DETROIT (WWJ) – Would you sit down for a gourmet meal in an art studio or a gift store?

As WWJ’s Sandra McNeill reports hundreds of people are doing it in Detroit at a popular pop-up restaurant called “Guns and Butter.” Chef Craig Lieckfelt has been staging the sit-down dinners since last September.

Chef Craig Lieckfelt (Credit/Gift Of The Grub)

Chef Craig Lieckfelt (Credit/Gift Of The Grub)

In conjunction with Detroit restaurant week, he will put up a long table with seats for 20 at the popular midtown store called Shinola.

How do you cook a chef-quality meal in a store?

“We set up a kitchen here,” said Leickfelt. “Two induction burners, and a cutting board, essentially. It’s not easy, but it’s fun. A lot of fun.” And clean. On a recent visit to the store, Lieckfelt had to cut the interview short as several health inspectors stopped in.

Leickfelt specializes in a creative and eclectic menu, based he said, on the season and what he sees available at Eastern market and other local food outlets. Last week’s menu, said Leickfelt, was Michigan lamb paired with eggplant and confit pistachios. He added a dish that was a play on the term

“Beefsteak tomato.” It involved a crudo of beef with a compressed tomato and a cheese sauce.

The menu and the setting has proved popular with people across all ages.

“It’s exciting to cook for such a variety of guests,” said Leickfelt. “Sometimes people who would not normally sit next to one another, they are, and it’s all because of food.”

So how did he come up with the name Guns and Butter? It’s the name of an economic theory, Leickfelt said.

“The theory itself is what a country decides to spend it’s money on, whether it’s military or domestic goods … We just kind of leave it open to interpretation of the guests.”

Leickfelt hopes to set up a permanent restaurant in Detroit within the next year.

Detroit Restaurant Week Runs Sept. 20-29 – Find out more HERE.

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