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click to enlarge LEE DEVITO

  • Lee DeVito

Owned by Ali Saad and founded by his father, Bob Saad, Starters Bar & Grille launched its first location in a restaurant desert on Detroit’s west side in 1977, turning a closed-down bar into a neighborhood staple.

They expanded to a location at Dearborn’s Fairlane Mall in 2006, but that location closed this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ali Saad told the Free Press that closing the Dearborn location was painful for his father, but that a new Southfield location has given him an optimistic new outlook.

“So for me to be able to say to him, ‘We might be losing one, but look at this masterpiece I put together for us,’ now he’s full of energy again. Another beautifully built restaurant is rejuvenating, like a shot of adrenaline, it gets you going all over again. So opening a place after closing another place, it makes you feel a little better.”

The Southfield spot opened earlier this month.

The Saad family said they deeply empathize with their fellow restaurateurs who have struggled amid the pandemic. They say their restaurants have always done a solid carryout business, which is still thriving amid the pandemic.

The Southfield location had been discussed within the organization for a number of years because so many of their customers are from the first ring suburb. The 5,200 square-foot location will ultimately be able to sit up to 200 guests.

For now, the restaurant has seen a steady flow of pickup orders and delivery orders courtesy of third-party delivery service apps.

The new Starters Bar & Grille is now open at 25242 Evergreen Rd., Southfield; 248-281-4538.

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