Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Great Lakes >
Jun 29, 2012 11:14 AM

'Que Alert. Detroit, eastside.

Consider this a PSA...

Two partners have opened a small dine in, or take out barbeque joint on Greater Mack in St Clair Shores. Ribs, Brisket, Smoked Turkey, Sausage, Pulled Pork, Salmon, they smoke it all.

My family and I have had four different meals there, including the Sampler, and I honestly believe they'll catch Lazybones in customer satisfaction very soon. The meal they call The Detroit Burnt Ends is my favorite so far, and delivers terrific taste. Nice NC-Inspired cole slaw with a solid vinegar base, Greens are fresh, and earthy. Corn bread is moist, redskin potato salad has the creamy goodness of homemade.

Seating for about 20, yet I would highly recommend dine in because our one experience with take out
didn't travel well.

No alcohol served, but they're experimenting with byo.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is an awesome lead. Will check out next week. Burnt ends, byo, cornbread, NC slaw, fresh greens. Heck yeah! What next.....the food also is free?

    1. We had Little Z's two weeks ago, before the official grand opening, and it left a little to be desired. The sides were very bland and the meat was fatty. They offer a wide variety of sauces, we tried all of them and were not impressed. The hog fries were a bad imitation of Lazybones's pig fries.
      I would suggest making the drive to Lazybones or Bad Brad's.

      1 Reply
      1. re: impoore

        Don't you think a "one and done" on a store staging a soft opening is a bit harsh?

      2. This is pretty close, so I'll have to give it a try. I'm always on the lookout for good BBQ. I'm not sure why Lazybones is still getting so much love, though -- their quality slipped a while ago and while I've tried it recently, I don't think it's back to the top or even close.

        Just had Q from the new Bad Brad's, and was very impressed. Only thing that I didn't like was the wait (which I expected since it was new) and the uncomfortable tables with the sharp metal edges. Will definitely go back there, and may try carry-out to skip the wait. I also need to try the pizzas -- they looked great.

        1. I'm always looking for good BBQ. Its a bit far from my place but I may have to give em a look. I love burn ends.

          1. LOVED it !!!! Thank you so much for the lead.

            Picking up on little cues, I’m sensing that these entrepreneurs aren’t pit masters with a bunch of circuits under their belts. Regardless, I wouldn’t have rather been anywhere else in SE Mich for dinner today. Consider that for a moment....

            The burnt ends were wonderful. Sure, the majority of their smoke may have come from the finish over the flames rather than from the pit, but the level was just right. The tender, succulent brisket pieces (burnt ends) were perfectly trimmed and had a nice amount of intramuscular fat. If these are this good every time, then I just can’t imagine anyone not digging them. I tried no other meats during this visit, and I may never do so, as I won’t be able to often get back, and I would anticipate jonesing for the burnt ends by the time of each return.

            $9.95 for a combo dinner of this meat including two sides and cornbread---hard to beat!! Too, tipping requirements are modest because ordering is at the counter and the tables are self-bussing. BYOB would make the experience an even greater value.

            The chefs go for subtle fresh flavors with the sides…almost healthy even. Many barbecue places try to hit you over the head with caramelized sugar, cheap bacon, cheap vinegar, and garlic and chili powders…in EVERY side dish! At Little Z’s* one can actually taste the substrate. The collard greens were the highlight. After eating the barely tender leaves, I literally drank the leftover pot liquor. Someone will like their mother’s greens much better, but there is no arguing that Little Z’s greens would be respectable even at a dinner price point more than 50% higher. *Not sure where the name Little Z’s comes from, but I don’t find it particularly catchy.

            The coleslaw and beans were very understated (like that or not). Free of crap. These two items won’t excite everybody, but I will SURELY again order them. As a homey touch, Little Z’s concocts their own vinaigrette for the cabbage. They also use two different bean types. Good stuff.

            I’ve never met a potato salad I didn’t like. The Little Z’s version is a little off beat, though. It is not made from a food service mix (hurray). But, the fresh ingredients include turmeric or curry or something…okay maybe yellow mustard, but that’s not what I sensed. Others may not love it, but I had no complaints, perhaps given that I’m easy to please in this category.

            The cornbread was decent. Could have been better, could have been worse. One thing for sure, it kicked a** all over that crappy tortilla that Bad Brad’s serves with its dinners (I found numerous things to like about Bad Brad's—especially the interior—but the food:price quotient didn’t have me excited enough to do a write up, even though I will return and even though they will be much more successful than Little Z’s or I ever will).

            Big win for the East Side. And in character, yes, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that the West Asia girl working the counter is a very charismatic feature.

            3 Replies
            1. re: VTB

              Thanks for the write up, Tom. Your experience is pretty much our take on the menu.

     of the partners is Little Z: Steve Zaremba.

              1. re: VTB

                tried z's for lunch today. 12:15pm and not a person in the place. had the detroit burnt ends dinner (two sides + cornbread) for $9.95.

                the burnt ends were good. the ends were tender but a few pieces were more fatty than meaty and i struggled to find the smoke. they were more like a steak with a good char right off the grill. decent, but i like lockhart's burnt ends better.

                sauces: hot and sweet were good. cherry/apple was ok. the asian sauce was not good. no mustard or vinegar based sauces.

                collard greens totally kicked ass. served in a big coffee cup, very tender and studded with small chunks of pork. needed a little salt. loved them.

                slaw: heaping plastic cup of vinegar based slaw. subtlle and got better the further i got. also needed a bit of salt and pepper.

                cornbread: muffin sized serving and savory, not sweet. i am not a huge cornbread fan, but ate every piece because it was a perfect vehicle to soak up all of the greens pot liquor.

                the guy at the counter was very friendly.

                i ate in the place (tables that accommodate 20 plus five stools at a counter. not one person came in during the lunch hour.

                overall, it was good. i would go back in the area, but i would not make a trip across town for it.

                1. re: VTB

                  Thanks, Tom..always enjoy your really well-written reviews. You're mainstay here. We rarely get over to SCS but it's nice to know it's there.