It was on September 27 when a peculiar 30-second clip surfaced on Eminem’s YouTube channel: it was not a music video teaser, nor was it the first few lines of a new rap song, but rather a fast-moving advertising.
When you watch the film, you’ll see containers of marinara sauce spinning hypnotically across checkered tablecloths. “Sghetti sandwich,” which is a scoop of pasta squashed between two slices of buttered white bread, is mentioned in a voice-over as being strangely Italian: spaghetti, spaghetti and meatballs, and “spaghetti sandwich.” Despite the fact that Eminem is clothed in a thin gold chain and an eggplant-colored flight jacket, he seems to be holding up two middle fingers, with their message hidden by two takeaway containers displaying the slogan “Mom’s Spaghetti.”
Two days later, the rapper stunned patrons at the grand opening of his new restaurant in downtown Detroit, where he dished heaping ladles of spaghetti to a line of customers that snaked around the block for blocks. Almost immediately, a picture showing the rapper standing behind the order window and flipping the bird soared to the top of Reddit’s home page.
During a visit to Mom’s Spaghetti in December, three months after the first flurry of publicity, the establishment did not strike me as a temple to a rapper’s professional life. It was instead a little counter-service restaurant nestled away in an alley near to the Little Caesars World Headquarters that I found myself in. (Yes, the pizza delivery service.) I looked over the brevity of the menu and made my order with a cashier who worked outside. Almost as soon as my credit card transaction was completed, a hot, carbohydrate-laden paper bag was given to me via the front door.
Later, I was brought inside a gastropub called Union Assembly, where all of the food served at Mom’s Spaghetti is made, and then to a small suite of tables and bar stools where customers may consume their meals.
This is when the Slim Shady aesthetic becomes immediately apparent: On the menu and in the packaging, the majority of the “Es” have been reversed, and the kitchen has been designed to seem like a little street corner bodega. I slid into a seat, already feeling overwhelmed, and braced myself for what would be a long night in the aftermath of Eminem’s global cultural empire.
Eminem is not present, and he should not be anticipated to appear any time soon. Ian McManus, 22, who owns the Trailer — a retail store located above the eating area — informed me that the rapper had been by the eatery a “handful” of times since it first opened its doors in November.
The area was packed with a mix of Eminem-themed pint glasses, T-shirts, and shoes, but the pièce de résistance was tucked away in the back: the Robin costume from the music video for “Without Me,” which was protected behind glass. The music served as the soundtrack to the year I turned ten, and witnessing a remnant of it up close was like being in the Louvre at a brief moment in time.
He said that the experience was little in compared to what Mom’s Spaghetti had to give. “Their sauce was more like a soup,” Mr. Farran said, adding that they did not provide bread. His finger was then directed toward the caramelised lump of starch that was half-submerged in the noodles. The experience “very much made the whole vacation for us,” he added. “I wouldn’t have had anything to look forward to if it hadn’t been for this.”
Mom’s Spaghetti, according to Mr. Catallo, the restaurant’s owner, intends to extend its menu in the future. Mr. Mathers has taste-tested a recipe for Bolognese sauce, which will be available shortly. I pictured the rapper, whose career was previously characterised by wrath and controversy, taking a sip of a meat sauce and letting it linger on his tongue for a time before putting it his seal of approval on it. Is it possible that Eminem will become a modern-day Jimmy Buffett, bringing Mom’s Spaghetti to tourist hotspots throughout the nation? Because he refuses to be interviewed for this storey, I am unable to confirm this.
Nonetheless, I can state unequivocally that, after scarfing down a pound of spaghetti on a frigid Detroit night, I felt completely transformed! Knees are weak, and the arms are heavy.