A visit to Eminem’s pasta restaurant, Mom’s Spaghetti

Mom's Spaghetti Pasta Seal Sign

Photo: Scott Legato (Getty Images)

Of course, there are better sources of restaurant inspiration than half-digested words, but to be fair to the whimsical new palate of Mom’s Spaghetti, Eminem recorded much less appetizing verses. Nineteen years have passed since Em gave up on “Lose Yourself,” which means the song is about a few years away from being part of the oldies radio firmament. Which makes me wonder: why open this food joint now?

Granted, I can’t get the idea that Eminem could have taken that line on performance anxiety and turned it into a restaurant at the time. Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, rose to fame in the astronomical field in 1999 by spitting out consciously vile and violent worms, delivered under the auspices of his alter ego Slim Shady. Even though he has become a respected artist in his seventies through his star turn in the film that spawned “Lose Yourself”, 8 milesEminem could still cause controversy as frequently as he flaunted his erect middle finger, which is a lot. The zeitgeist has since left Eminem, who now sits at nearly a quarter of a billion dollars at 49. What better way to diversify your portfolio than to open a themed restaurant?

Mom’s Spaghetti existed sporadically before moving to the southwest corner of Union Assembly, the new downtown Detroit business operated by Michigan restaurant group Union Joints. The company was started in 1995 in the nearby town of Clarkston, operating a restaurant in a shuttered 19th century Baptist church. Its main draw is macaroni and cheese, so the company is quite familiar with noodles. Union Joints helped Eminem and his manager, Paul Rosenberg, launch their pasta restaurant in 2017 with a pop-up to celebrate the arrival of the rapper’s album The comeback. The temporary spaghetti joint opened at The Shelter, a basement of St. Andrew’s Hall, a popular concert venue in the Bricktown neighborhood of Detroit. Eminem performed there as he progressed through the city’s hip-hop scene in the 1990s and all of the freestyle battles of 8 miles were filmed on a sound stage modeled on the underground location.

I tried to imagine the joy of those stans who were able to eat tubular noodles created as a tribute to the lyrics of the first rap song to win an Oscar in one of the plays where their hero not only honed his skills but provided the plan for the place in the center of the best 8 miles scenes. Did either of them have a perfect bite that made them feel like they were part of this weird feedback loop of Eminem’s story and creations, floating somewhere between the 8 miles set and Em preparing to rip up a mic contestant in the 1990s? I was never able to answer this question, as I ordered my mom’s spaghetti meal from a window with no elevator in an alley that reeked of sewage.

Odors aside, Permanent Mom’s Spaghetti has an urban twist. It’s on the ground floor of the new nine-story corporate headquarters of Little Caesars, the Michigan pizza chain that once employed Eminem and one of his best friends, Detroit’s hip-hop figurehead and founder of D12, Proof. The building’s shiny exterior maintains a healthy glow thanks to the building’s triangular windows – they are meant to resemble slices of pizza, a design concept that delayed building completion. (I’d like to step in with a tangent on the shape of the Detroit pizza, but I have to come back to the spewed pasta-inspired restaurant.) Concert halls sandwich the squat tower: Fillmore Detroit sits south across the street. from the Spaghetti pick-up window, and just north is the Fox Theater, which made an appearance in a dramatic 2011 Chrysler Ad featuring Eminem and the intro of “Lose Yourself”.

Memories of Eminem in "The teaser" at Maman Spaghetti

The “trailer” above Mom’s Spaghetti is like a mini Eminem museum.
Photo: Leor galil

Yes, Mom’s Spaghetti showcases Eminem’s white sensibility. You can buy a “sghetti sandwich,” which Eminem likened to a regional white-waste staple in a looping interview on his SiriusXM channel, Shade 45. Mom’s Spaghetti also has a retail store in a room perched in the sky. above the kitchen called “the trailer,” which also serves as a museum for Eminem: this is a great place to admire his Robin costume from the “Without Me” video and a rare copy of a record ” Just Don’t Give a Fuck “7” sold out squeezed in the shape of a middle finger that can be bought for several hundred dollars.

I’m not a stan, and I wasn’t going to damage my credit score for Eminem’s dead animals. But I did come over to Mom’s Spaghetti to get a better idea of ​​what it says about one of Detroit’s biggest contemporary cultural exports, and if that meant shelling out over $ 15 for a coffee cup and $ 11 for one. sghetti sandwich, so be it. Of course, that’s a lot to ask of a restaurant whose novelty begins and ends at its namesake, and I didn’t think much of Eminem when I got my bag of food. The spaghetti and vegan meatballs ($ 14) my girlfriend ordered overflowed her quart-sized container: we couldn’t close the lid so we had to rush to our car before the food does not cool down.

Vegan spaghetti and meatballs and the sghetti sandwich at Mom's Spaghetti

Mom’s Spaghetti’s vegan spaghetti and meatballs (left) and sghetti sandwich aren’t bad.
Photo: Leor galil

When we settled in to eat, I noticed that my reasonably portioned spaghetti sandwich had spilled some of its contents into its waxed paper bag. I did my best to capture the overflow with thoughtful bites that wouldn’t disrupt the structural integrity of the sandwich. lightly buttered toast, which also gave the sandwich a nice touch of flavor that its bland marinara otherwise lacked. A few bites of the family-sized vegan meatball meal confirmed the impression I had with my sandwich: Mom’s spaghetti isn’t bad, but it also didn’t bring me anything I couldn’t. not improve myself at a fraction of the cost.

It’s the kind of comfort food that provides comfort simply by existing, sold under the name of a superstar whose traveling childhood was colored by the kind of poverty that could make food unappealing. (Eminem wrote about his attempt to overcome the humiliation and potential embarrassment of being a beneficiary of his high school’s free lunch program in his 2008 autobiography, I am like this.) I could try to find a better representation of Eminem’s story in the limited Mom’s Spaghetti menu (it only offers three variations of a simple spaghetti, plus the sandwich) and its presentation. Are Oyster bucket take-out containers a reference to Stanley Hong’s Mannia Café, a Chinese restaurant with shutters who hosted a weekly hip-hop series that Eminem performed in the 1990s? Does Faygo’s absence from the menu have something to do with the fact that Eminem once had beef with some of Detroit’s biggest fans of pop society, the Insane Clown Posse? Does all of this matter?

If I wanted an authentic “Eminem dining experience” I could have stopped Gilbert’s lodge, a restaurant in St. Clair Shores where Em once turned burgers as a line cook. But I didn’t want that: I wanted to eat the manifestation of a meme from a lyric of a song that charmed me by a musician I never thought would seduce me. The taste was less important than the fact that it exists. At the end of the meal, I looked at my shirt and noticed it had a few red spots from mom’s spaghetti.