She’s filled a much needed niche in Detroit’s quaint little neighborhoods creating a place to gather for neighbors and visitors alike.
Ping Ho is the Singapore-born restaurateur behind some of Detroit’s most delightful spots, The Royce, Mink, and Marrow.
EXP: How did you get into the hospitality industry?
PH: I took a big leap of faith and quit my corporate job in NYC to move to Detroit. My love of wine and food drove me to create my businesses, starting with The Royce, a wine bar and shop downtown in Grand Circus Park.
EXP: How did you come up with the names for your restaurants?
PH: For a butcher shop and restaurant hybrid concept, the name “Marrow” doesn’t just point to meat and bone, but the true essence of all things good, as well as strength and vitality. As for Mink, it was Chef Sarah Welch (executive chef at Marrow and co-founder at Mink) who came up with the name. We’d been calling our project “RAW” but thought it too literal of a name for a raw bar concept. We both felt that Mink was a far better name as it’s a photogenic semiaquatic mammal that eats both meat, fish and crustaceans – a good reflection of our menu.
EXP: What was it like having Marrow as a semi-finalist in the Best New Restaurant category for a James Beard Award?
PH: It was an incredibly encouraging and validating moment. I was – and still am – euphoric about the accolade, mostly for my team which I give a lot of credit to for the stellar reception that we achieved early on.
EXP: How do you decide what communities would best fit your vision?
PH: The Royce needed to be downtown as back in 2016, there weren’t any great wine bars or retail shops in the area. As for Marrow, I immediately felt that the historic neighborhood of the West Village was suited, with its classic butcher shop and local “farm to fork” concept. Mink and its small footprint works very well on the little, charming corner in Corktown.
EXP: What is it like being a woman powerhouse in the food service industry and are there other Detroit women that you collaborate with or admire for their work?
PH: I don’t think of myself as a powerhouse by any means! It feels like I have a lot more work to do and accomplishments to achieve to even earn that title. I admire the women whom I work with on a daily basis, namely the members of my teams. They are young, they work hard, and are passionate about what they do.
EXP: It’s your last meal on earth – what are you having?
PH: I am definitely eating from a large, steaming pot of “steamboat” otherwise known as hotpot. There would be a variety of ingredients – from proteins like meat from Marrow, fresh thinly sliced fish, and an array of mushrooms and vegetables.