News has spread across the nation about Mom’s Spaghetti, Eminem’s new carryout restaurant located in the heart of downtown on Woodward among the city’s music venues, theaters and sport stadiums.
Fans lined up hours before Wednesday’s opening day, and a few lucky “Stans” even got served by Slim Shady himself from the pick-up window in an alley. There’s no shortage of hoopla for Mom’s Spaghetti, which was covered widely, from the front page of The Detroit News to CNN to the “Today Show.”
How’s the food, though?
It’s not too far from something my own mom — who served us spaghetti at least once a week, often with sauce using tomatoes from the backyard — would have put on the dinner table, meaning it’s more homespun than chef-driven.
The noodles are cooked just right, not too al dente and not mushy. The sauce smells sweeter than it tastes and has more of a tangy flavor. There’s a hint of basil, some parmesan for texture, a flagrancy of garlic and it’s less salty than your low-end sauce from a jar. The portion, served in a huge Chinese food-style takeout container open at the top with a plastic fork and slice of garlic toast sticking out, is massive and heavy.
Mom’s Spaghetti doesn’t have that freshness that you’d get from a plate of pasta in any decent Italian restaurant, but it’s not meant to taste like that. As reported, the Union Joints team that developed the recipe was going for a specific flavor and texture: something that a working mother may reheat after picking the kids up from latchkey following a long day for everyone.
The s’ghetti sandwich was strangely more alluring than the two-pound bucket of pasta, but not any less messy. Smashed between two buttery slices of Texas toast-style garlic bread is a bit of spaghetti and two thick slices of melted white cheese. If you’re down with carbs, this is kind of fun.
Mom’s Spaghetti offers the signature pasta with meat or vegan meatballs, but both were sold out by 9 p.m. during our Thursday night visit. Ope.
Spaghetti alone is appropriately priced at $9, considering portion size, location and the connection to the famous Detroit rapper. Get it with meatballs for $12 or $14 for vegan “rabbit balls” (a reference to Eminem’s character in “8 Mile,” B-Rabbit). The sandwich is $11. These prices are significantly higher than the first appearance of Mom’s Spaghetti, but pop-ups don’t have the same overhead as permanent restaurants, which this version aims to be.
When the collaboration between Union Joints (the restaurant group behind the new Union Assembly as well as Clarkston Union, Vinsetta Garage and many others) popped up at the Shelter music venue in 2017 to promote Em’s album “Revival” prices $5 for spaghetti or a sandwich and a $3 upcharge for meatballs.
Expect there to be a line, but it moves quickly. There are only three menu items, after all.
Besides the carryout window, Mom’s Spaghetti does have a small dining area with a few booths and a counter on the first floor and “the Trailer,” a trailer park-styled gift shop for Eminem merchandise on the second floor. There are separate lines for the food window and the upstairs shop.
Mom’s Spaghetti is at 2131 Woodward on the side of Union Assembly. It’s open 4 p.m.-midnight Wed.-Thurs., 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Fri.-Sat. and 3 p.m.-midnight Sun. Call (313) 888-8388 or visit momsspaghetti.com for more information.