Story & photo by Kevin Alan Lamb
Let us turn back the clock and relive a time where a meal meant to break bread with the artisan who cooked it and the farmer who harvested the grain, a time when we gathered in a celebration of community and progress in the form of shared creation and indulgence, fine whiskey, seasons passed, music and simple food, not made simply.
“The place is called Otus Supply. Otus is the genius of the great horned black owl, and the Supply really works with the industrial flavor, but also it plays from a marketing perspective: we’re supplying good friends, good cheer, good music, good food, good life,” Thom Bloom said with the type of smile that insists you believe him.
Located on 345 E. 9 Mile, Otus Supply opens in December and reminds us of the immense love and magnificence in the minutia with its intentional design, decor, and chef-inspired menu.
“It’s going to be a pretty full menu that’s seasonal, and it’s really inspired by the Great Lakes. Folks you know who have migrated over the last couple hundred years to the Great Lakes you know, whether that’s the Lebanese, the Polish, the German, the Dutch, the French. We drew influence from Chicago over to Cleveland, northern Michigan and Detroit. We call it simple food not prepared simply.
Since first learning of Ferndale’s newest spruce goose in July, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know the men behind the mission of inspiring and connecting a community through good food, good music, and art.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the concert business, I have other restaurants I’ve done. I was in the advertising business. Throughout all of these different careers you have a position or takes on different things. I took little bits and pieces of things that I really thought were important, and this is what Scott and I jokingly call our spruce goose.”
Before stepping foot in the newly-renovated, almost 11,000 square foot building, it becomes apparent that you are about to experience something special; something that you may not be able to articulate, but certainly feel and look forward to sharing it with others.
“We went out of our way to find as many recycled and architectural salvaged pieces to not only build the space, but to augment and decorate the space and kind of give homage to the last hundred years in Detroit history and living, prewar and postwar industrial revolution. In our design elements we kind of went back almost 300 years to the founding of Detroit. The French played a role in creating the kind of softer, feminine side of the design aspect.”
“We even went over to Paris and shopped, found pieces and windows and doors. Matter of fact, one of the old doors to a downtown Pairs building entered into a courtyard, a 10-foot door, you’ll see in our foyer. We also brought in three or four main artists who have played a major role in designing the space. One is Alex Morales from Smartmouth Designs out of Chicago, another is Daniel Ross from Detroit who does a very similar sculptural kind of woodworking perspective.”
When the doors open it will satisfy a number of needs in the Ferndale community, bringing in national and international acts to showcase a live room with over 30 taps, high ceilings, state-of-the-art acoustics, a sound booth made from reclaimed remnants of the train station, and music intent on making you move. There isn’t a music venue like it.
“Any music that happens here is going to be from the heart and soul, kind of roots Americana, New Orleans influence. It’s kind of, good old music you know? It’s really about having the musical side tap into the same kind of passion that we put into the food. We don’t want to make a mistake about the order here either, you know? It’s food first, and music a close partner alongside.”
Otus will host the official Greensky Bluegrass New Year’s afterjam with Greg Burns & Friends, featuring Anders Beck, Mike Shimmin, Mike Lynch, Dave Menzo and special guests, The Kitchen Dwellers and The Whistle Stop Review. A free shuttle will be provided from Royal Oak Music Theatre to the Otus each night.
The building has been expanded with a new foyer and garage door space, along with a patio covered by a steel roof, with steel girders, and three large garage doors that ascend 18 feet in the air to be out of sight.
“It’s a real wide open outdoor space in warm weather scenarios, it’s open if it’s sunny in the winter, as much as possible when it’s warm, it’s a four-seasons scenario, on the Inside as well.”