Not content to own and operate two of the highest rated restaurants in the region —namely Soup Spoon Café near downtown Lansing and Gracie’s Place in Williamston — restaurateur Nick Gavrilides recently launched a deli meat product line out of the Soup Spoon. The new venture comes with a new name, Wolfe Meats. While the splash page for the website (wolfemeats.com) dropped just last week, the business has secretly been in operation since early spring.
“We started making our own corned beef about four months ago as a test product,” Gavrilides said. “It took a little while to dial it in, but we seem to have finally found the right balance of brining and cook time. It’s absolutely the best I’ve ever had, and our customers have been ecstatic about the quality.”
Corned beef is the pink, salty benchmark by which delicatessens live or die. After getting the thumbs up from his customer base, Gavrilides and his executive chef, Jason Blastic, started experimenting with roasting. He invested in a CVap (controlled vapor) combination oven, which blends convection and steam cooking.
“The CVap allows us to cook the meat so that the textures and flavors are enhanced and the weight loss is kept to a minimum,” Gavrilides said. “We recently started serving roast turkey and roast beef, and pastrami is next on my list. Those will be the first four (Wolfe Meat products).”
All meat preparation is done at Soup Spoon, utilizing equipment and staff at the Michigan Avenue restaurant. Gavrilides said they use the highest quality ingredients they can get their hands on. He and Blastic are entirely self-taught in the art of deli meat manufacturing.
“Jason is really talented with flavors and consults with me on all the ideas,” Gavrilides said. “I’m excited to have this out there. It’s part of (my goal) of keeping the focus on being as local and artisan as we can.”
The turkeys used at Wolfe Meats are all natural and Michigan raised, and the beef comes from various local suppliers. And no, even though wolves are no longer on the endangered species list, they’re not on the menu — Wolfe Meats is just the name.
“It’s an old family name on my father-in-law’s side,” Gavrilides said. “We thought it sounded really cool, and it lends itself to a sweet logo.”
Eventually Gavrilides wants to start adding pork to the mix, including prosciutto and sausage, and he envisions a freestanding deli someday. If Wolfe Meats picks up steam, Gavrilides said he’d like to add items to the Gracie’s Place menu and possibly distribute to grocery stores. Of course, there’s also the prospect of packaging his signature soups for distribution, as well as his kitchen’s homemade sauces, but Gavrilides doesn’t want to think too far ahead.
“I want to see where the demand takes us, but I want to let this grow naturally,” he said. “You can’t rush the development process. It takes a long time to tweak each (meat) so that it’s absolutely the best it can be, which is why I started doing this in the first place. I just wasn’t getting the quality of meat I wanted, and I thought I could do better myself. I’m always trying to up the quality game.”
As demand for noninvasive cosmetic treatment services continues to grow — and the costs associated with these kinds of treatments continue to drop — aesthetic laser facilities have become a popular alternative to traditional plastic surgery. Following this trend, the Department of Surgery inside Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine recently launched the MSU Aesthetic & Laser Treatment Center.
Following its soft opening last week on the sixth floor of the Eyde Building, there will be a grand opening celebration 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11 with refreshments, product discounts and gift baskets. But the main goal, said operational coordinator Abby Albert, is to give potential clients a chance to meet the medical staff and get an inside look at the new facility.
"(The Department of Surgery) was already providing some insurance-based plastic surgery procedures, but we started to get a demand for more elective work," Albert said. "This grew out of that demand."
The site employs two full-time aestheticians, Beth Hunt and Olga Briseño, who have a combined 40 years of experience in the field. There are also three plastic surgeons dedicated to the unit, Dr. Andrew Zwyghuizen, the center’s medical director; Dr. James Clarkson, who also directs MSU’s new Wound and Hyperbaric Clinic; and Dr. Khalid Almutairi, who specializes in hand and plastic reconstructive surgery.
Albert said the “big ticket” service is Halo by Sciton, a hand-held hybrid laser that targets wrinkles and sunspots from deep beneath the skin. The center also features high-tech sounding treatments like nano-laser peels and hydrafacials, as well as more traditional services like laser hair removal and Botox. In addition to the anti-aging treatments, the center offers services for people with acne scars, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, and other types of scarring. Most facials start at $125, with more intense types of treatments running between $250 and $400.
“Many of these procedures are more preventative in nature, so we’re seeing a lot more younger people coming in to try to (ward off) the effects of aging before they really begin,” Albert said. “They’re taking proactive measures and being very careful with their skin, which goes a long way toward heading off things like skin cancer. It’s good to see young people already thinking about things like that."
MSU Aesthetics & Laser Treatment Center
4660 S. Hagadorn Road, Suite 610, East Lansing
8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday; closed Saturday-Sunday
(517) 267-2497, cosmetic.msu.edu