New Korean-inspired restaurant opens in Clawson


Whether it’s fun street foods like bao rolls or a fancy little plate with seared mackerel, Grant Vella loves to cook.

“I started cooking in a corporate franchise, met most of my friends there,” says Vella. “I really fell in love, not only with food, but also with serving people and making them happy through food. “

After college, he started some food trucks with friends, before taking the plunge and opening his own restaurant.

“When the pandemic started, a lot of people I worked with called me for help and asked me for help, and I really couldn’t help them… It really got me. gave the extra boost I needed to start mine. place, ”says Vella.

It also allowed him to discover his heritage. Vella is an adopted Korean, whose parents brought him home when he was 3 months old. He never knew much about his Korean heritage and saw it as an opportunity to explore the culture and the food.

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“As an adoptee from Korea, you have this question in mind,” Vella explains. “When you’re younger and you’re a kid you don’t lean into these things, you just try to fit in – girls, sports, etc., and as you get older you kinda slow down, and take time to really focus on yourself.

So he opened The Lucky Duck in 2021, naming it after a nickname his mother gave him growing up, his lucky duck.

The small plates to share on his menu are a combination of all his influences.

“Foundation and hospitality are the essence of Korean [culture]. Having a classic training in French cuisine and of course living in Michigan all my life … I brought everything together under one roof, ”explains Vella.

Popular dishes include their bao rolls, which are lightly fried giving them a slightly different texture than traditional bao rolls. Frying gives soft, sweet buns a slightly crispy exterior. They come in three flavors, Korean spicy eggplant, crispy tofu, and pork belly. A great fusion dish is Doenjang Street Corn, which looks like a Korean version of elote. It includes corn mixed with a tasty doenjang mayo with pickled red onions, mozzarella cheese and finished with green onions. If you’re lucky and come on a Friday or Saturday you can try their Dry Aged Duck which is braised in soy sauce and served with marbled potatoes and caramelized onions.

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For more information, watch the full video above. If you would like to visit The Lucky Duck, it is located at 38 S Main St, Clawson, MI 48017.

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