Black businesses were destroyed in Grosse Pointe fire, but you’d barely know from local reports

he October 30 fires in Grosse Pointe Park left two black-owned businesses destroyed. But did you know that?

Rockefellers Oyster Bar & Grill and Bootleggers Pig & Whiskey were among only a handful of black-owned businesses in the Grosse Pointes, both owned by restauranteur Jai-Lee Dearing, son of Bert’s Warehouse owner Bert Dearing.

The fire was said to have started in an apartment above the restaurant by a space heater, leaving both as total losses.

A quick scan through local headlines, however, seem to focus on the building’s history as once being home to convicted murderer Bob Bashara’s infamous sex dungeon. Bashara was convicted in 2014. It’s now 2016.

The Grosse Pointes-Harper Woods NAACP Branch president released a statement about the businesses.


“There are so few minority owned businesses in the five Grosse Pointes that this blow is particularly hurtful to our small business community,” Bowens says. “We are grateful for the service and support Jai-Lee Dearing and his family has given our community and our new branch for the last three years. We remain hopeful that the Dearing family will be able to rebuild in the Pointes. A diverse restaurant scene creates a robust economy for everyone.”

“We are grateful for the quick response by our public safety department and that no one was injured in the blaze. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this tragic event,” Bowens added.

We’re unsure what Dearing’s plans are for the future, but we’ll keep you updated.

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