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Checker Bar's new popup venue is a tasty win for us all

Kat Rembacki

Kat Rembacki

Storyteller at Core Detroit
Dance party crasher; wordsmith; downtowner;Disney geek; whipped cream junkie; die-hard Tigers fan. Join me on on my epic quest for the perfect turkey reuben.
Kat Rembacki

There is a new popup in town. Not just one popup or a series, but an entire popup venue.

David Gregory and Timothy Tharp of Grand Trunk Pub purchased Checker Bar last summer, which had previously been owned by the same family since 1955. They’ve recently converted the second floor dining room into a dedicated popup venue – called POP – with a different popup every single week, hosted on Thursdays.

POP is managed by Steve Reaume, also of Grand Trunk. His NOODL concept (four pastas, four sauces) was the first to host dinner in the new popup venue.

This Thursday, POP is hosting Nap Boule: a Haitian concept with menu prepared by Christian Noel. We hope this will make regular appearances at POP, it sounds really tasty. Dinner is stacked with authentic Caribbean favorites like cod fish patties wrapped in a flaky puff pastry, and jerk veggies served with grits and topped with a tomato & avocado salad.

There’s also a fried snapper with grits and a Haitian squash soup made with carrots, celery, potato, peppers, beef and – of course – squash. Dinner starts at 7 p.m and all the dishes are available a la carte. DJ M.A.E.1st will provide the tunes.

It’s not all up-and-coming cooks, though POP seems to welcome experimenting with new concepts. Well-established restaurants are getting in on the action, too. On Jan. 29 they’re hosting the best pizza party ever with pies from Supino’s, accompanied by an art installation by Free Productions and live music by Mare Costello.

Stop by POP’s Facebook page to stay current on their weekly popup schedule.

If you haven’t been to Checker Bar itself (we’re talking about the first floor now, the main bar), it’s worth checking out. The ‘70s style wood paneling is still there, and you’ll still find checkerboard tabletops. Two noticeable differences are the very respectable beer selection, and a kickass Spirit of Detroit mural by local artist Kobe Solomon.

Even the main bar has been hosting some popup events of its own, like a Flash Brewing happy hour and an evening of retro arcade games with Offworld Arcade.

And the famous Checker burger? It’s better than ever.

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