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Practicing vigilance

According to the American Addiction Centers, nearly one in five hospitality employees reported the use of illicit drugs within the past month, the highest rate of any industry. A new restaurant concept, for Michigan, has opened in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood to combat a slice of this issue. Vigilante Kitchen + Bar is poised to be the first eatery of its kind in the area where elevated Midwestern cuisine is served up alongside recovery support for the staff. Located in the former Smith & Co. space, Vigilante Kitchen + Bar is the brainchild of executive chef Aaron Cozadd, in partnership with Michigan-based Mission Restaurant Group. The idea for Vigilante Kitchen + Bar was sparked in an unexpected setting back in 2012: a jail cell in Oakland County, where Cozadd found himself locked up after a second DUI. Recognizing the need to redirect his mind, body and spirit, as well as his career, he envisioned a space where these transformations could become a reality – for himself and for others. “For as long as I can recall, the restaurant industry has carried a dark negative stigma,” said Cozadd. “At Vigilante Kitchen + Bar, we’re going to illuminate this issue by offering a supportive program for those struggling with addiction.” Chef Cozadd’s core mission is to help industry workers struggling with addiction by providing practical resources and guidance to aid them in achieving positive personal growth while advancing their culinary skills. Benefits offered to support the staff’s journey towards recovery include onsite recovery meetings, pre-shift meditation sessions, access to addiction counseling, assistance with fitness programs, and health insurance coverage for all full-time employees. Vigilante Kitchen + Bar features beloved Midwestern classics with a twist, such as Pho-ken Noodle Soup. This delectable dish takes the familiar comfort of chicken noodle soup and elevates it with refined classical French culinary techniques, infusing it with the vibrant flavors and presentation style of Vietnamese pho. Signature dishes also include Szechuan hot chicken bao, Szechuan spareribs, open-faced crab Rangoon, Ahi Wellington, koji braised short rib, yuzu thyme chicken, XO lobster tail and an A5 Miyazakigyu. The interior design has been transformed by Patrick Thompson Design. “Chef Aaron’s early concept for Vigilante Kitchen was so unique that we could easily envision how the restaurant would look,” said Patrick Thomson, principal, Patrick Thompson Design. “It’s been an amazing experience to help bring his vision of bold punk rock, love of graphic novels and the tenets of Buddhism to life.” 644 Selden Street


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