While I was visiting Detroit over the Holidays I spent New Years Day having brunch at the Vinsetta Garage. The Woodward Avenue service station opened in 1919 but has been shuttered for a few years. When I’d heard that it had been sold as restaurant space I was afraid that we’d lose another gearhead landmark to contemporary redevelopment.
Thankfully the co-owners kept more than just the name when the Vinetta Garage re-opened as a restaurant last summer. The interior looks largely untouched. Vintage automotive signage looks right at home next to old Strohs and Schlitz signs near the bar. If I were still living in Detroit, I would absolutely be a regular. As you might expect, the menu is peppered with motoring references of one sort or another—mostly Detroit muscle and hot rods.
This item on the menu, though, stood out as one of only a few GP racing mentions. The cocktail offerings list The Jimmy Clark: Gin, lemon juice, egg white, and sugar with soda. It got me wondering. I can certainly imagine naming a cocktail or two after James Hunt… Maybe Graham Hill… Maybe Ascari… But Jim Clark?
Today, Jimmy is remembered as such a serious—even wholesome—character that it almost seems sacrilege to name a cocktail after him. Maybe the years since his death have made his memory rose-colored and I have it all wrong. Do you think he would have been knocking his signature cocktail back on an evening at the Steering Wheel Club?
More photos from the Vinsetta at the Detroit Free Press.