Friday, January 31, 2014

Oakland Chamber Network Mixer

Mix, mingle and make connections with business professionals from more than 27 Oakland County Chambers. Appetizers included, cash bar.

When: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 5:30-7:30 PM

Where:  Star Lanes at Emagine Royal Oak
200 N. Main St.
Royal Oak, MI 48067

Registration:  $15 Members in advance;
$25 Nonmembers

Register Here!

BBCC Member Coffee at Erhard BMW

Bring your business cards and get connected at our morning meet & greet with fellow Chamber members!

When: Thursday, March 27, 2014 08:00 AM hru  09:00 AM

Where: Erhard BMW
4065 W. Maple Rd., Bloomfield Hills 

Registration: Complimentary for Members Only.
Nonmembers call Danielle Workman for more information (248) 430-7686

Register here

BBCC Presents: Business After-Hours at the Maple Theater

Come mingle and unwind with us after work at the Maple Theater!Upscale Film-Upscale Atmosphere-Everyone Welcome! After extensive renovations the new facilities include a Great Lakes Coffee shop, Wi-Fi Lounge, and a full bar. Join us for mixing and mingling - appetizers included, cash bar.

When: from Wednesday, March 19, 2014 05:30 PM
thru 07:00 PM

Where: The Maple Theater
4135 W. Maple Rd.
Bloomfield Twp. 48301

Registration: $10 Members in advance, $20 at the door
$20 Nonmembers

Register here:


From Left to Right:
Danielle Workman, Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber Membership Manager
Maria Medoro, Cucina Medoro; Joyce Weiss, Joyce Weiss Training and Development

It all started with a status update on Facebook raving about the gluten-free options at Cucina Medoro, a small café with freshly prepared Italian specialties by owner Maria Medoro. But with Birmingham Restaurant Week this week and next, a number of people have asked me about restaurants that understand food allergies and the growing concern of gluten intolerance. 

My own journey navigating dining out with a gluten-free diet started three years ago, and has certainly become easier as restaurants have addressed diners’ dietary needs. But to aid in this story, I have inquired about the gluten-free trend to some Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber Member restaurateurs.   

When asked how often diners are requesting gluten-free menu options, nearly every restaurateur responded emphatically that they are being asked multiple times daily to serve or modify menu offerings for the gluten intolerant.  This is a good time to address the distinctions about the level of gluten sensitivity, since wheat flour and other ingredients containing gluten can become airborne and cross-contaminate gluten-free foods.  Not a single restaurant responding indicated that their restaurant was certified gluten-free, rather that they take precautions to avoid contact with gluten.  A person with any severe food allergy should call ahead before dining out. 

Noodles & Company shared that they always retrieve gluten-free ingredients out of the walk-in pans and utensils direct from the dishwasher to avoid exposure to allergens and The Stand Gastro Bistro utilizes a “prep kitchen away from any gluten containing products to avoid cross contamination,” said Chef Paul Grosz, whose sister has Celiac’s disease, heightening his awareness of the illness and leading him to state, “I am very pleased to accommodate anyone with any special dietary need, so as to make their dining experience special and enjoyable.”

I’ve always found it best to inquire upfront about the availability of gluten-free options, and restaurants are catching on by designating GF or with a wheat-free symbol on their menus, offering a separate allergy guide, training servers to assist with modifying dishes or even sending the chef right to the table as Maggiano’s in Troy does to ensure their scratch recipes are modified to contain no gluten ingredients.

Dessert is also an option in places like Bella Piatti, where gluten intolerant and diabetic Chef de Cuisine Matt Cassell, offers a flourless chocolate cake or can create any menu item free of garlic, onions, olive oil, nuts, dairy, cheese or gluten because of allergies.  Or visit SweetEarth to create your own gluten-free, non-dairy, vegan, nut or other allergy-free frozen yogurt with one-on-one customer consulting from highly knowledgeable and trained staff.

Pizza is also not a forbidden food for those with gluten issues.  Newcomer Extreme Pizza offers a great gluten-free crust and some rather unorthodox topping combinations, but you might have guessed that from the name.  Ordering is easy with their online and mobile app options. Or if you have any questions before ordering, you can give them a call.  While salad is often the way to avoid gluten at restaurants that don’t generally cater to food allergies, you do have to be careful about dressings containing traces of gluten.  Not so at The Big Salad where they are proud to offer many allergy free options including gluten-free soup and a large variety of dressings that fit the bill.

Chefs Shawn Wright and Lea Schofield created the menu at CaféML with gluten-free and vegetarian diners in mind. Chef Nick Janutol at The Forest Grill offers many gluten-free entrees or can modify recipes for vegans, vegetarians and those with various dietary needs.  Manager Nickolas Scott said that Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse offers an extensive gluten-free menu and will send chef or manager to the table to confer with the guest before their meal is prepared. 

