Mount ClemensJuly 5, 2012
New restaurant caters to Michigan
By Julie Snyder
C & G Staff Writer
MOUNT CLEMENS — It’s a fitting name for a Michigan-based restaurant that uses mostly Michigan-grown and Michigan-made products in its recipes.
The Mitt, which opened in Mount Clemens almost a month ago, is owned and operated by Harrison Township resident Ken Leonard.
Leonard said everything from the pierogis to the Mitt Kicker, a pizza with hot sopressata (salami), spicy pepperoni, red pepper, onion and Hungarian wax peppers, is made with Michigan ingredients.
“It’s what we’re all about,” said Leonard. “Ninety-five percent of our menu — of course the seasons pose changes to that — are right under our feet right here in Michigan.”
The Mitt, which has a seating capacity of 292 people, is located at 143 North Main Street, at Welts Street.
It is Leonard’s first restaurant venture after years of working in the restaurant management profession.
Born in Detroit and raised and schooled in northern Michigan, Leonard, 44, lived for 10 years in California with his wife, Tracy.
“I had an epiphany,” he said. “I moved to California when things were really tough here, then got married. We had our first child, and decided we really wanted to come home and raise our child in Michigan.”
They settled in Harrison Township, and when the opportunity to take up ownership of the former Full Kilt Celtic Pub building became available, Leonard jumped at it.
The Mitt’s menu has a wide-variety of ethnic entrees, including Polish, German and Greek fare, and some more unique dishes like the duck in orange soy glaze. “A lot of people have wet their feet with it here,” he said proudly.
Leonard is also proud of his chicken pot pie made with phyllo dough and his signature pasties, which are meat pies common in the upper parts of the state. Leonard makes his with rutabagas. “Miners in the Upper Peninsula used to eat them. They’re like got pockets, little pies, with meat inside.
“We serve all Michigan comfort food here,” he said.
And that comfort food is served at lunch and dinner seven days a week.
St. Clair Shores resident Mark Smith enjoyed a recent Thursday night meal at The Mitt with his family.
He said the pizza is one dish every pizza connoisseur should try.
“It has a nice spice to it,” Smith said. “It’s different.”
The Mitt, which just weeks ago received its liquor license, also has a full bar that sits 25 and has on tap 12 different Michigan-brewed beers with more planned in the coming months. Leonard said Michigan-made brands comprise half of their wine list.
For Michigan history buffs, every booth in the dining area has a different plaque that gives an interesting piece of the state’s past. And the art bedecking the entire restaurant, including the massive 62-foot photo mural of the Mackinac Bridge, is either of a Michigan scene or created by a Michigan artist.
Leonard said The Mitt is not just filling a once-vacant building in downtown Mount Clemens, it’s filling in a gap in central Macomb County.
“We have found, as residents, there wasn’t a place to go to or have a meal or a glass of wine that didn’t roll up its carpet at 9 p.m.,” he said. “We’ll have a late-night menu, and we’ll keep the kitchen open late.”
Leonard is proud of that, too.
“Michigan is something to be proud of,” he said. “We have a deep sense of pride here. We’re from Michigan, and we’re for Michigan.”
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