Pure Michigan Signature Dish Series: Mabel Gray

Part three in exploring Michigan’s culinary scene takes us to Hazel Park for a rotating menu that never disappoints.

A ravioli entrée with red sauce on a plate.
The Egg Yolk and Ricotta Raviolo with a N’duja Butter Sauce and Swiss Chard | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

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Detroit’s industrial reach is one that is studied in textbooks, and Mabel Gray pays homage to that heritage through a revolution of food and flavor nestled in a cinderblock building in the inner-ring suburb of Hazel Park. But Mabel Gray isn’t your ordinary restaurant; it’s an experience. With handwritten menus, a comfortable atmosphere and personal service. Mabel Gray is Chef James Rigato’s take on the renaissance of the Michigan food scene. 

Mabel Gray does not have a set menu, meaning each experience has the possibility to be a new and exciting meal that you’ve never had before. While you may not be able to find your average steak and potato meal here, you will discover a unique dining experience that rotates with the seasons and is based on the availability of the freshest ingredients from local farms. Everything is made from scratch and ethically sourced through Chef James’ extensive network of farms, butchers and foragers.

A chef adding filling to handmade ravioli
Chef James Rigato Cooking | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

But now, for what really matters: the food. The egg yolk and ricotta raviolo with a N’duja butter sauce and Swiss chard. The oversized ravioli – raviolo in chef’s terms – is filled with ricotta, goat cheese, herbs and pecorino. Farm-fresh Michigan eggs are cracked, and the yolk is delicately placed in the center before cooking. Swiss chard, a summer favorite in Michigan, is prepped before Chef James crafts the N’duja butter sauce, tasting as he goes to ensure the perfect flavor and consistency. This mouthwatering dish is one of many you may find on the ever-rotating menu at Mabel Gray.

Check out how Chef James creates the egg yolk and ricotta raviolo with N’duja butter sauce and Swiss chard below.

Mabel Gray is open Tuesday-Saturday from 4:00pm - 10:00pm, and they accept reservations for parties of 1 - 6 up to 30 days in advance. More information is available at mabelgraykitchen.com.

About Chef James Rigato

Chef James Rigato
Chef James Rigato | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

Chef James is more than the chef; he’s also the owner of Mabel Gray. Additionally, Mabel Gray is far from his first rodeo as a restaurateur. He began his tenure in the restaurant industry at the age of 14, working as a dishwasher at a local diner. Cooking piqued his interest at a young age; his love for food was forged by his Italian grandparents. He decided to attend Schoolcraft College’s Culinary program, opening The Root Restaurant & Bar at the age of 26, following 8+ years working at some of the finest dining establishments Detroit has to offer.

Chef James’ accolades don’t stop there. He’s been a James Beard Semifinalist in the Best Chefs category five times and garnered other top awards from Food & Wine, HOUR Detroit, and Detroit Free Press. He’s even spent some time with Chef Gordon Ramsey, guiding him around the Keweenaw Peninsula for an episode of his National Geographic show “Uncharted.” It’s fair to say you’re in good hands when Chef James is in the kitchen.

Follow along with our Signature Dish series as we continue exploring Michigan’s ever-growing culinary scene.