tThe owners of Vinology Wine Bar and Restaurant in Ann Arbor have opened a more casual concept at 210 South Old Woodward in downtown Birmingham. Called The Bird & The Bread, the new venue features a southern European style menu — including grilled octopus, thin crust pizzas with smoked duck sausage, and stout-braised lamb shank — and a homier style.
tAs for the name, co-owner Kristin Jonna says it keeps true to the more whimsical, family-oriented feel of the restaurant. “When my twins were born, my dad (John Jonna) nicknamed them ‘The Bird’ and ‘The Bread.’ My daughter came out looking like a chick that had just hatched, she had this little fuzzy head, and she was so tiny. And my son, he didn’t move much and was always bundled up, like a little loaf of bread,” she says.
tThe name also fell into place with the restaurant’s layout, with the pizza oven placed next to a rotisserie oven, Kristin says. “It just seemed to work for so many different reasons,” she says.
tTo further extend the family traditions, The Bird & The Bread also ties in the cookbook collection of Kristin’s business partner — her father. “My dad has been collecting cookbooks for 35 years, it’s almost a history of cooking and cooking trend. They’re hanging on all of the light fixtures. And there’s a whole bookshelf near our community table, where you can just take a book and read it while your there. I think that just kind of adds another layer of personality and warmth to the restaurant,” Kristin says.
tThe restaurant will host its grand opening March 18, when it will also premiere the facility’s 3,000-square-foot banquet space, The Elm Room. For more information, call 248-203-6600 or visit thebirdandthebread.com.
tIn Troy, Gabe Hertz established gluten-free Renee’s Gourmet Pizzeria at 1937 W. Maple Rd. in honor of his 14-year-old daughter, Renee, who was diagnosed with celiac disease and eosinophilic esophagitis four years ago. Since people with celiac disease are sensitive to gluten, the pizzeria’s menu is entirely gluten and nut free, Hertz says.
t“We could never go out to eat,” Hertz says. “With celiac, you’re very sensitive to any type of gluten — even a crumb could upset a person’s stomach if they have celiac. I hadn’t been out to dinner with my daughter for a year and a half.”
tHertz says that it took he and his business partner, Tim Karapici, more than a year to perfect the dough used in their pizzas. “Gluten-free pizza can taste really bad — it can taste like cardboard or too much like potatoes. But if you can tell the difference between our pizza and (a gluten) pizza, I would be amazed,” Hertz says.
tHe adds that the restaurant also specializes in soups and offers a Hungarian goulash soup, complete with gluten-free homemade dumplings.
tRenee’s, which can seat about 60 people, will host its grand opening with the Troy Chamber of Commerce on April 30. For more information, call 248-280-7800 or visit reneesgourmetpizzeria.com.
tIn other foodie news, Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe Farms recently expanded its lunch menu and extended its hours to encourage more traffic from the local public. Andre Neimanis, the restaurant’s executive chef, says that the new menu is about 60 percent larger and includes eight to 10 sandwiches and burgers.
t“It provides more variety for a diverse lunch crowd,” Neimanis says. “We are fine dining, but for lunch, we’re extremely competitive — it’s not going to break the bank to eat here.”
tFor further information, call 313-882-5299 or visit dirtydogjazz.com.