Monday, August 11, 2014

A decade of ‘comfortable cuisine’ at G. Subu’s Leather Bottle

Preparing tasty dishes from scratch that put a smile of the faces of his customers has long driven George Subu.

“I have a passion for the restaurant business,” Subu said. “I love it when customers tell me they really enjoyed a meal we made for them.”

Subu, working with this three sons, have produced many satisfying dishes and social gatherings for a decade at G. Subu’s Leather Bottle, a 7,800-square-foot restaurant with a banquet room located on Farmington Road, just south of Eight Mile Road. The Livonia restaurant is known for its fresh variety of lunch and dinner meals, headlined by its signature dish: Filet Mignon with Zip Sauce.

Working with his sons at The Leather Bottle is the latest entrepreneurial chapter for Subu, an immigrant from Eastern Europe who grew up working in his parents’ pizzerias and arcades.

Subu has been cooking meals since the 1970s when we worked at fine Dearborn establishments such as the Hyatt Regency, The Chambertin, and Dearborn Inn. He became partner and chef in 1981 when he began working at the Topper Restaurant in Dearborn.
In 1999, Subu and his oldest son, Johnny, came to Livonia and operated the former Sandtraps Restaurant on Five Mile Road (now known as One-Under). They were bought out in 2003, which left them looking for a new home.

“We wanted to stay in Livonia,” Johnny Subu said. “We knew a lot of people liked us at Sandtraps, and we felt they would follow us to a new place in Livonia.”

They found an opportunity when the Leather Bottle site, a restaurant originally built in 1979, became available for sale. George, and sons Johnny, Georgie, and Michael took over in May 2004, and rebranded the place: G. Subu’s Leather Bottle.

“This worked out for us because we were able to combine our known reputation for good food and service with the Leather Bottle, which has been known for years in Livonia,” Johnny Subu said.

The family’s philosophy has been to provide “comfortable cuisine,” which Johnny Subu describes as “upper-hand food with lower-hand pricing.” He added all meals are homemade and free of processed products.

“We always believed if we have good, quality food and service, they will come,” he said.
David Smith has been a loyal customer for 25 years. He started enjoying George Subu’s cooking at the Topper in Dearborn. The one-time Livonia resident now lives in Brighton, but he remains a regular at G. Subu’s Leather Bottle.

“It is the best food in town because it is of good quality – and it is noticeable,” Smith said. “The great people and the camaraderie here is a plus.”

To celebrate the restaurant’s 10-year anniversary, customers can enjoy a bottle of wine each Monday evening this summer for $10. The Subus will formally celebrate the anniversary with a special buffet and other goodies during a customer appreciation dinner on Monday, Aug. 18 from 5-8 p.m. For details, call the restaurant at 248.474.2420.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Western Wayne’s leaders, Sowerby highlight second Business Leadership Banquet

CONTACT:        Dan West, president, Livonia Chamber of Commerce, 734.427.2122
                                Marsha Bianconi, executive director, CWW, 734.953.8834

A unique gathering of chief-elected officials and business leaders from across 18 Western Wayne County communities will gather again this fall for an evening of networking and insights into the region.

The second annual Western Wayne Business Leadership Banquet – presented by Bank of America and the law firm of Fausone Bohn - will be held Thursday, Sept. 25, at the Ford Motor Company Conference and Event Center in Dearborn. The inaugural event last year drew good reviews from the 350 people who attended.

“This event not only provides valuable information, it is also serves as a catalyst for relationship building between business and political leaders,” said Tracey Schultz-Kobylarz, Redford Township’s supervisor and chair for the Conference of Western Wayne Board. “As a result of events like this, we are able to work together, blend geographical lines and put our best collective proposals forward for the betterment of the region.”

The Conference of Western Wayne, an advocacy organization serving the elected leaders of the region’s 18 cities and townships, is partnering with several local chambers of commerce to coordinate this program designed to build stronger municipal-business relationships in a region that represents 700,000 residents and more than 54 percent of Wayne County’s tax base.

The Banquet emcee will be Mary Kramer, the publisher of Crain’s Detroit Business, and the keynote speaker will be renowned local economist David Sowerby, portfolio manager for Loomis, Sayles and Company in Bloomfield Hills. Sowerby will speak about economic and business trends for Western Wayne County and metro Detroit.

“It is an example for regionalizing and showcasing our attributes, talents and efforts for the good of State, Western Wayne County, and of course the local communities we each serve,” Kobylarz added.

The program is scheduled to feature the appearance of chief-elected officials from the following municipalities: Cities of Belleville, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Garden City, Inkster, Livonia, Northville, Plymouth, Romulus, Wayne and Westland; Townships of Canton, Huron, Northville, Plymouth, Redford, Sumpter, and Van Buren.

“The business community enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many leaders and learn more about the region during our event last year,” said Dan West, president of Livonia Chamber of Commerce and a lead banquet planner. “This event had a successful first year thanks to the cooperation from our elected leaders, CWW staff, many generous companies, and fellow chamber professionals.”

