Guns + Butter is a pop-up restaurant and dining experience with an edge, it’s name is derived from the economic theory. Craig Lieckfelt is the man behind the what some might call a ‘Foodie dream.’  All last month, Guns + Butter offered a prix fixe meal that harmonized fresh and local ingredients; everything including the paper the menu is printed on [courtesy of Ponyride neighbor Stukenborg Press] is sourced within 100 miles of Detroit! PLAYGROUND DETROIT had the pleasure of enjoying an evening of good food and company with Guns + Butter.

Who is the artist that did the almost hidden entryway? 

Matt Hutton aka Mr. Thirtyone  is a local Detroit artist that did the graffiti. The artwork is totally fitting and so many people really enjoyed it; it gave the space a interesting conversation point.

Why did you locate Guns + Butter in Ponyride?

I found the space at Ponyride when my friend Joseph from Roast brought me by one day, and it seemed like a perfect fit.  The space worked out really well and we were so happy to share the building with so many other inspiring tenants.

Why did you start a pop-up dining experience? 

I started Guns + Butter in September of 2012. The Pop Up dining experience is something that offers a raw “one of one” type of setting, feeling, and interaction between patrons and myself. It’s different from a normal restaurant because of its temporary status and ability to be nomadic going from venue to venue. It means a great deal to me; opening a restaurant has been a life goal since I started cooking professionally at the age of 15. It has allowed me to achieve this goal and also learn a lot more about the diner and aspects of dining that they find more enjoyable than others.

What were you doing before Guns + Butter?

I was born in Detroit and grew up in Clinton Township, MI,  where I cooked in the Metro Detroit area.  I moved to NYC when I was 19 to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY. Upon graduation I did a year long apprenticeship program. In NYC, I worked at Gotham Bar and Grill, and most notably at Jean Georges at the Trump International. We worked under tree Michelin star standards and won best restaurant in the nation by the James Beard Foundation. After my tenure there I got into the world of food styling where I worked freelance for magazines like Bon Appetit and Food and Wine. This was incredible cause it allowed me to travel and interact with many different types of people from many different cultures and attitudes towards food and dining in general.

Explain the importance of the seating arrangement and why the kitchen is left completely open for viewing?

The interaction between guests and kitchen is super fun; it offers an insight of how the “theater” of a kitchen really works. Communal seating encourages the small dining group to interact which is also a great part of the experience for the diner.

What is your favorite part of the process or evening?

My favorite part was undeniably the people! The people of Detroit are the best, hands down! The people of this city is what fueled me to come back home and is motivation pushing me to do bigger and better things!

What is your favorite dish from the menu?

My favorite dish on the menu was the “eggs + bacon.” [See below] Redefining a classic in a way that makes it better than the original is the goal behind the creative process and with that particular dish I feel like we succeeded. I wanted to make the egg yolk crispy and the bacon smooth.

"Eggs & Bacon"

What’s your favorite food to prepare or recipe?

My favorite food to cook and prepare would be shellfish of any kind, I like the broth that can result from using the bodies the best, it has a such a delicate one of a kind flavor that really can’t be compared to anything else.

What’s next for Guns + Butter?

Next for Guns + Butter is the Orion Music + More festival. Then we are off the London to assist Jehangir Mehta with the “Taste of London” then who knows… lots of opportunites, but I can guarantee that we will operate out of Detroit for majority of the next year and be in a permanent spot in Detroit a year from now.