyn Street Local is at 1266 Michigan Ave.
(Photo courtesy of photographer Marvin Shaouni. Find out more about his work at marvinshaouni.com)
Author: Serena Maria Daniels
Serena Maria Daniels is the co-founder and head chingona of Tostada Magazine. She is an award-winning journalist based in Detroit and specializes on the intersection of food, identity, and culture.
Find her on Twitter and Instagram @serenamaria36!