Fast, cheap and out of control — We got an announcement from the people behind Moo Cluck Moo that they’re launching “the first of what is planned to be thousands or at least hundreds or maybe even tens of locations.” The new restaurant opens this Friday, April 5, with an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting by Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko. (The jocular tone of the press release continues, adding “this is the first time in history the Mayor of Dearborn Heights has ever cut a ribbon for Moo Cluck Moo.”) We get the sense that, behind all the kidding, these folks are serious. So what will they serve? The details were a little vague. The menu online lists burgers, a chicken sandwich, fries and milkshakes, with the Moo Cluck Moo team promising the food will be fast, healthful and cheap. Drop in for a taste at 8606 N. Telegraph Rd., Dearborn Heights; 313-562-9999; moocluckmoo.com.
Fresh Toast — One of Birmingham’s key dining destinations for good food and wine in a fun, quirky, casual environment, is Toast Birmingham. And they’re welcoming a new executive chef, settling on a choice we’ve had the pleasure of reporting on before. Three years ago, Myles McVay was part of a feature story (“Sharp Young Things,” March 17, 2010) on the hip young chefs who were shattering the mold with dreadlocks, tattoos and rockstar swagger. Back then, McVay was executive chef at Royal Oak’s D’Amato’s, working to create menus of Italian food that were more comforting, accessible and fun. With Toast, McVay should be able to deepen and extend his philosophy, which he described to us as a “come-as-you-are” approach to dining: “You can come in jeans and a T-shirt and have a good time. We don’t discriminate against anybody. I think the dark days of suit and ties, it’s just out, man. Just come in, be casual, eat some good food, get a good bottle of wine and enjoy yourself. That’s pretty much how it is. That’s how it should be, anyway.” Best of luck, McVay. For a taste of McVay’s new “progressive” menu, featuring such starters as short-rib ravioli and sweet corn lemongrass soup with wild mushrooms, crème fraîche and scallions, drop in at 203 Pierce St., Birmingham; 248-258-6278; eatattoast.com.
More shopping downtown? — As part of his development plan for downtown Detroit, Dan Gilbert announced plans for a Papa Joe’s Gourmet Market and Catering to be located inside the First National Building near Campus Martius. Don’t line up just yet; if it happens, it will be in early 2014.
Know of any upcoming food or drink events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or email email@example.com.
America’s Best Ribs
by Ardie Davis & Paul Kirk
(Andrews McMeel, $19.99)
FOOD THOUGHT For those of you who wait for warm weather to smoke some bones, it’s time to scrape last fall’s remnants off the grill and get ready to get cookin’. Ardie Davis and chef Paul Kirk, winner of more than 500 cooking and barbecue awards, have written yet another great book on one of our favorite foods. America’s Best Ribs is a guide for making lip-smacking championship-quality ribs at home. Learn to buy the best ribs — pork, beef, bison and lamb — prep them and cook them. There are also plenty of recipes for rubs, sauces, sides and desserts.
THE WORKS Here’s a recommendation for a first-rate grill that is efficient, versatile, durable and reasonably priced. For about $150, you get a Weber One Touch Gold, a covered 22-1/2-inch kettle that will serve as a grill for broiling over high heat or as a smoker, for cooking low and slow to turn out tender, mouth-watering, smoky barbecue. Ribs, pork butts, beef roasts and poultry, smoked over charcoal with a few handfuls of hardwood, hickory, mesquite, apple or pecan, will yield meat that’ll do you proud. The removable ash catcher simplifies cleanup. A $15 charcoal chimney will get the fire going fast.