You can always try something new at this Utica restaurant with rotating chefs

Chef residencies last 1-3 months

With an ever-changing menu, and a rotating list of chefs, there will always be something new to try at Host in Utica.

This unique restaurant is the brainchild of Michael Ivkov. Ivkov grew up in the restaurant industry, working his way up from dishwasher to manager, and eventually opening his own food truck, called Stockyard, with his business partner at the time. While running a food truck Ivkov says he experienced what he called “radical hospitality.” The concept was that the food truck would pop up at secret locations all across Detroit and serve a multicourse feast to about 12 patrons who bought tickets ahead of time. According to Ivkov, several local businesses allowed them to pop up in their space free of charge, just trying to help launch their careers.

When it came time for Ivkov to open a space of his own, he wanted to offer that same hospitality to other burgeoning chefs and restauranteurs. Also, Ivkov says he loves to dine in Detroit, and he selfishly wanted to encourage more upscale, creative new chefs to come to his hometown of Utica.

So in 2022 he opened Host, and while the first floor is a chic restaurant, the second is a co-working space. The boutique space offers 6 private offices and several communal rooms. During the pandemic, Ivkov said he struggled to work at home with two small children, so he wanted to create a space for others to work, free from distractions at home.

This business model allows Chefs like Michael Murabito a chance to test out their concept.

“Mike has been so kind as to offer me this residency so I can show people my voice through my food,” says Murabito.

Chef residencies last one to three months, and are for the dinner service only. Murabito will be the featured chef for April and May. Currently, they have a featured chef serving brunch, but plan to bring that menu in-house come June.

For the full story, watch the video above.

Host is located at 7759 Auburn Road in Utica.

About the Author:

Michelle Oliver is a multimedia Journalist for the 10 a.m. lifestyle show, "Live in the D." She is known as "the food girl" because of her two popular food franchises, Dine in the D and Find Your Fix. Michelle also covers stories on homegrown businesses, style, and other fun things happening in the D.