To reserve your space at this prominent regional program, contact the Livonia, Westland, Plymouth or Dearborn chamber of commerce, or the Conference of Western Wayne office at 734.953.8834.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Creativity drives Clarenceville students for invention contest

Innovation was rewarded for a group of Clarenceville students as part of the second annual Kids Invention Contest.

From left, David Lawrence and Chuck Dardas from AlphaUSA,  Grandview Elementary School
second graders Mark Popkov and Katherine Kusisto, Clarenceville Middle School sixth graders
Evan Keoshian and Jacob Patterson, Bob Carris from the Livonia AM Rotary Club and
Dan West from the Livonia Chamber of Commerce.
Grandview Elementary School second graders Mark Popkov and Katherine Kusisto, and Clarenceville Middle School sixth graders Jacob Patterson and Evan Keoshian earned cash prizes in the contest.

The contest – designed to create a youthful interest in building things – was coordinated by AlphaUSA, Schoolcraft College Manufacturing Department, Livonia AM Rotary Club, and the Livonia Chamber of Commerce.  The coordinates assembled a team of judges to evaluate the creativity, practicality and presentation of the dozen students who were challenged to describe their invention in writings and drawings on two pieces of paper. The students were divided into the middle and elementary divisions.

In the elementary division, Popkov won first place for “Kids Tube,” a kid-friendly version of YouTube, and Kusisto earned second play for “Mixer Bixer 3,000,” a quick, food-making device. In the middle school division, Patterson won first place for “Emergency Alerter,” a device that provides color-coded lights in a home’s front window to alert first responders to the type of emergency inside. Keoshian earned second for “Mu-tooth” a unique, wireless earpiece to listen to music. Keoshian also was a contest winner in the inaugural contest last year.

“We feel this is a great way to install a passion among young people to build things,” said Chuck Dardas, AlphaUSA’s president and chief operating officer. “Our manufacturing industry needs these talented young people in the future.”

The winners were announced and invention contest participants were acknowledged during an assembly at Clarenceville High School on June 11. During the presentation, students were encouraged to consider building things as they look at potential careers.

“Among the greatest need for future jobs in southeast Michigan are creative, skilled workers for manufacturing, electronics, engineering, and informational technology,” said Chamber President Dan West. “This contest is a way to increase awareness of these future opportunities for the students and their parents.”

Monday, April 14, 2014

Legos, Cars, Prizes connect people to local business at May 8 Expo

(LIVONIA; April 14, 2014) — Several cars will be on display, youngsters can play with Legos, a media and political panel will offer insights on regional trends, and some 100 vendors promoting business and consumer goods and services will gather throughout Laurel Park Place Mall during the Livonia Business Expo on Thursday, May 8.

The 28th annual Livonia Chamber of Commerce event is presented by Bill Brown Ford, Madonna University, Farmers Insurance and AlphaUSA. It is the third year for the Expo at the Mall. The daylong celebration of the Livonia business community features a full schedule of helpful speakers, business displays, prize giveaways, and fun evening social event capped off by a silent auction.

“This is our biggest annual event that supports business-to-business and consumer-to-business activity,” said Chamber President Dan West. “We will have a little something for everyone: Games for kids, chances to win prizes, lots of helpful information, and an easy connection to some 100 business from our community.”

The Expo begins with the Business Breakfast Roundtable, sponsored by Schoolcraft College, Davenport University, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan which features a panel of news columnists and political leaders at 7:30 a.m. Michigan State Senators Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) and Glenn Anderson (D-Westland), Detroit Free Press Business Columnist Tom Walsh, and Crain’s Detroit Business Capitol Reporter Chris Gautz are scheduled to discuss state and local business trends and answer audience questions.

The 90-minute program will be held at the Marriott Hotel banquet room, attached to the Mall. Admission is $15 per person.

Exhibitors promoting local businesses and organizations will be on display throughout the concourse of the Mall from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

A unique business networking opportunity is available to chamber members at 2 p.m. Networking Frenzy, sponsored by Laurel Park Place Mall, will give business people a quick and effective gathering to meet new people and discuss business issues in one hour. The cost is $5 per person and the program is limited to 52 people.

The day concludes with the “Tastefully Livonia” program, presented by Tennyson Chevrolet and Foresters Financial Partners, a business-casual networking event in the Marriott Hotel banquet room from 5:30-7:30 p.m, featuring food samples by Livonia’s leading restaurants. Admission is $20 per person, which includes two drink tickets. Several prizes will be offered in a silent auction to raise money for the Livonia Chamber Scholarship Fund.

Other sponsors of the Livonia Business Expo includes: Co-op Services Credit Union, Livonia Spree, Dave and Buster’s,  Consumers Energy, Edward Jones Investments: Robin Whitfield, Financial Advisor, Freedom Hill Ampitheater,  and The Livonia Observer. 

Laurel Park Place Mall’s General Manager Todd Huhn said the event is consistent with the property’s goal “to spread the word about the many unique businesses in our area.”

There are a few exhibit spaces remaining for the Livonia Business Expo. For more information on exhibit space or to purchase admissions to the Business Breakfast Roundtable or Tastefully Livonia, contact the Livonia Chamber of Commerce at 734.427.2122, or follow the chatter on Twitter at #livbizexpo.