OK OK, I’m a little late to the party on an issue that has been dividing the city of Detroit for months now. When it first came up I didn’t want to react out of emotion and say something I would regret. Like our President, I don’t just rush out and make a statement before I have collected all the facts. On hot button topics such as this one, the decision to come out immediately and take a side could divide all twelve of my readers. At this stage in my writing career, I just can not afford to take risks like that.
So after giving it some time and collecting all of the information that is now available I am now ready to make a statement and take a side. I’m also ready to offer you my opinion — And as a bonus, I’ll explain my opinion in ways that you can understand. It involves Kid Rock and it includes an announcement he made recently that could cause people to make a mistake that they will never forget. Ready for this one?
Kid Rock opened a restaurant.
Yes. Kid Rock, self proclaimed Son of Detroit — Or more accurately, Son of Romeo, decided it would be a good idea to open up a restaurant called Made in Detroit serving a variety of Southern and Detroit influenced dishes. The 5,800 sq. ft restaurant and bar sits in the new Little Caesars arena and is open to the public even outside of event dates. The walls are plastered with Kid Rock memorabilia but unfortunately Confederate flags were not allowed as a decoration, despite Rock’s deep ties to the southern states.
Now if you read that last sentence and detected sarcasm then you are doing a great job following along with me. Let’s dive into a history of Kid Rock so we can better understand the roots of his Made in Detroit restaurant because the story is what makes a restaurant great, am I right?
Bob Ritchie was born in Romeo, MI in 1971 on a six-acre estate with an apple orchard. His father, Bill, owned several car local car dealerships. At the age of 15 he ran away to the mean streets of Mt Clemens to DJ and rap for various parties and at the age of 17 signed a record deal as a hip hop artist with Jive Records. I’ll fast forward through bringing Uncle Kracker to the world, becoming a rap-rock superstar with Fred Durst and starring in a sex tape with the lead singer of Creed and get to the point. I read a lot about Kid Rock in preparation for this article. I learned a lot more about Kid Rock than I ever cared to know. I became confused on one big thing with Kid Rock’s life.
Where did his southern ties come from? After recording his most successful song in 2002 — A duet with Sheryl Crow — his sound completely changed from some of the worst rap/rock in the history of terrible rap/rock to a mix of Southern Rock and Country. His look changed from mesh tank tops and wife beaters to cowboy hats and creative uses of the American flag as clothing. Somehow, Kid Rock went from a terrible rapper to the most patriotic country artist alive, even dubbing him self the King of White Trash. Doesn’t this seem kind of weird? Stop to think, country music fans accepted Hootie as one of their own so is it really that weird that they also accepted Kid Rock?
So I got tired of researching Kid Rock’s love for America, his claim that he loves both the Confederacy and Black people and his deep affection for the South. There wasn’t really anything interesting about it. It was quite obvious that the guy saw an opportunity to transition from a genre of music that was slowly dying to another genre that was on the rise. Creating a character that made music about drinking whiskey, loving America and not giving a fuck was the more lucrative path. So Bob Ritchie created this character and turned into it.
So at the midpoint of this post you’re probably asking yourself when I’m going to actually start talking about food. Well my wonderful reader, here’s where we begin talking about how absolutely stupid Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit restaurant is. Ready? Let’s do it.
Much like his public persona, Kid Rock’s restaurant is also completely full of shit. We aren’t even going to go into the news that there were $2.9 million in fines for violating contracts requiring a certain percentage of contractors hired to construct the arena to be from the Detroit Area. In fact, 27 perfect of the total hours spent constructing the area housing Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit were actually worked by Detroit and Michigan based companies.
What we will go into is how completely ridiculous attempting to merge Southern and Detroit style cuisines together is. Ask yourself — what is Detroit style cuisine? Is there really such a thing? The only two things Detroit is known for are coney dogs and deep dish pizza. Can you make an entire menu out of these two items? The answer is absolutely not unless your making an entire restaurant specializing in one of them. So did Kid Rock decide that there wasn’t enough Detroit themed food items to fill his menu or did he feel the need to extend his “I’m from Detroit but I really really like the South” act into his restaurant? The answer is absolutely.
So when Kid Rock decided to open a restaurant called Made in Detroit he probably partnered with a Detroit based company to help him, right? That would only make sense seeing as the place is called Made in Detroit. Actually, he called up a large hospitality company called Delaware North out of Buffalo, New York. When it came time to hire a chef to run day to day operations? Kid Rock and Delaware North looked no further than Westland, MI(voted worst food city in the world from 2013-2016) to find their executive chef. No, I didn’t make the Westland connection up.
The menu includes exactly four menu items that have any actual ties to Detroit. There are the Coney Island Buns, Fried McClure’s Pickles, The Hamtramck Burger and a Michigan Cherry Pie. Everything else is a random mix that ranges from Chicken Shawarma Tacos, Nashville Hot Chicken, Fried Oysters and Grits, Beet Salad and to top everything off.. Vegan Bourbon Maple Ice Cream, because Kid Rock cares about vegans. Many menu items contain a bacon that is called out as Nueske’s slab bacon that is shipped in from Wisconsin. There is an American Goulash which is a little confusing, because goulash is a traditional Hungarian dish. The Made in Detroit Burger is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, American cheese and pickles — Leaving me wondering exactly what about this burger makes it Made in Detroit aside from the fact that it was assembled in Detroit.
If the food menu wasn’t confusing enough, the drink menu is even better. One of the great things about the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit over the last decade is the emergence of craft breweries and distilleries. There are thousands of great beers being produced out of the state and hundreds of choices in liquor. So what did Kid Rock choose for his beer menu? In-state choices are American Badass Lager, Ghetto Blaster and Two Hearted IPA. Other choices include Stroh’s, Labatt, Tecate and Black Label. There five liquor options from Michigan based companies but none are included in their cocktail menu. Couldn’t you at least use the liquor that is made in Detroit in the cocktails in a restaurant called Made in Detroit? Is that too much to ask?
I know, I know it’s silly to try use logic when dissecting the backstory and menu of a restaurant owned by a guy who once got into a fight at a Waffle House. It’s just hard for me to look at someone so full of shit open up a restaurant in a Detroit that has such an improving food culture. It’s also hard to look at someone who was once quoted as saying “My shows aren’t about trying to save some place, because I don’t feel that’s the right venue for it. That’s my politics right there: Don’t bring politics to my shows.” now giving political speeches teasing a run for Senate at his shows.
My stance: Don’t go to Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit. Don’t encourage celebrities partnering with large hospitality companies to open terrible restaurants and take away from the local food culture. Don’t go here, don’t go to Wahlburgers — Support local businesses who are actually a part of the city and give it character. Kid Rock somehow became a representative for a city that had hardly anything going for it. Detroit is better than Kid Rock now. I completely understand that celebrity presence brings money and recognition into the city but is Kid Rock really the celebrity we want when people think of Detroit? Maybe a decade ago when people outside of the city thought of it as a dumping ground. Not anymore.