Curt Catallo recreated the well-worn and well-loved mechanics shop that was built in 1919 into a brush-steel restaurant that serves reimagined home cooking.In 2010, the oil and grease were wiped up and the jacks and drill bits were put away as the oldest operating garage east of the Mississippi, Vinsetta Garage, shut its doors after 91 years of service.
Turning an Auto Garage into a restaurant without erasing the original character is not easy. In order for the place to be clean enough to serve food and pass inspections, many would encourage you to strip out all the old quirks, paint it white and start over. The owners of the Vinsetta Garage restaurant cared too much about the patina of the old place to do that.
There was one thing they knew for certain: they could not wipe out Vinsetta’s character and charm or take the cheesy, gimmicky route in their re-do. They also wanted didn’t want to disappoint the hard core automobile buffs, racers and historians behind the garage.
There is no mistaking that Vinsetta was (is) a vintage garage, but with updates: automobile and racing memorabilia, old repair receipts as wallpaper, bathroom floors laid with pennies, glass from the old skylights made into clouds that hang over the pizza oven, on the walls of a private dining room and on the restroom doors, kitchen staff wear mechanics shirts.
If you’re a car guy living in or visiting the Detroit area, the Vinsetta Garage is a can’t-miss destination. They pay extra special attention to the classic American comfort food they dish up like coal-fired pies, burgers, and pasta with extra special attention. The idea is to serve food that the mechanics would have enjoyed after a shift at the garage.Those hungry mechanics knew good food, so don’t be the fool who passes on the most popular dishes, their mouth-watering burgers, the famous mac & cheese or a coal-fired pizza.