Sunday, November 27, 2011

O'Tooles New Menu

Hello. Chef Jeff here.

I am very proud to announce my new position as Corporate Executive Chef for The New O'Tooles Bistro and Pub at Cass Lake in Waterford. Some of you may recall this location as the former home of the old Mitch's Restaurant of which I personally have many fond memories. Mitch’s was considered an area landmark and was always well run by my friends Tony Mitchell and his wife Joanne.
O’Tooles founder Keith Wadle purchased this property from the Grand Rapids based Schelde Restaurant Group which operated it first as the Freshwater Lodge and then as Cass Lake Roadhouse after purchasing it from the Mitchell Family. Mr. Wadle, his partner Michelle Patterson, and G.M. Robin Silveri all felt this location would best serve the community as a more family oriented restaurant. I was brought on board to help bring this to reality.
In taking on this new endeavor my primary focus is in transforming this Waterford location of O'Tooles from primarily a bar with food into a restaurant with a bar. Hence the new name, O'Tooles Bistro & Pub. The first order of business was in helping Chef de Cuisine Luis Antopia reorganize the current kitchen operation to maximize efficiency.  A few kitchen repairs came next, and after a couple months of kitchen overhaul, purveyor and product selections, re-training and menu development testing my new menu is finally here.
The new menu reflects a strong focus on purchasing products from local Michigan based sources and a distinct nod toward more healthful preparations. The influence of the Italian philosophy of fresh and simple flavors is of course evident. Due in no small part to my background in the diverse regional foods of Italy. 
The new menu features some rededicated O’Tooles favorites along with many new items and options. One important aspect of this new menu is a commitment toward Real Italian Pizza. To help achieve this Keith invested in some real cool but necessary pizza equipment and we brought in a master pizzaiolo, my brother Chef Michael Jepko, a legend among the pizza cognescenti. Mike came to us from his most recent gig at Tony Sacco’s Coal Fired Pizza in Novi where he was the opening kitchen manager. He has made pizza in just about every kind of oven imaginable from the dreaded conveyor belt and ceramic decks to coal-fired and authentic napoletana wood-burning brick ovens.

Other menu items which have already been very well received include the selection of vegetarian and vegan offerings, fresh house marinated oven roasted wings, hand patted fresh beef and turkey burgers, cool wraps and sandwiches at lunch, all new entrees and pastas at dinner with a great compliment of salads, soups and sides.
I have already recognized many old faces from other restaurants I have either owned or operated as a Chef and/or Manager. A few of which are:
  • Maria’s (Ristorante di Maria) on Walnut Lake Road by Inkster Rd. in West Bloomfield. Partner/Executive Chef/G.M. Early 80’s to about 1995.
  • La Luna Grancaffe, Birmingham. Partner/Executive Chef/G.M.
  • Stefano’s, Knoxville TN. Kitchen Manager
  • Villa Maria Ristorante, Maple & Haggerty, West Bloomfield. Conceptual Creator, Executive Chef/G.M.
  • Little Italy Ristorante, Northville. Founder/Executive Chef. 1988-2008
  • Pizzeria Biga, Southfield. Opening Operations Manager, Media, Marketing.
With a generous re-investment by owner Keith Wadle we have accomplished much in the past couple of months with more good things are on the horizon...
Check out The New O’Tooles Bistro & Pub, my team awaits!

-Jeffrey Jepko (Valente), Corporate Executive Chef
Home on the Range in O'Tooles Kitchen

Keith Wadle, Owner/Founder
Michelle Patterson, Managing Partner
Robin Silveri, General Manager
Luis Antopia, Chef de Cuisine
Michael Jepko, Pizzaiolo & Kitchen Operations

O'Tooles Bistro & Pub
Open for Lunch and Dinner Every Day

4000 Cass Elizabeth Road, Waterford MI. 48328

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