Jordan Sparrow can probably give any Fitbit user a run for their money with the number of steps he is taking every day.
You might find him at Sparrow Meat Market on the north wall of Kerrytown’s Market Building, behind the cash register opposite the Farmers Market, or in the building’s southwest corner, where he opened Sparrow Kitchen last month.
The previous tenant, Andrew Stovick, closed his Loomi street-food venture in December, leaving Sparrow with a nicely outfitted space. He has turned it into a diner that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as smoothies and ice cream.
Sparrow says he originally considered taking over Hollander’s first-floor location when the paper goods and printing store left Kerrytown in 2020 (Observer, March 2020).
Installing a restaurant kitchen proved too daunting, however, so he stuck with a tiny corner stand next to the Sparrow cash registers.
Then last fall, Sparrow was approached by Kerrytown owner Joe O’Neal after Stovick decided to vacate. He eagerly accepted the chance to expand to the much roomier location. “I just couldn’t say no,” Sparrow says.
As you might expect, Sparrow is drawing on his other businesses for ingredients such as ground beef, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Ice cream comes from Guernsey Farms in Northville.
“We just want to stick with classic American food,” he says. “Half the menu is things that people have been asking us for during the past few years.”
Sparrow’s goal is to keep prices affordable, since students from Community High are a core clientele, along with U-M students, the staff at nearby businesses, and townies. “My goal is that anybody can come in here with $5 and get something,” Sparrow says. “We don’t want to be exclusive only to people who can afford $20 for lunch.”
With inflation, though, that’s proved a challenge. “We originally set prices, and after the first week, I said, ‘we’re not making what we should be,’ ” he says. “We did have to bump things up a little.”
A three-ounce “smashburger” with caramelized onions, cheddar, pickles, and house sauce ended up at $6, but $2 more upgrades to a five-ounce deluxe version. The online menu at toasttab.com also includes a breakfast burrito—choice of bacon or black beans—at $10. Want to splurge? There’s a $15 duck grilled-cheese sandwich made with duck confit, Gruyère, pickled shallots, and blueberry chimichurri.
So far, Sparrow Kitchen is averaging about 200 customers per day, although some might be getting a milkshake or an order of fries rather than a sit-down meal. Online ordering is available for pickup and delivery.
Though Sparrow’s businesses now dominate the first floor, he says he has no ambitions to expand any further. That means Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea and Monahan’s Seafood can rest easy. “I think they’re getting sick of seeing our names by now,” he jokes.
Sparrow Kitchen, 407 N. Fifth Ave.(Kerrytown), (734) 369–6416. Mon.–Fri 8 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m.–6 p.m.; Sun. hours coming soon. bit.ly/sparrowkitchen