Main Street Mainstays – Two Must-Try Clarkston Restaurants
There are two restaurants that immediately come to mind when people think about dining in Clarkston, MI. They are both owned by the same couple, and that couple also owns a few other landmark shops we’ve all heard about. Vinsetta Garage. Fenton Fire Hall. Union General. For the residents of the Springrove community near Clarkston, we have the great fortune of being able to call the Union Woodshop and Clarkston Union our own. The food is amazing and the setting for both places is low key and has a home-like feel. It just feels good to be there.
A short history lesson about the Clarkston Union and Union Woodshop
How is it possible that two of the best restaurants in metro Detroit could be located in such a small town so far from the center of the city? The answer is surprisingly simple – Union Joints owners Curt Catallo and Ann Stevenson are passionate about re-inventing and re-purposing old buildings to create something unexpected. They duo wanted to create restaurants that brought out nostalgic feelings associated with the kind of “Main Street back in the day when parking lots had horse posts in them,” and the main avenue in Clarkston was perfect to start that venture.
Housed in an 1840’s church on Main Street, the Clarkston Union came to be a restaurant out of sheer luck and ingenuity. Owner Curt Catallo’s parents bought the old Methodist church because they didn’t want to see it fall into disrepair, but they didn’t actually know what they wanted to do with it. With the help of wife Ann Stevenson, Catallo decided to dive right into the restaurant business and turn the church into the best place to go for macaroni and cheese. Years later, with the success of the Clarkston Union still going strong, the couple opened another restaurant – the Union Woodshop.
Located mere steps away from the Union Joints’ flagship restaurant, the Union Woodshop promises to deliver “big-time small town bbq” to the community. And they do. Named Restaurant of the Year by the Detroit Free Press in 2011, the Woodshop provides the right mix of delicious, messy food with the kind of atmosphere that makes people want to stick around. This place isn’t stuffy or pretentious, it’s inviting and relaxed – which is exactly the vibe Catallo and Stevenson were going for.
The Union Woodshop and Clarkston Union are two throwback restaurants that make you think about what main street restaurants back in the day would be like. They are also located right in the backyard of the Springrove community, so if you are looking for the perfect date night spot or just want a fun night out with great food, these two restaurants will not disappoint.