Eminem’s Mom’s Spaghetti Restaurant Serves Pasta With the Special Savor of Leftovers
Emblematic of the impressively intricate stylings of the rapper Eminem is his acclaimed 2002 single “Lose Yourself,” a piece he composed for the semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile, which sold more than 10 million copies and earned him an Oscar and two Grammys in the early aughts. Its famed opening lines paint a stomach-churning picture. The song’s protagonist is holed up in a bathroom, perspiring, and trying to clean puke off of his clothes: “Knees weak, arms heavy. There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.” The lyrics inspired a meme and a series of pop-up restaurants at Eminem’s festival performances, where audience members could order pasta imbued with the humble, distinctive tang of the homemade. More recently, those lyrics gave rise to a restaurant, which the rapper, who grew up just outside Detroit, announced on his YouTube channel in a cryptic video a few days before it opened on the city’s Woodward Avenue last fall.
A partnership between Eminem’s team and the local restaurant group Union Joints, Mom’s Spaghetti, located inside the gastropub Union Assembly, lives up to its name. Diners reach the spot by walking down an alley, and order through a pick-up window that swiftly delivers steamy sustenance in brown paper bags. One can choose among Spaghetti, Spaghetti with Balls (meatballs), Spaghetti with Rabbit Balls (vegan meatballs), Spaghetti Bolognese, and spaghetti in a sandwich (either S’ghetti or S’ghetti Bolognese). Like the menu, the Trailer—a merchandise shop located above the dining area—evokes a retro feel via its Eminem-themed pint glasses, T-shirts, and sneakers.
The dishes achieve their nostalgic vibe (and simplify the logistics of serving pasta, which takes time to cook, as a take-out meal) through an ingenious preparation method. Pasta is cooked a day in advance and reheated in woks, creating that special savor that an extra day lends to leftovers. Aside from the sandwiches, everything comes in an oyster pail, sprinkled with parmesan. It’s comfort food that’s as classic as Eminem’s unforgettable lyric—yet decidedly less nauseating.