Brick Street of Grand Blanc is not just a restaurant – it is a place where families, friends, co-workers and people from all over gather together to celebrate life and special occasions. My City Magazine readers agree, as they voted Brick Street into the top spot for “Best Outdoor Patio” in the My City Magazine City’s Choice Awards. Driving by the restaurant on Grand Blanc Road, bright, colorful umbrellas can be seen on the large front patio which is surrounded by a black, wrought iron fence. Patrons are laughing and chatting, while enjoying a refreshing beverage and some good food, listening to lively music or live entertainment. Inside, there is seating for 400 guests with a friendly pub area, dining rooms and private dining areas.
At his sprawling eatery, Owner Michael Jablonski, a longtime local restaurateur, offers two patios, one in the back that seats about 80 people and is used for small gatherings such as graduation parties, open houses, wine tastings, family get-togethers, showers and corporate events. The front patio seats up to 200 guests and is a great place to have a drink after a hard day’s work or to just sit and people-watch. “You almost forget where you are,” says the owner. The Brick Street Patio is also used for charitable events such as Hurley Medical Center’s Pink Palooza, which will be held this year on August 11.
Of course, any great place for a celebration serves great food! Some of the tasty entrées include: melt-in-your-mouth filet mignon, Bangkok chicken skillet (boneless, stir-fried chicken with oriental vegetables, fried rice and a chili glaze), glazed salmon (lightly seasoned and broiled, served with jasmine rice and fresh vegetables) and seafood-stuffed flounder (fillets stuffed with a scallop and shrimp mixture and broiled in a lemon dill butter sauce). “We’re a scratch kitchen,” says Jablonski. “All of our dishes are made with the freshest ingredients.”
“We’re a scratch kitchen and all our dishes are made with the freshest ingredients.”
During summer months, Brick Street’s mouth-watering barbecued ribs are a customer favorite. “We stand behind our ribs,” says Executive Chef, Joseph Doll of the sweet, sticky ribs that are fall-off-the-bone tender. Also popular on a hot day are the refreshing Thai lettuce wraps – cumin chicken strips, carrots, bean sprouts, curry noodles and sesame pickled cucumbers served with bib lettuce leaves for wrapping and three delicious sauces: red chili soy, orange ginger and jalapeño. Chef Doll works with two other chefs, 15 full-time and 30 part-time staff to provide Brick Street patrons with the ultimate dining experience.
There is something on the menu for everyone at Brick Street, Jablonski says. For more casual dining, you will find a variety of Black Angus char-grilled burgers, and sandwiches like the BLT Club wrap, BBQ polish sausage and Greek chicken pita, to name a few. On the dessert menu you will find Key Lime pie from Mike’s Pies in Florida. “Our Pecan Balls are also delicious!” he exclaims.
Brick Street has become known as “the place” to celebrate special occasions. On one particular July day, the restaurant was hosting a small wedding ceremony, a child’s birthday party, a baby shower and a bereavement dinner – all at the same time! Jablonski told his staff that they were experiencing the Circle of Life – the beginning, the ending, and everything in between. Jablonski’s longtime Event Coordinator, Judith Bertram, works hard to make all of the events special. “I have the best staff,” he adds. “We have a great team.”
A Flint native, Jablonski has many years of experience in the restaurant and entertainment industries. His grandfather, Albert, Uncles Ernie and George, and his father, Raymond, owned a series of bakeries. “I grew up in the bakery business,” he recalls. He remembers being a kid and dunking fresh-baked donuts into huge vats of glaze, then dipping them in vats of nuts. His father owned King Richard’s restaurant in Mt. Morris, which Jablonski describes as an old “Happy Days” drive-in. He worked for his father for many years, but decided he wanted to go his own way. “I was a piano player while I was going to law school,” he remembers. He played the piano bar at the Country Squire restaurant and began working with Flint restaurateur Doug Bosley. Jablonski designed and developed a popular Flint nightclub, Celebrations, where people danced the night away for many years, which he later sold. Other successful restaurant ventures Jablonski was involved in include J.T. Thornberries with his father and his brother Curtis, and R.C. Cooper’s/Brentwood Banquet Center. “I couldn’t have done this without my true business partner – my wife, Jackie,” he says. “She has supported all of my endeavors throughout the years.”
In 2000, Jablonski purchased Brick Street (formerly Stone Hearth) from one of his clients, John Klobucar, owner of Big John’s Steak & Onion. “John told me I should buy the restaurant because I was the only one who could make it work,” he says. “And that is exactly what I did.” Jablonski re-named the restaurant after doing some research and discovering that the most successful restaurants all around the world were located on brick streets or in brick buildings.
Now, there truly is something for everyone at Brick Street. Along with casual and upscale dining options, the Sunday Brunch is very popular, which features a Bloody Mary & Mimosa Bar, where customers concoct their own beverages. The full-service bar offers some high-end bourbon and scotch. There are also wine-tasting events, a piano bar and live entertainment both indoors and outside on the patio.
“I’ve been blessed,” says Jablonski. “We constantly push the envelope at Brick Street, and I strive to make memorable experiences for our guests. I’m happy for this opportunity to thank all the people who have supported my businesses over the years.”
Photography by Eric Dutro