GROSSE POINTE: Dinner And A Movie…

23 Feb

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I love movies. While today’s modern theaters offer perks like reclining seats, cup holders and surround sound, I still prefer watching films in old theaters and unique venues. This evening we are at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial for their Movies on Sunday series, tonight they are showing Alfred Hitchcock’s North By Northwest. First lets talk a little bit about the venue. The Russell A Alger Jr house, also known as The Moorings was built as the family home in 1910. The Italian Renaissance beauty perched above Lake St. Clair was donated to the community in 1949 to serve as a perpetual memorial to the 3,500 Grosse Pointers who served and the 126 who died in WWII. It is also used as a center for educational and charitable activities of the community. Oh and it’s an incredible location for a wedding or party. 

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The addition of the Fries Auditorium and Crystal Ballroom came along in 1962, the ballroom is stunning! From the parking lot we take the portico past the formal garden to the Crystal Ballroom entrance; the large space decorated in grey and silver feels opulent with dazzling crystal chandeliers, highly polished floor, statues and a shiny black baby grand piano. The main ballroom has floor to ceiling windows trimmed in white, Lake St. Clair provides a fantastic backdrop, the parquet floor is perfect for dancing. A stairway leads us down to Fries Auditorium where they are getting ready to start the movie, popcorn scents the air. Patrons are grabbing snacks and beverages before the lights dim, when everyone is seated Travis Wright from WDET’s Culture City introduces the film; there will be a talk-back after the film for anybody who’s interested.

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We sit in darkness as Hitchcock himself appears on the screen, a North By Northwest poster hangs prominently on the wall behind him; the music has the usual intensity of his films; Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason star. The film begins, Hitchcock makes his candid appearance and we’re off on a wild adventure of kidnapping, mystery, romance and chases. The most famous scenes, the crop dusting and the chase on Mount Rushmore, are just as intense today as they were in 1959. 136 minutes later the lights come back up, time for dinner.

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The Whiskey Six on St. Clair Street in The Village of Grosse Pointe opened last December to much fanfare. The restaurant/bar serves Michigan-made beer and spirits, fine whiskey’s and a full menu of food from appetizers and sandwiches to entrees—and they’re open till midnight on Sunday! The decor is what I would call rustic industrial; the large space is open floor to black ceiling, leaving ducting and wiring exposed. The centerpiece, of course, is the 1928 Studebaker parked on a platform above the bar–it’s sorta the bar’s namesake. Here’s a little bit of the history printed on the drink menu: “It is estimated that 75% of all of the alcohol imported into the US between 1920 and 1933 came through Detroit, mostly by boat. When the lake and river froze, the ‘importers’ turned to mostly six-cylinder Buicks and Studebakers to make the dangerous trek across the frozen or partially frozen river and lake. These vehicles came to be called ‘Whiskey Sixes’.”

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The drink menu is huge, I mean pages and pages of whiskey, gin, vodka, rum cordials and cocktails. While Kris studies his whiskey options I check out the food choices. We place our order, we are one of the few tables at this time of night, our window-side table overlooks the now vacant village. First to arrive is the Blanton’s Kris was happy to find on the list of whiskey. Shortly thereafter the crispy rice balls made with Fontina cheese, mushrooms, red pepper and asparagus topped with a dollop of lemon-lime aioli (think  Italian arancini) arrive along with the Prohibition Burger. The burger made with certified Piedmontese beef, cooked to a perfectly pink medium, is topped with creamy blue cheese, caramelized onion and black pepper mayo, it’s delicious. This is the perfect place to stop and grab a late dinner after the Sunday Movie. There’s always something going on in Detroit and the Metro; what a great way to end the weekend!


One Response to “GROSSE POINTE: Dinner And A Movie…”

  1. Joe February 24, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    Love it! I gotta go there!

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