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Downriver couple expand French-style eatery to Fisher Building

Promenade Artisan Foods based in the downriver community of Trenton is making another grand march. Owners Chelsie and Jono Brymer will open a second location, offering its selection of pastries, lunches, grab-and-go dinners, and sandwiches, in the Fisher Building of Detroit’s New Center.

Chelsie and Jono Brymer

Promenade will debut on Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday, on the first floor of the Fisher Building on the Grand Boulevard street side. They will open for the day with a pop-up featuring its “craczki.”  The craczki (pronounced croons-key like poonch-key) is the bakery’s made-up word and take on the beloved paczki. 

“We are so humbled to have the opportunity to serve in the city that we love and grateful for the chance to learn from this vibrant community,” Chelsie Brymer said in a news release. “My family has been Fisher Theatre goers and Fisher Building admirers my whole life and we are so thankful for the opportunity to be here in this magnificent space.” 

At first, because of the coronavirus pandemic, Promenade Artisan Foods will be open 8 a.m – 4 p.m. on Thursdays only through March 18.  Operating hours after that will be 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday-Saturday as well as on theater nights and for events. 

In the Fisher Building, the café and bakery will offer the same menu as its Trenton location. Its menu features breakfast and lunch, grab-and-go dinners, and catering services.

Promenade Quiche

Menu items include Promenade’s signature custardy quiche served with field greens and sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Both the quiche and the cookies have been menu mainstays and top sellers since they first opened in Trenton.

A year prior to the pandemic, Promenade began selling its grab-and-go dinners. The dinners are $40 and serve four. Each features a main dish, mixed field greens, and four sea salt chocolate chip cookies.

The dinners took off when the pandemic hit. Looking to expand, but still working out of Trenton’s small kitchen, the search was on for additional kitchen space to rent in other communities. She heard that Fisher Building had kitchens in the basements.

“I asked about kitchen space to rent and they got back to me saying they have a kitchen and a space to rent,” Brymer said.

Promenade takes over from the former Fisher Bakery, the temporary bakery that filled the spot after City Bakery closed. Fisher Bakery closed when the coronavirus pandemic began.

The Brymers’ say they are not foodies, according to its website.

“We are in this for the people,” its website says. “Promenade Artisan Foods looks to inspire all who come through their doors and hope all leave with a smile on their face.”

Promenade scones.

Chelsie Brymer is no stranger to cooking. Growing up in the downriver communities of Gibraltar and Trenton, her family had a pizzeria. Her whole family cooks, she said. 

But the Brymers’ passion for cooking came out of desperation while living in Nashville, where they met. She was attending school, earning a master’s degree in education and Jono was a traveling musician.

“We were struggling to find work and we had the world’s smallest food budget,” Brymer said. “I ended up making everything from scratch.”

Wowed by their own cooking, the couple got creative while living on a limited budget.

“Having no money to spend on processed foods, we made our own pop tarts and bread,” Brymer said. “We were like, ‘This is so much fun and so delicious,’ and we liked doing it together.”

Promenade sea salt chocolate chip cookies

After several years of bouncing back and forth between Nashville and Downriver, the couple decided to plant their roots in Detroit and Downriver, raising their family of three children, now 8, 6, and 4, surrounded by many extended family members. They moved back permanently in 2015.

Inspiration to open the French-style café came from Chelsie Brymer’s late grandmother, Donna Jane Hedke, who she said, was proud of her French heritage.

But it wasn’t easy at first. 

They had lots of favorite restaurants and friends in a community they connected with within Nashville but not Downriver in their adult life.  

“We wanted to create a space that we would want to go and connect with other people that would also like to go and connect,” she said. 

The Brymers are self-taught cooks and bakers and Chelsie comes from a family of cooks, but there was still a learning curve. 

The most difficult part for the Brymers was making traditional croissants.

Promenade croissants are hand-rolled

At first, they tried to source croissants and croissant dough. But couldn’t find an awesome croissant. 

They made a commitment to make the croissants, with all the painstaking steps, from scratch and hand-rolled themselves. 

“It’s the most difficult path with the most difficult pastries,” Brymer said. “Learning the finicky nuances of fussy laminated pastries. But sweet little croissants are like a diva heiress who will smile when you’ve treated her like a queen from start to finish.”

It’s that flaky croissant dough the Brymers have mastered that go into Promenade’s craczki paczki. It’s the second year Promenade has made the craczki. A four-pack of craczki includes two raspberry lemon creme and two peanut butter chocolate. Craczki is $16 for pre-orders. Separately the craczki are $4.25 each. You buy the craczki, while supplies last, sold 8 a.m – 4 p.m. on Tuesday at its Fisher Building and Trenton locations.

Send food and restaurant news tips to Susan Selasky: 313-222-6872 or sselasky@freepress.com. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter. 

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