A longtime chef and caterer is selling his recipes from a Marathon gas station in Canton, an endeavor that's proving to be a winning example of entrepreneurship aided by a quick-moving city government.
Robert Grant's business plan to set up a restaurant in one corner of a gas station was unusual and, he was warned, could be problematic under city code.
"They were amazing," says Grant, who worked in food services at Metro Airport, for Pan Am Airlines and in catering on the campaigns of several Detroit and Michigan politicians. "
The K&L Marathon Deli featuring Fussy Gussie's Corned Beef is located at the corner of Lilley and Warren roads in Canton. It opened three months ago and is attracting nearby residents, office workers and walk-ins. The restaurant, a $1,200 investment, is basically two stainless steel tables as a front counter and prep space with a home refrigerator, hot plate and meat carver behind. In the back of the store, unseen, is the corned beef that so many people come for.
Grant, a culinary arts graduate, proudly displays his certificate of occupancy, food service license and a big poster with the first dollars he made here.
The restaurant name honors Grant's mother, who died in 2006. She left behind a winning corned beef recipe she learned from a Jewish woman she worked for. The ribs, green beans and Coneys "that are as good or better than Lafayette" are also on the menu, along with sandwiches, peach cobbler and other changing specials.
The name also recognizes the owners of the station, 42438 Warren. Owner Ken Merril urged Grant to bring some of his catering favorites into a retail setting. He's done it before in Detroit, but is still hoping to get a restaurant to stick. He's hoping to bring a food truck to Canton, something he'll go see those previously helpful city officials about, and one day package the corned beef sandwiches.
"He guess he probably smelled the cooking on my clothes one day and he said you could open up something here," says Grant, who was reluctant initially. "I prayed about it and took a chance. I'm so thankful for him and for everyone at the city who made sure I could get my business up and going in 48 hours. Can you believe that? They've given me the opportunity of a lifetime."
Source: Robert Grant, caterer and owner of K&L Deli Featuring Fussy Gussie's Corned Beef
Writer: Kim North Shine