The old Maccabees restaurant on Woodward Avenue has made some major changes in the last couple months, including a new chef, a new co-owner and operating partner, and a new flavorful Asian-inspired menu. The new-old spot, now called Maccabees Traders, is re-launching at 5057 Woodward Ave. on March 6.

This re-launch is an exciting one since chef Rafael Esparza spent his time preparing inside the kitchens of his friends’ grandmothers. He wanted to make sure that the flavors on the Maccabees Traders menu would be authentic, tasty and approachable.

The new menu will feature green papaya salad, chicken and jasmine rice dumpling soup, Vernor’s glazed thit kho (pork belly), grilled tofu steaks with zip sauce, shrimp bahn mi, and the big showstopper- chicken wings, made with Vietnamese fish sauce.

Esparza figured that many people are comfortable with the idea of chicken wings and they know what to expect, so his dish would have some familiarity alongside a good introduction to a new flavor to get people out of their comfort zones.

You can also order their Sticky Smoky Sesame Wings, made with honey ginger, toasted sesame, chili threads and lime, or their Thai Chicken Wrap, made with peppers, cilantro, rice powder, peanuts and tamarind.

The team puts a large emphasis on hospitality, creating a full experience the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave the restaurant. Everybody is different, Esparza said, so the cookie-cutter style of hospitality won’t work at Maccabees Traders. Esparza and the team want each visitor to enjoy their meal and experience enough to feel excited to come back.

The drink menu is full of simplicity and freshness, said David Kraus, co-owner and operating partner. Since everything at Maccabees Traders is about the food, the beverage menu will feature clean flavors, suggestions for drink and food pairings, and craft cocktails made with natural ingredients. You can order a Gunpowder ​Old Fashioned, made with Bulleit Rye, ​Meyer lemon, black pepper and  bitters, or a QLine ​Cordial, made with Fernet Branca, 2 James ​Catchers Rye and basil simple syrup.

Sunday brunch service will continue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a mix of the old Maccabees menu and a touch of the new Maccabees Traders menu.

The future of Maccabees Traders includes a café for before work treats and caffeine boosts.

Visit maccabeestraders.com for more information and follow them on social to stay current. Pop in to 5057 Woodward Ave. to visit the team and try out the new menu.

Erica N Rakowicz/After 5


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