Often, I am simply floored by the extra mile some restaurants will go to assure a great gluten-free experience, even for a plated business meeting.  The Chamber Board of Directors met last week at Fleming'sPrime Steakhouse & Winebar and upon learning of my gluten intolerance, the server brought me a beautifully wrapped box of truffles especially prepared with my dietary concerns in mind.   The Townsend Hotel and The Rugby Grill and The Corner Bar have always taken good care of me and other guests at events whether gluten-free, vegan, Kosher, or any other special dietary consideration. It’s always best to notify the venue or event hosts ahead of time since plated meals for large groups require advance preparations.

Gluten-free substitutions can vary greatly, from the use of corn tortillas at ROJO or rice flour for rouxs, bread and pasta at The Stand, which also reports use of gluten-free soy sauce on their braised short ribs.  

Danielle Workman is the membership manager of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber.  She welcomes feedback at

Professional Edge Workshop on March 6th, 2014

Do you want to improve your SEO Rankings? Then this workshop is for you! Presented by Basso Design Group on March 6th. Dan Santonocito, managing principal at Basso Design Group explores the amazing maze of search-engine optimization, taking a hard look at the SEO landscape and providing insights you can use to leverage its power.

When: March 6th from 7:30 a.m to 9:30 p.m.
Where: The Birmingham Administrative Building:
31301 Evergreen Road, Beverly Hills, MI

Register Here Today!

$10- Members; $20- Non-Members

Chamber 411

Want the latest on the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber?

Learn how the Chamber can help GROW your business! Complimentary for new and prospective members.Coffee & light breakfast snacks are included.

Sponsored by: Comcast Business Class

Where: Birmingham Public Schools Administration Building, 31301 Evergreen Road, Beverly Hills, MI (adjacent to Groves High School

When: February 7th from: 8- 9:30 a.m.

Register Here.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Birmingham Restaurant Weeks: January 27-31 & February 3-7

It's back! Birmingham Restaurant Weeks are here again for both foodies and bargain-hunters alike. 20 award-winning restaurants will be participating this year and every palate will be satiated. Starting January 27-31 and February 3-7 each establishment will offer a fabulous three-course lunch (those that are open for lunch) for only $15 per person, and a three-course dinner for only $30 per person, excluding beverages, tax and gratuity.

The 20 participating restaurants this year will be:  

This is a deal too delicious to pass up! Whether you are taking your family out to eat or having a night on-the-town with friends, Birmingham Restaurant Weeks has a little something for everyone. From everything from breweries and award winning seafood to vegan fare, everyone will be satisfied.

We hope to see you there!

For more information: 
Click here to find out more about Birmingham Restaurant Weeks and other events that are going on in the Birmingham area this season.Click here to find out each participating  restaurant, learn more about their chefs, and take a look at their menu.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Positive buzz: The energy around the auto show infectious

The next couple of weeks are of huge importance to the state of Michigan, as the North American International Auto Show takes center stage in downtown Detroit.

The impact of the auto show goes well beyond the automobile industry, as every resident in the state of Michigan – and most certainly the tri-county area – are directly impacted by the fortunes of particularly “The Big Three.” As much as we talk about the need to diversify the state’s economy, the auto industry remains the 800 pound gorilla and the old saying “as General Motors goes, so does the state of Michigan” remains as true today as ever.

The near fatal collapse of the domestic auto industry literally led the state to the brink of financial ruin back in 2008-09, and I still shudder to think what would have happened if General Motors and/or Chrysler actually went out of business. The flip side, of course, is when the Big Three came roaring back it kick-started our economic recovery which continues today.

Anyone who knows me knows I am not a “car guy.” I view cars as little more than a means of transportation and I will never be seen hanging out along Woodward Avenue during Dream Cruise month.

But I do understand and appreciate the unique relationship our state has with the auto industry and that our member businesses rely on the tens of thousands of residents whose income is either directly or indirectly derived from the industry. Just the anticipated profit sharing checks that are about to be distributed by the Big Three will have a huge impact on first-quarter sales as retailers and service providers roll out special advertising to lure a piece of the pie to their doors.

I am old enough to remember how the automotive press sneered at the cars being made in Detroit as unimaginative, unreliable and badly trailing the quality of vehicles being produced in Japan, Germany and elsewhere. Today, nothing could be further from the truth and a visit to the auto show will quickly change the mind of remaining skeptics. The playing field has leveled, and we all are direct beneficiaries of the “rebirth” of the domestic auto industry.

I plan to attend the auto show next week, even though I am not in the market for a new vehicle. There is so much positive buzz about our homegrown industry that the energy and excitement at the show is infectious and I want to be part of that celebration. And who knows, I might just come across something I can’t resist.

See you at the Auto Show!

Joe Bauman is president of the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. He welcomes feedback at

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Check out Danielle Workman on Spectacles!

Our very own Danielle Workman was recently featured on Bloomfield Twp TV Spectacles, a series that covers topics that have particular importance to women in our community. In this segment, Danielle discusses the Chamber and being a woman in business. Watch the video here.