The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Social Kitchen and Bar

A few weeks ago the Pieholes were at camp and Boom Boom and I found ourselves with a lot of time on our hands.  With the new house sucking a lot of our energy and – more importantly – money, we opted for a “staycation” of sorts.   Though with all of the shopping and dining out we did in those two weeks,  I’m not sure how much money we actually saved.   But we did manage to get away and visit a far-off, exotic city – Birmingham.

That’s  Birmingham in Michigan, not England.  Or even Alabama.

Since moving to Ann Arbor eight years ago, outside of trips to the airport or passing through on the way to Chicago, I only leave Ann Arbor along the lines of 3-4 times a year.  Boom Boom is in sales so she’s seen quite a bit of the state and she was saying that downtown Birmingham was worth a visit.  It’s one of the most affluent of Detroit’s suburbs, so it has some nice shops and restaurants.  And since I do love shopping and was enthused about getting some blog fodder checking out a new restaurant, I was game for the trek.

We decided to check out Social Kitchen & Bar.   It’s been around for about a year and the dinner menu features twists on different comfort food classics like TV Dinner, Hot Dogs in Blankets, and Shrimp & Grits.

The Space

It’s a beautiful looking place with seating both inside and out.   There’s a rooftop area that apparently gets pretty lively at night, but it was closed when we were there.  The décor was a mixture of industrial and rustic design elements, which echoed the theme of whimsical twists on classic food.

So in the wide open dining room, there was exposed ductwork and walls accented with weathered planks.

social space

restaurant design

We sat in the brightly-colored outdoor area.

Social out

dining in Detroit

The Drinks

We got there around lunchtime and the only available menu was their brunch menu.  Reflexes kicked in because as soon as I heard “brunch” I wanted a Bloody Mary and, thankfully, they had a pretty good Bloody Mary Bar.  I don’t understand why more places don’t have these things.  I’ve been to a few really good ones in Chicago, but I don’t recall seeing any in Ann Arbor – a travesty that needs to be rectified soon.

After getting a pint glass with a generous pour of vodka, it was off to the bar.   First, you really should put in some mix or tomato juice.  Otherwise you’re drinking straight vodka, comrade.

Social juices

best bloody mary

Then you spice it up with some Worcestershire  and some hot sauce.  I can’t remember which ones I chose, but I’m sure a couple had “ass” in the title.

Social sauces

hot sauce

Then you add some garnishes like celery, olives, pickles, etc.  What I liked about Social’s bar was they also had all kinds of meats like bacon, summer sausage, and beef jerky.

Social meat


Here’s my monstrosity.

Social BM

On the skewer are beef jerky, smoked sausage stick, and a garlic-stuffed olive. (Not one of my best efforts presentation-wise…)

drinks as art

The Food

Boom Boom opted for the Egg Sandwich – fried egg, guacamole, hot sauce, tomato, bacon, and cheese.

Social sandwich


I chose the Chicken & Waffles

Social waffle

regional food

The waffle was downright perfect – crispy on the outside and airy within.  It was topped with pieces of crispy chicken breast  covered with a maple-bacon glaze.  It was decadent.  Perhaps a little too decadent.  The other times I’ve had chicken & waffles, the chicken came out plain so I was able to choose whether to douse it with sweet (maple syrup or honey) or with spice (hot sauce).  I had more than enough hot sauce in my cocktail, so it wasn’t really missed time around.

That all said, I think I liked Boom Boom’s sandwich a little more because of the varied flavors, temperatures, and textures.  Mine was a little two-noted – crispy and sweet.


The Verdict

It was a great meal.  I’m curious to try it for dinner as they did a damn good job at brunch.  And based on the menu and the atmosphere, I can definitely see this place being pretty lively for dinner.

But that liveliness is also why I rarely leave Ann Arbor.  Birmingham is a about an hour away from our house.  I don’t have a problem with driving that far for a meal – and this place can be worth that schlep.  But if it’s lively and there are a couple cocktails involved, there’s no way I could get home.

Maybe you can drive me?


Social Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon


About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

23 comments on “Social Kitchen and Bar

  1. the winegetter
    September 12, 2013

    That meat-skewer in your Bloody Mary is so you it made laugh. Looking forward to lunching tomorrow!! Sounds like a nice place, and the sandwich definitely looks awesome.

  2. the drunken cyclist
    September 12, 2013

    I thought the meat skewer was some sort of sacrifice… Place sounds good, though. Never heard of a bloody mary bar…

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      September 12, 2013

      The bars are fantastic – one of my faves in Chicago had jumbo shrimp which I’ve “”sacrificed” on the skewers. Two at a time.

  3. Yinzerella
    September 12, 2013

    someone needs to get on that shit in Baltimore.
    Beef jerky? HELL YES.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      September 12, 2013

      just promise not to put a hot dog in it…

      • Yinzerella
        September 12, 2013

        Summer sausage is close.

        • thefoodandwinehedonist
          September 12, 2013

          That’s ok. Hot dogs in bloodies is like putting ketchup on a hot dog. Yick!!

        • Yinzerella
          September 12, 2013

          I can’t even respond to that comment considering all of the random shit I have put on hot dogs.

  4. talkavino
    September 12, 2013

    Someone just told me yesterday about Bloody Mary with bacon and sausage in it. I guess it is a new trend – very interesting. I always love tomato juice as an accompaniment to the fried meats – now, this is a step up!

  5. wineandhistory
    September 12, 2013

    I’ve never heard of a Bloody Mary Bar either, but I don’t like Bloody Mary’s so I doubt I’ll be seeking one out. What they really need is a Mimosa/Bellini bar!

  6. teacherpatti
    September 12, 2013

    Every time you call your wife boom boom, I think of two things: my blind student whose street name is “boom boom” and Freddie Boom Boom Washington.

  7. Laura
    September 12, 2013

    Love downtown Birmingham! Social Kitchen has been on my “to try” list for a while, and your review just moved it closer to the top. Also…your Bloody Mary was outrageous.

  8. Josh
    September 12, 2013

    I don’t go to Downtown Birmingham much. With Royal Oak’s and Ferndale’s DTs so close it just never comes up as an option. Maybe it should.

    On another topic, no horseradish? Gotta have prepared horseradish in the ‘Mary.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      September 12, 2013

      Oh yeah, a coupla scoops were in there. Mentioned in a reply to one of the other comments.

      I do like Ferndale DT, and R-O is just nuts now. But still a long trek for me.

      • Josh
        September 12, 2013

        Sorry, too busy with beer to read all the comments! Ha! Anyway, yeah, nuts is a good word for downtown Royal Oak. Still worth a visit, though. A few new restaurants have come in recently that are interesting if nothing else. Have you been to Corktown in Detroit recently? That neighborhood is blowing up right now for food and booze.

        • thefoodandwinehedonist
          September 12, 2013

          Not in a while. Last time I was in D was 1.5 yrs ago when I wet to Slows (meh). I rarely leave “the island”. Not necessarily proud of that, tho

  9. thewineraconteur
    September 12, 2013

    Welcome to my side of the pond, though as empty-nesters, my Bride and I get to sample all of the communities, which also gives me fodder for my writings. We don’t consider Ann Arbor a long trip at all, and in fact will be there Monday. Birmingham, Royal Oak and Fabulous Ferndale also get visited as well. Maybe we shall run into you, one day.

  10. ksbeth
    September 12, 2013

    sounds like a winner, i will def try it out and glad you had a chance to check out bham. next time in that area hit up vinsetta grill on woodward –

  11. wildbluewonder
    September 24, 2013

    Yep, I have to go there!

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This entry was posted on September 12, 2013 by in Dining, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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