Local dishes: Ann Arbor’s Jagged Fork offers breakfast and juicy brunch
ANN ARBOR – Between construction works and pandemic closings, you may have missed Ann Arbor’s newest downtown spot for breakfast and juicy brunch.
Ann Arbor’s Jagged Fork opened last January, offering brunch standards with signature twists like homemade sriracha maple syrup, locally sourced corn tortillas, and a family recipe for their huevos rancheros sauce, as well as hand-whipped Cajun fried chicken and waffles.
Owner Mike Kemsley said the pandemic cleared DTE Energy’s upstairs offices, which helped the company start operations when it opened, but with the return of dine-in service, weekends are even busier than expected. On Saturdays there is a row in front of the door for seats which are allocated based on availability.
“I’m shocked at how many students are coming,” said Kemsley. The restaurant’s customers include Townies, University of Michigan employees familiar with their previous Detroit subway locations, and even student athletes. “We’re starting to become a target.”
When the office space on the upper floor, where almost 400 DTE employees were employed, was converted to completely secluded last year, the restaurant also offered execution and delivery and even took orders via the autonomous REV-1 delivery robot. Despite the return of the half capacity dine-in, these are still popular options, though the bright subway tiling, fully stocked bar, and custom lighting fixtures ensure the space is best appreciated in person.
Kemsley and three business partners opened their first Jagged Fork restaurant in Grosse Pointe Farms in 2015. Since then they have expanded to Rochester Hills, Lathrup Village, West Bloomfield and most recently to Ann Arbor, taking over the former Marnee Thai area in the corner of Main and William.
What makes the Ann Arbor location unique, Kemsley said, is the full liquor license that allows them to serve premium liquor as well as mixed brunch cocktails and even beer and wine.
Kemsley is hoping a local buyer will make the purchase and allow the restaurant to expand into an adjacent store, vacated by Teaspressa last September, and open a full bar with dinner two nights a week – something that he had always planned but paused during the pandemic.
Long-term plans include the opening of restaurants outside Michigan – Kemsley has both Florida coastlines in mind.
“We are young enough to be ambitious in anything,” he said.
About the fate of the building and the opening of a new skyscraper across the street, Kemsley is optimistic. He hopes that a developer he knows – but did not want to name – will buy the former DTE offices and retail space on the ground floor and become the new landlord for Jagged Fork.
“I hope we get a local buyer who loves and enjoys the city,” he said. “We’ll be here a long time.”
Jagged Fork, 414 S. Main St., is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers can order online at www.thejaggedfork.com.
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