Sarah Schneider loves to entertain, so much that she opened her own restaurant so she could provide comfort, pampering and excellent food to the whole community.
An easy 30-minute drive from Downtown Birmingham, The Fed in Clarkston was born, says Schneider, “from a love of throwing a great dinner party and gathering people together. I love design, I love creating a space with great ambience, and I wanted to turn this love into a business.
“I call it my dinner party every night of the week,” says Schneider, who co-owns the spot with her husband, James.
Celebrating its fifth anniversary this month, The Fed is a gathering spot, and Schneider’s number one goal is hospitality with farm-to-table seasonal menus.
“We want people to feel good the moment they walk in, and feel really good in the space,” she says. “We want to give our guests exactly what they want, especially if they’re driving from far away.”
Chef James Henry is inspired by The Fed’s core dining value of “come as you are,” he says. “Elevated food that is not pretentious. We focus heavily on ingredients seasonal to Michigan’s agriculture and the variety of food cultures we have at our fingertips — honoring the backgrounds of each member of our culinary team and our memories of our grandmothers’ cooking.”
This month, recipes make the most of Michigan blueberries and cherries, corn, beets, cucumber, figs and melons, often created on the eatery’s wood-fire hearth and oven to impart “that campfire flavor,” Henry says.
“We take inspiration from what the people growing and sourcing our products tell us is at its best.”
Schneider, who lives with her family in a circa-1930s home built by Henry Ford, is an artist with a passion for design, which she writes about in a lifestyle blog-turned-social media page (follow her on Instagram at @lovesarahschneider).
“The blog grew over time,” she says. “I worked with dream companies, which really gave me this platform — and it all led to opening the restaurant.”
Housed in an early-1900s bank, The Fed (“a combination of Federal Reserve and being fed and gathering,” Schneider says) was painstakingly restored and curated over three years and filled with eclectic collections, including vintage silver- and cocktailware. Downstairs, the former vaults have been turned into a speakeasy (The Gold Bar) and spaces for private dining. “The former owners didn’t want it to be a bank again, but hoped it would be involved with the community,” Schneider says. “It was my hope to be a big part of the community. In fact, our tagline is ‘community.’ It’s really who we are.”
Chef James Henry shared one of The Fed’s most popular summertime cocktails (shown right).
2 slices of cucumber
2-3 mint leaves
1 ½ oz Valentine White Blossom Vodka
1 oz Fresh lime juice
1 oz elderflower liqueur
Muddle 1 cucumber slice and mint leaves
Add vodka, lime juice and elderflower liqueur
Shake with ice until well chilled
Double strain into a chilled coup or martini glass
Garnish with cucumber slice
Can add ½ oz simple syrup or extra elderflower liqueur for a less tart variation
“The Fed is a place where we want you to come together with friends, family and neighbors. It's a gathering spot.”
— Sarah Scheider