Peninsular Place


June 24, 2012

Wolverine Grill

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Hamburgers and other healthy things

The Wolverine has been a staple in the downtown Ypsilanti community for years. It’s more than just a place to get a bite to eat, it’s an establishment. Back in March, it was taken over by new management and head chef, owner, community maverick and Downtown Association of Ypsilanti (DAY) Chairman Kevin Hill has really enjoyed starting a new era for The Wolverine.

“We’re offering a new, fresh, locally sourced menu with some vegetarian and gluten free options,” said Hill of the new changes. “We’ve got something for everyone, and, while we can’t source every item on the menu from our local community, we do as much as we can.”

Gone are the days of the dollar coney and the infamous “Fishy.” Now you’ll be pleased to try a spinach and feta frittata or on weekdays sample the Special of a burger, fries and a fountain drink for a cool $5.

“We’re becoming a destination for weekend breakfast seekers, and we really add some variety to a growing downtown dining community,” said Hill.

Character is easy to find when popping in and out of businesses in downtown Ypsi, and the Wolverine has plenty. Between the “Periodic Table…Table,” the classic diner look and feel of the layout (and, of course, the patrons), it’s an experience just to be in there.

“It’s fun chatting with folks who used to come in. Now they’ve got a new but familiar place to come for meetings and lunch, of course,” said Hill.

While the menu and interior have changed a bit and partner Steve Hylkema runs the show, keeping things “operationally viable”, don’t be surprised to run into some old, friendly faces including Deloris who’s been slinging dishes since 1979. Hill, a former culinary arts teacher in the Howell School District, is more than just a good cook. He’s also a fan of Michigan music. So, there’s a natural fit at the Wolverine — good music and good food, which happens to be iSPY’s thing.

“Eventually we’d like to be a destination for Michigan music memorabilia, engaging Michigan music both past and present,” said Hill when I asked about the label on the menu that reads: “Unofficial Home of the Michigan Music Hall of Fame.”

His love and support for music will branch beyond the restaurant as the Wolverine will be open late during this year’s Crossroads Music Festival, which takes place on Washington Street in downtown Ypsilanti every Friday through July and August.

Leni Sinclair, Detroit photography legend and former wife of cultural revolutionist John Sinclair, will be displaying some of her iconic images at the Wolverine on August 11. You’ll probably want to drop in and try that frittata when she’s there and get lost in Iggy’s abs or the afros donned by members of MC5.

Stop in and see Kevin and Steve. Say hello, eat some breakfast, lunch or even brunch if that’s your thing. You’ll be happy you did and you’ll leave with a story to tell.

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