I remember hearing years ago from people that I respected, that restaurants don’t survive in Grosse Pointe, because everyone belongs to clubs. I know that is not really true, but it was a belief that was bandied about, and to be truthful, there was not an abundance of restaurants back in the day, especially compared to eruption of eateries that are now there, and by there I refer to the cluster of communities that all have Grosse Pointe as part of their name. Grosse Pointe Park was the community that was adjacent to Detroit and there was for years a popular place that defied the rules for some time and it was Sparky Herberts. It felt like a bar, but it was a restaurant. It was also one of the first restaurants that I remember that was also a sidewalk café.
It was a place that you could go for a sandwich, a burger, Chateaubriand for two, and also a rack of lamb. The menu was rather eclectic as you could get oysters, shrimp, potato skins and cheese plates. There was fresh fish of the day, steaks, veal, and chicken and assorted pasta diners. You could also get deli sandwiches. They also had one of the best Key Lime pies around, and it was probably the most ordered dessert on the menu. It was very casual for a community that was considered very proper and staid at the time and I think it appealed to the younger people who did not feel comfortable in their parent’s clubs (at least that is how I viewed it and I could be wrong). It was just a fun place to go to.
You could have a cocktail or a beer and yes they did have a wine list. I think that they had wines like Chablis, Liebfraumilch, Burgundy, Rose and Lambrusco. They also had a blackboard that had wine specials that could be easily erased, once the inventory was finished. I remember having a bottle of Beaujolais there, way back before Beaujolais Nouveau created a special stampede that was all its own. Beaujolais is a huge wine producing area and it is where the Gamay varietal is famous, and you can find some Pinot Noir and the local version of it Pinot Liebault. Beaujolais also has some very famous villages that have serious fans, but the bottle I am talking about was just a basic version and I ordered it, because I did not want to have one of the house wines. I always felt that the food there was much better than the wine that was offered. Sparky Herberts had about a twenty year run, and it is now another restaurant, but it is still a good memory.