The Union Woodshop is a joint that was born from the ashes of the Clarkston Cafe and the fruits of the Clarkston Union. For all practical purposes, the Union Woodshop started sometime back in 1995, when Curt Catallo and a couple of friends opened the Clarkston Union. Ann Stevenson did the interior. Erich Lines ran euchre, and then the joint. Shane Collier humped taps and slung martinis. And a lanky punk named Aaron Cozadd came to work the lineâ?¦ and load in the mac & cheese that gave that joint its legend.
Then came the Clarkston Cafe a fine dining landmark that Catallo, his wife Ann Stevenson and partner Erich Lines took over. Out of the gates and fresh from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Aaron Cozadd laid down courses that could knock the socks off even the most seasoned culinarians. Tenderloin Eiffel. Diver Scallops on spinach and sweet potato puree. Hints of molecular gastronomy. And hints of customers. Letâ??s just say that a). an epic recession is a bad time to be ironing white tablecloths on Main Street, America; and, b). when people tell you they want a "fine dining", they are referring to a place for their birthdays or anniversariesâ?¦ not their Tuesdays.
So we closed it. And got together and listened only to instincts. And palates. We kept Chef Aaron Cozadd on. We kept Pastry Chef Will Cole around. And we starting scrambling like lobsters working their way out of the pot. We stole the Mac & Cheese from the Clarkston Union. We lifted Chef Scott Lauferâ??s sweet potato burrito and stuffed it with the puree formerly found beneath some pricey, hand-plucked diver scallops. And we stole Shane Collier and asked him to put the band back together.
So we did. We listened to our guts. We jettisoned anything that smelled of pretense. We took the woodfired successes and slow-food passion of a dormant joint and amplified them into a smoky inferno of hickory, apple and cherry. We went big-time smalltown BBQ. We took fine dining to a whole new level: the lowest one. Incredibly crafted food slapped onto trays with barely a care. The kitchen took Michelin three star techniques and slapped them onto a Dukes of Hazzard General Lee Charger. And we put our foot down and have yet to look back.
From all of us on Main Street, thanks for sticking around for the ride. Itâ??s our honor to feed you.