Thursday, April 17, 2008

Stone Mad just opened Monday

The Cleveland Free Times :: Dining :: Dining Lead :: Detroit Nosh City -- Midday yesterday I was passing through the Detroit-Shoreway area with our friend Rudy, and we stopped by Stone Mad, which has been open for business since this past Monday, 11-4 for lunch and 11-2:30 AM for drinks. It's an awesome place. Talking to Paul, the bartender, we found that they had just wrapped up a 3-year rehab; the attention to detail is incredible. The one thing I admired especially was the roof, done with those recycled rubber-tire slate look-alikes. The application of the shingle material to the ridge vent is the best I've seen, and the handling of the air intake in the soffit is very well done, too. But then, too, there are the cobblestones in the yard, the stone benches and tables on the patio, the outdoor fireplace, the paneling inside, the tilework on the floors and the walls throughout, the handpainted ceiling in the dining area, and the list goes on. There was a certain reverence shown for the building, for the craftsman's materials, for the old neighborhood itself, and the overall effect is extremely refreshing. It gives you hope for the future of older structures in a city bent on replacing the old with the new and conferring tax credits to the destructive, the wasteful, and the foolish. Here's a snippet from the Freetimes a year ago:

Around the corner, "Irish Pete" Leneghan is putting the finishing touches on what close friends are calling his "legacy bar." Stone Mad is a two-and-a-half-year labor of love that often found Leneghan, owner of Tremont's Treehouse bar, on his hands and knees laying acres of gorgeous stone pavers. Inside, skilled craftsmen have constructed two magnificent barrooms, one featuring black walnut, the other floor-to-ceiling oak. A dining room in the rear will serve upscale pub fare.

To encourage conversation, Stone Mad will have no televisions or jukebox, but it will have a sprawling stone patio with water and fire features. An intricate tile mosaic of Leneghan's ancestral town, Ballycroy in County Mayo, brightens up the pub's lower level.

Meanwhile, back here in Brooklyn Centre, as a counterpoint to the good things going on with Pete Leneghan, the board of Art House has passed its third year of stone-walling the neighborhood on the restoration of Wirth House at 3119 Denison. I hear that they have rejected and dismissed, quite recently and arbitrarily, the councilman's offer of help in the restoration of the property and want to proceed with the irresponsible demolition of an historic structure, overriding the objections of the neighbors who gave them the money to be in the restoration business in the first place.

To the best of my knowledge, none of the board members come from the neighborhood, and they have refused for three years to let the neighbors inspect the Wirth House itself. I happen to be one of the "interested parties" of the section 106 historic-property review process, and I can attest to the fact that we have not been allowed to see if the property is as bad as they make it out to be, nor will they stabilize the property so that it's not further wasted. This board seems to think it can't live up to their original compact with the neighborhood, and they also refuse to give back the property or the money we fronted them for it.

Please revisit Craig Bobby's "Where Art Lives...and History Dies" takeoff on the yellow Art House motto to see the building I'm talking about. This inexperienced board is the last tired remnant of the tattered, spotty, sad legacy of former councilwoman Merle Gordon. Merle, I understand, just finished another short job stint, this one at the Cleveland Clinic. Her style no longer plays well (never did, come to think of it), nor does that of this Art House board, and financial power plays using other peoples' government and nonprofit money need to get the closer scrutiny they deserve. We can't afford to let them use our money against us any longer, and to continue to steal our productive time now, as well. I think we need to revisit looking at the books and questioning their stewardship. Things just haven't worked out as advertised originally, and there ought to be some adjustments made for that, before this costs us all still more.


  1. It's finally open? Cool! It has been drama-building watching it progress...the weather is so wonderful, I may have to try it out this week. Thanks for the tip, Tim!

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  3. Went there this weekend and it was fantastic. Get there soon.

  4. Stone Mad is Stone Bad

    If you want to drive to an area that is out of the way to drink high priced drinks and eat overpriced average food, Stone Mad is your place. Not to mention how rude the management is to customers. A tall man with a Mario Brother's mustache runs the place and is about as rude an individual as they could have found. My advice is save your gas and money go someplace that appreciates serving customers.

  5. Heck, we like it. The coffee was good, the whiskey was good. We took our East Side friends there one Saturday after dinner. The food looked fine. We go to the Detroit Shorway area a lot anyway for Gypsy Beans and the Parkview. That other place at West 58th looks promising, too.

    Price is relative; we thought we got value for our money. We got great service; we know the Leneghan brothers a bit and also the people who helped them renovate the place.

    Maybe you were there on a bad night. Maybe you had an attitude when you were at Leneghan's like you did when you showed up here on my blog. Maybe you get what you give.

  6. Pete & Eileen, congradulations! You are two of the finest people that I had the pleasure of meeting! Pete, I miss your crazy laugh and your awesome personality! Heck I miss you both and I can only hope that one day I get back there to see you guys, thanks for everything. Hey Pete I am so happy for you, your dream is now reality and its a fine place. LOL just don't forget me who had the idea for the rest of the planters and the round table... Everything about Stone Mad is awesome! I wish you both all the luck & happiness. Be safe and Be Mad.
    Your friend from Buffalo, NY

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