Whether it is sizzling steaks smothered in a seafood sauce, or spicy wings piled high and set on fire, Drew Matthews loves to cook.
"I was cooking as a kid, so I grew up in the kitchen, as you can tell, with my grandmother and my mother. It just always was a passion for me," said Matthews, the owner and executive chef at Le Culture Cafe.
Matthew's passion for cooking ended up turning into his career, but not in the usual way. He decided to host a dinner out of his house and after an overwhelming response, he started doing a regular pop up brunch that was extremely popular. Eventually, he started looking for a place to open up his own restaurant.
"I found this space here in Black Bottom and I said what better place to, you know, to put a black-owned restaurant than in Black Bottom," explained Matthews.
Black Bottom is an historic black neighborhood in Detroit that really flourished during the Great Migration when people moved up north from the south thanks to opportunities for a better life and jobs created by the booming auto industry. Black Bottom was one of the few areas in the city where they were accepted.
"They were really just discriminated against, and this was kind of the spot that they could come to for residential housing," explained Charnae Sanders, the Public Programs Coordinator for the Detroit Historical Society.
She listed the boundaries of the neighborhood as Gratiot, Dequindre, Lafayette, and Hastings Street, which is now I-75.
"Black Bottom... had... this spirit of entrepreneurship, because Black Bottom had some of the first institutions for African American businesses," said Sanders.
Many elements of the art-deco style building were kept to reflect that history. Matthews also added some modern elements to give it a comfy new feel.
The food also reflects the restaurant's Black Bottom roots with their Black Bottom Cheesecake and their Le Culture wings with Hastings BBQ sauce. Matthews describes their food as upscale comfort food with an american twist.
Currently, Le Culture Cafe is reservation only, with reservations able to be made via Open Table online. Le Culture Cafe is located at 1428 Gratiot Avenue in Detroit.
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