On Sept. 29, Eminem’s new walk-up restaurant made its debut in downtown Detroit and when it opened for business, Slim Shady himself was around to serve up food (and take a few selfies) with the first few customers.
The restaurant is called Mom’s Spaghetti, named after a famous lyric in his hit song, “Lose Yourself,” from the soundtrack to 2002’s “8 Mile.” The eatery is a joint project between Eminem, his manager, Paul Rosenberg, and Union Joints restaurant group. It’s not a completely new idea for the rapper: in 2017, in conjunction with the release of his album, “Revival,” Mom’s Spaghetti was launched as a pop-up restaurant inside The Shelter at Detroit’s St. Andrew’s Hall.
It also opened up at music festivals where Eminem played after that, including Coachella, Firefly and The Governor’s Ball. Here’s what the stand looked like at Coachella in 2018:
Mom’s Spaghetti even delivered food to frontline workers at eight hospitals and to those administering vaccines at Detroit’s TCF Center during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosenberg said in a press release that the pop-ups were a test to see if an actual Mom’s Spaghetti location would be viable — and clearly, the results were positive.
The new Mom’s Spaghetti location is located at 2131 Woodward Ave., between the Union Assembly and The Fillmore and across from Comerica Park, where the Detroit Tigers play. It’s a small bodega-style space, designed by Union Joints’ Ann Stevenson as a nod to Eminem’s “8 Mile” character. Customers order and receive meals through a walk-up window in the alley. There’s limited customer seating nearby and a small merchandise hub upstairs called The Trailer. This past weekend, the restaurant aired commercials on local television to bring visitors in.
The ad, posted to EminemMusic’s YouTube page, includes a nod to the original (unappetizing) song lyrics (“There’s vomit on his sweater already / Mom’s spaghetti”) and uses the tagline “Mom’s Spaghetti, it’s all ready.”
And the marketing worked pretty well. The restaurant was scheduled to open at 5 p.m., but fans started lining up at 10 a.m., according to The Detroit News. By the time 4 p.m. rolled around, the line was down the block. And an hour early, the first 10 or so fans were called up to the window to meet Eminem himself: a total surprise, as he wasn’t expected to be at the opening.
“This has been my dream my whole life, and I bawled my eyes out,” Erin Farrer, 24, told The Detroit News about her experience talking with Eminem and getting his autograph on her container of Mom’s Spaghetti.
Even those who didn’t get to interact with him got a thrill out of seeing him show up. Fans Courtney Frost and Jamie Matzinger caught sight of the rapper while waiting in line.
“That made the experience,” said Frost. “You never know with him. It’s Eminem.”
Here’s a visual account of the event from photographer Joe Maroon, including images of Eminem interacting with fans; these images were posted to an album on Facebook. Warning: The images below include profanity.
After just a few minutes, though, and while avoiding questions from reporters, Eminem and his entourage left in a pair of SUVs, “chased Beatlemania-style down Woodward by packs of fans,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
The restaurant offers just a few items on its menu: Mom’s Spaghetti for $9, Mom’s Spaghetti with Meatballs for $12, a ‘Sghetti Sandwich for $11, and a vegan “Rabbit Balls” option for $14. The pasta comes with garlic bread, and Pepsi products are $3.
“We’re proud of the fact that we created a scratch sauce that tastes like it’s straight from the jar, and wok-firing the noodles gives it that leftover pasta snap,” said Curt Catallo, Union Joints co-owner. “The walk-up window and small diner-like spot for people to eat add to the feeling that this is a homegrown, DIY experience.”
Good Life Detroit reports that the food is “good” but you should expect long lines. Meanwhile, reviewer The Eric Barber called the spaghetti “not too impressive” and gave it a 5 out of 10 score, but liked the spaghetti sandwich much better. He didn’t get a chance to meet Eminem, though.