Brothers create a world-class eating experience with Detroit 75 Kitchen food truck


When it comes to one-of-a-kind eateries, brothers Ahmad and Mike Nassar might have the market cornered with their food truck, Detroit 75 Kitchen. Known for its must-have artisanal sandwiches, sides, and hand-cut fries, Detroit 75 Kitchen has made a name for itself locally and nationally as a must-visit destination.

Ahmad, the business mind behind the venture, joined with his older brother Mike, Detroit 75 Kitchen’s executive chef, in 2014 to launch the food truck as a way to help bring customers to their family’s truck stop in southeast Detroit, near the foot of the Ambassador Bridge. The country was still feeling the brunt of the Great Recession, the truck stop was in dire straits, and the brothers knew that great food would attract hungry drivers looking for a respite from the road.

“When my family emigrated from Lebanon to the United States, our father bought the truck stop,” says Ahmad. “He passed away when I was 13. He told Mike, who is 17 years older than me, that he needed to take over the family business and that I needed to go to school.”

The food truck idea allowed both brothers to fulfill their own ambitions while staying true to their father’s wishes. Mike had always loved to cook and had dreamed of one day opening a restaurant. Ahmad was a born entrepreneur looking for an opportunity to build a business from the ground up. They were natural partners. “We have a yin and yang relationship,” says Ahmad. “Mike keeps his head down with the food and I work behind the scenes growing the brand.”


When developing the Detroit 75 Kitchen menu, Mike took his inspiration from the foods and experiences he loved. “Mike is self-taught and has no formal education in cooking,” says Ahmad. “When the family came to the United States, he learned English by hanging out with other people in the neighborhood. He was welcomed into their homes, shared their meals, and experienced what they were eating firsthand.” Mike combined those experiences with memories of food in Lebanon and what he saw his mother cooking each day.

The end result is a menu filled with one mouthwatering selection after another. There’s the Detroit-style cheesesteak, called the 3rd Street Detroit Cheesesteak, which blogging star Dave Portnoy called “one of the best sandwiches he’s ever had.”

It’s made with a bread used frequently in Lebanon that is crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. “A Philly cheesesteak uses Cheez Whiz and a soft bun, which Mike says is ‘trash,’” says Ahmad, laughing. “Mike likes to use his own fresh flavors and a bun that actually holds everything on the inside.” The end result is a sandwich that’s “earthy, spicy, soft and cheesy.”

It’s that dedication to rich, authentic, one-of-a-kind flavors that has made Detroit 75 Kitchen so popular, earning it top three food truck status in America from US Weekly and frequent accolades from local food critics. And it’s why their clientele has expanded way beyond the truck stop crowd, with discerning diners coming from far and wide to order their favorites.

Ahmad is rightfully proud of the fact that Detroit 75 Kitchen has made a name for itself not only for its food but also for the way it does business. Early on, the brothers decided they would put the needs of their team members at the forefront of everything they did.


“We decided we’d flip the labor model,” says Ahmad. “We would never open on the weekends, we’d close every day by 6 p.m., we’d provide benefits, offer salaries above food service standards, and only hire people from our own neighborhood in Southwest Detroit.”

The model has proven to be a major success. “It’s always been a revolving door for labor in food service businesses – which has the highest labor turnover rate of any job sector,” says Ahmad. “But we have 30 team members right now and 25 of them have been with us for more than five years.”

Team members are happy, feel secure in their jobs, contribute to the organization’s success and are valued. “If you’re going to be a top 100 restaurant or a must-visit destination, your food needs to be really good,” says Ahmad. “And if your team isn’t rested and respected, they won’t be able to respond to the demands and expectations placed on you by your guests. People want a chance to see their abilities grow. Everyone wants to improve and become better than they were yesterday.”

The pandemic and the ensuing tide of resignations across the country proved the value of the brother’s approach from day one, underscoring the importance of job satisfaction, a living wage and a supportive work environment. “If we’re not contributing to society, then why are we even here?” says Ahmad, who has served on the board of the United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

Today, Ahmad and Mike are working to expand Detroit 75 Kitchen and recently launched a catering side to the business, something customers had long been requesting.

People who want to bring the Detroit 75 Kitchen experience to their own place of business or family gathering can now request one of two options— a staffed catering event where food is prepared off-site but served by the food truck’s culinary team. Or, people can rent the truck itself and have the food cooked from scratch on site. “That’s for the most authentic experience,” Ahmad says.

The catering menu will offer “essentials” and include all of the truck’s sandwiches, fries and side options as well as an “upscale menu,” which Ahmad describes as the evolution of their most popular items.

Next up for the brothers is to get popular Detroit 75 Kitchen items on the grocery shelves and in other retail spots around the state and country. “We make all of our sauces and everything from scratch,” Ahmad says. “We’d like to share those flavors so that people and businesses outside the Detroit area can enjoy them, too.”

Ultimately, the brothers are working towards a day when the Detroit 75 Kitchen name becomes synonymous with the city of its birth, a culinary touchstone that stirs up joy and good memories for its customers. “We want to be the Zingerman’s of Detroit, a recognizable Michigan brand like Faygo or Stroh’s,” says Ahmad. “We want to still be part of the food conversation in the city in the next hundred years.”

In the meantime, as they work to bring that dream to life, Ahmad says, “We’ll continue to contribute positively to society and just have fun.”