When Peter Landrum opened Red Brick Kitchen eight years ago, his vision was to create, “without being too corny, a local family-friendly spot you could be comfortable coming to a couple times a week.” He’s been successful, it seems, as he describes his clientele as “70% regulars who keep coming back.”
Jill Fyke, a teacher at Mill Creek Middle School, is one of them. She heads to Red Brick a couple times a month with colleagues on Friday afternoons after school. “The atmosphere is relaxed, and the service is great,” she says. “The pickle chips are amazing, they have great sandwiches, and the spiced chickpea appetizer made me want to go home and make them.”
From the top
That awesome service starts with Landrum himself, who typically puts in 75-80 hours a week doing set-up and working behind the bar. Though he’s often busy, he says many of the hours don’t feel like work. “I love meeting people,” he explains. “This town’s great. People come to me with their issues, problems and praises as well. I’ve gained some great friends through this place.”
Much of the staff consists of “local kids who went through Dexter High School,” including Cody Wisely, the Executive Chef, who originally started as a dishwasher. One of his popular specialties is the PEI Mussel appetizer (steamed in white wine, garlic & butter). The ten-dollar portion is generous and the flavor is tangy and savory. “They’re something we started serving more as a personal liking for myself,” Landrum explains, “and they’ve always been a big hit. We have lots of variations, especially in the summer months (when the back deck is open) and we serve them Oberon-steamed. We’ve taken them off the menu before and we’ve gotten some friendly backlash.”
Other savory specialties include a lovely slate of fresh salads and soups, a sandwich selection that includes the Drunk Grilled Cheese (beer-braised onions, cheddar, provolone on toasted brioche) and a truly wonderful Cuban Sandwich (pork tenderloin, applewood bacon, ham, pickles, swiss cheese, spicy mustard on rustic Italian bread). Generously plated main courses are highlighted by the outstanding Seared Salmon (with wild mushroom truffled risotto) a Rustic Tuscan Pasta (penne, amish chicken, applewood bacon, tomato, asparagus, white wine, garlic, spicy red pepper flakes) and a heaping portion of Beef Nachos (homemade tortilla chips, cheddar queso, seasoned beef, shredded lettuce, onion, tomato, fresh jalapeno, crema, cilantro). Vegetarian, gluten-free and kids’ menu options are also available.
The bar, around which much of the social warmth is centered, offers a combination of classic cocktails with weekly new “creative innovations.” The eight taps flow only with Michigan-brewed craft beers. Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 3-6pm and features various drink, wine, beer and food specials. Landrum, full of energy as he mixes drinks and pours glasses of beer and wine behind that bar, continues something of a family tradition. Peter started working in the restaurant business with his father and brother Robert, who owns Cafe Felix in Ann Arbor. David, another brother, owns Two Janes Distillery in Corktown in Detroit.
“None of us really liked the 9-5 cubicle perspective,” Landrum says. “Meeting new people every day, hearing new stories, that’s what makes work fun.”
Red Brick Kitchen
8093 Main St., Dexter
734-424-0420 | redbrickkitchen.com