Bounce Nightclub (2814 Detroit Ave., 216-696-0831) was in need of a facelift after closing its doors this past January after a solid 13-year run. New co-owners Joseph and Robert Jackson not only have renovated the interior, adding a lounge, updated bar and high-top tables, but they also have devoted themselves to cultivating a regular clientele of locals living in and around the entertainment complex.
What was once Union Station, the bar and kitchen housed in the front of the club has evolved into Hinge Bar + Kitchen + Lounge, a nod to the neighborhood that has developed around them in an area that many once deemed unsafe. With businesses and housing expanding up Detroit Avenue, a focus on the food seemed vital in order to stay relevant on weekdays when the nightclub is not in use.
"Bounce has always been known for fun," says Joseph Jackson. He and his partners knew they would not only have to redesign the entire kitchen concept that had been lacking under previous ownership, but also bring in a chef to run it. "We didn't want to act as if we knew everything [as proprietors]. We wanted to find a chef to take control."
One month ago they hired John Hagerty, most recently sous chef at Forage Public House and chef de cuisine at Bold Food and Drink. New American fare, seasonal and slightly sophisticated, makes up the majority of Hinge's nightly menu, which runs Wednesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. until close.
Food is an international language, one that the LGBTQ community speaks fluently when considering what's hot and what's not. A streamlined Facebook page lets club-goers preview not only the lineup for the weekend show, but the specials on Hinge's menu just by scrolling. And the changes are working. Hinge is starting to attract customers there to enjoy drag and dinner.
"Foodies to us just mean people who regularly dine out," notes Jackson. "In this neighborhood especially, that number has doubled."
One meal in particular that has become very popular is the Sunday brunch. During the summer months, the developing brunch menu was served a la carte on the extensive parking-lot-turned-patio, alongside games of cornhole or giant jenga. Bounce and Hinge have sponsored Stonewall, an LGBTQ+A recreational sports league that hosts kickball and dodgeball games throughout the year.
"We want to provide an entire 'Sunday Funday' experience," Jackson says excitedly.
Served right up until close at 7 p.m., the latest Sunday brunch menu will debut the first week of November. It features the most popular items from the last batch of menus by Hagerty. Diners can look forward to cream cheese polenta with poached eggs, huevos rancheros with braised pork and chili tomato sauce, classic eggs Benedict, and French toast bread pudding with walnuts, cranberry and a bourbon butter maple syrup.
"My Grandma's sausage gravy," Hagerty says of another brunch item. "She taught me how to make it when I was 10. She's from West Virginia. That will come with homemade biscuits, sage and two fried eggs. We'll do a vegan dish for sure. Typically, I like to do a tofu scramble, either Southwestern or Argentinian with tomatoes and peas."
Everything is made in house and will run $15 or less per brunch entree. Service will be run entirely through the bar for the foreseeable future.
As winter settles in, Showtunes Sunday finally will return with special performances from Bounce favorites. It won't only be the Queens who have the spotlight this time around, but brunch fans as well.
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