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A peek inside from the large glowing window on Hamata Street in Hazel Park. Photo credit: © Joe Vaughn

Hazel Park Eatery Frames New Dining Experiences


Imagine walking into your favorite neighborhood bar and ordering a few drinks, knowing that what you’re really there for is the night’s main event. That event is “hidden” behind a door that blends right in with the wall that surrounds it thanks to a mural painted by artist Glenn Barr. If this is your first time at the new Hazel Park attraction, you might wonder where you’re supposed to wait, if there’s somewhere you need to check in to confirm your reservation, etc. Rest assured, all is taken care of.

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Suddenly, a door opens to reveal a quaint dining area, serenely lit with warm luminescence and several rows of communal dining tables. A host confirms your name on a list of reservations and seats your party at an assigned table. You have arrived at Frame.

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Communal seating inside Frame’s stripped-back surroundings. Photo credit: © Joe Vaughn

The communal tables play matchmaker to conversation with complete strangers as you are treated to a multi-course meal from a chef local to the Detroit area. Since opening last spring, Frame has hosted four resident chefs for multi-weekend prix-fixe dinners, starting with Chef Brad Greenhill of Katoi.

“It was total kismet,” Frame & Joebar co-owner Cari Vaughn said.

The venue wasn’t set to open until June, but due to an unfortunate fire at the Katoi premises, Cari & Joe Vaughn brought Greenhill and his team on early. Frame needed a kitchen staff and the Katoi staff needed a place to work out of. They remained at Frame for seven weekends, preparing meals for up to 48 diners per seating.

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Vietnamese pho poured table side at recent Flowers of Vietnam dinner series. Photo credit: © Joe Vaughn

Since then, Frame has been privy to the culinary talents of Chefs Garrett Lipar of the upcoming Albena, Kate Williams of the upcoming Lady of the House and, most recently, George Azar of Flowers of Vietnam in Detroit, the latter of which I had the privilege of experiencing on his last weekend at Frame.

Azar and his staff prepared a five-course meal consisting of viet spliff rolls served with a peanut dipping sauce; steamed Ora King Salmon served on a bed of lemongrass, ginger and banana leaf with lobster essence and kefir lime; fried lobster served with angel hair vermicelli, seasonal citrus, palm sugar vinaigrette, rau mau and Red Boat salt; BBQ short ribs with sticky rice; and, for dessert, a purple coconut cake served with mango cream, plum gel and lychee caramel. Each course was presented by the attentive wait staff and, for my table’s first course, by the sous chef. A $40 drink pairing option was also available.

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Chef Garrett Lipar working in the Frame kitchen. Photo credit: © Joe Vaughn

Cari & Joe Vaughn have a long professional history in metro Detroit’s food scene prior to opening Joebar and Frame. Joe is a photographer by trade, specifically a photographer of food. Cari’s speciality lies in curation, planning and coordination. Together, Frame is their outlet where they can leverage long-standing relationships with Detroit’s best culinarians, creating experiences for their guests (and photo ops for Joe).

In just four months, Frame has created varied experiences with the help of four separate chefs and their phenomenal teams. As for the establishment’s future, Cari says that they’re open to almost anything from private dinners to product launches, team building workshops and everything in between.

“I just want our guests to take away an experience,” Cari said.

Given Frame’s ability to craft new experiences each and every weekend, it’s near-impossible to tell what the future has in store for the Hazel Park eatery and I couldn’t be more excited.

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