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click to enlarge Chef Maxcel Hardy. - COURTESY PHOTO

  • Courtesy photo
  • Chef Maxcel Hardy.

Detroit native chef Max Hardy bought an old pizza spot on Seven Mile Road and Riopelle Street in March right before the coronavirus pandemic.

He had the intention of opening his new casual pizza shop in May, but COVID delayed those plans by more than six months.

This week, Hardy has opened the first Jed’s Detroit franchise. He has plans to open multiple more Detroit locations of the Ohio-based pizza and wing franchise.

Hardy says he was inspired by his own experiences growing up in the city. “One or two days of the week I had pizza or wings growing up,” Hardy told The Detroit Free Press. “I kinda just went off what I knew as a child and how families in urban areas operate. Friday night is pizza night.”

Hardy has previously owned River Bistro on Grand River. The Jamaican-themed restaurant was successful in its early days, however, the restaurant ultimately closed in part due to construction on Grand River which hobbled walk-in business.

Coop Caribbean Chicken is still open inside the Detroit Shipping Company food hall, which recently erected a tent outside to accommodate diners during the state-mandated pause on indoor dining.

Jed’s is known for their unique specialty menu items. Their signature, Fireballs, are chicken tenders topped with tasty toppings. The Southern-style features gravy, cheese, and greens. Jed’s Detroit will feature all fresh ingredients.

Hardy told The Free Press that this new restaurant concept allows him to get out of his own head, but retain his “chef-ness.”

In addition to launching his new casual restaurant, Hardy also launched a line of spices. Chef Max Signature Spices combines his culinary knowledge of spices with his desire to create a complete all-in-one blend of spices curated with the inspiring home chef in mind.

“I wanted to do it five years ago, but just trying to source all the varieties of flavors and spices was time-consuming, and I use several spices in one dish just to get the right flavor, and sometimes that can be frustrating. I am aware if I’m frustrated in the lack of spice blends as a professional, I know the novice to cooking should definitely feel the same.”

The signature line includes five collections of spice blends, African, Caribbean, Latin, Low-Country, and Essentials.

They are available on his website.

Hardy was named by the New York Times as one 16 Black chefs changing food in America.

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