If you haven't already heard all the hype, there's a new place in town that is basically an auto repair shop turned restaurant. It's called Vinsetta Garage. Vinsetta Garage is the oldest garage east of the Mississippi. The name has stayed the same, and the interior has also kept as much of the original auto repair shop facility as possible. The biggest change? It serves food.
Click here for a photo gallery of Vinsetta Garage in Berkley, Michigan.
I may make some enemies here with this review of Vinsetta Garage so I'll start with a positive. I think the interior is perfect. They preserved the original Vinsetta Garage auto repair site with great respect, and added to it with a modern feel decor - somehow creating a garage that you want to dine in. Old auto repair tickets wallpaper the walls in the waiting area. Brick walls take the place of traditional dry wall. Auto shop concrete adds for a cold and dark flooring. And, you'll find (clean) oil rags for napkins and aluminum trays for serving the food. The dining experience at Vinsetta Garage was complete with a receipt delivered on a clip board.
Although they perfected the design and kept well with the theme, I can't say the same for the food. The menu at Vinsetta Garage seemed promising and we were thrilled to order, but it didn't deliver. Here's how...
The menu is filled with rare selections with solid Detroit eats that are old-time mechanics favorites. Vinsetta Garage's menu includes appetizers, soups, salads, burgers/sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, the infamous mac-n-cheese from Union, and dessert. Each of the menu categories is loaded with unique creations. The dogs included options that were topped with coal roasted tomatoes, grilled pineapple, MI cherry compote, sriracha mayo and more. And how about a loaded potato pizza that is topped with redskins, house-smoked Cheddar, garlic butter, shiitake bacon, and chives? Instead of serving fries with ketchup, Vinsetta Garage serves a tomato aioli for dipping your fries. Order a milkshake and it's made with liquid nitrogen. Order ice cream for dessert and be happy to see the Faygo brand Rock 'n Rye flavor topped with pop rocks. You'll also find grown up milkshakes at Vinsetta Garage - a nice touch.
Our mouths were watering with excitement and we couldn't wait for our orders to arrive. My husband got the burger (I say "the burger" because there's only one on the Vinsetta Garage lunch menu), and I got The Wilshire hot dog which was topped with Avocado spread, coal-roasted tomatoes, and garlic sprouts. These were our lunch menu options. The dinner menu at Vinsetta Garage is very different from the lunch menu. You will find options on one that are not on the other and vice versa.
For such a cool looking joint, I'm sad to report that I couldn't find the taste in my hotdog and its unique toppings. The bun was stale and the whole thing was kind of cold. The tomatoes were mush and I couldn't taste any "coal-roasted" flavor. I found myself adding Cholula and mustard for taste. My husband got the burger and it was a grease bomb. He literally bit into the Vinsetta Burger and grease came dripping out. The bun was soggy and the whole thing just starting falling apart to the point where he could no longer pick it up to eat it. The fries were also quite greasy and in my opinion, a tad overdone. And, in all honesty, neither of us even ate much of our lunches.
We decided to try dessert to see if it would be any better. I ordered the keylime pie which was served in a cute little Mason jar as an individual pie with the graham cracker crust pressed into the sides of the jar. For me, I've never had keylime pie. But, this was very yellow and tasted very much like a key-lemon pie to me. Creamy and tart, and topped with whipped cream and candied citrus zest. None-the-less, I like lemon and it tasted better than the hot dog I ordered. My husband got the Faygo Rock 'n Rye ice cream topped with pop rocks. He said it was good as well.
Vinsetta Garage is under the same ownership as Clarkston Union. I've heard great things about Clarkston Union and was hoping for the same at Vinsetta Garage. And after looking at the lunch menu, one would think that when you take a menu and streamline it down to just a few items, you would "rock" at preparing those items.
I didn't see a kids menu at Vinsetta Garage.
One final note: parking is beyond ridiculous. If you get one of the three spots in the back, consider it a lottery win. You will find cars lined up the nearby streets in attempt to use the neighborhood as a parking lot. The local grocery store down the street has put up signage hoping to deter Vinsetta Garage patrons from using their parking lot. And, during a lunch hour when we went to Vinsetta Garage, the entire grocery store parking lot was full... all grocery customers? I think not. We ended up parking across the street and running across 4 lanes of Woodward each direction just to sit down and have lunch.
To sum up the experience - Totally fun atmosphere, but totally disappointing food and terrible parking situation. I'd go there for drinks with friends, but I don't see myself eating there.
27799 Woodward Avenue
Berkley, Michigan 48072
248 548 7711
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