For more than 50 years, family-run Bert’s Entertainment Complex in Eastern Market has served incredible food and drinks, hosted live entertainment, and preserved black history in Detroit. This summer, the Bert’s team brought their mouthwatering barbeque and vibrant energy to a new location: Comerica Park. Beginning with a presence during the Detroit Tigers 20th annual Negro Leagues Weekend celebration this June, the establishment has been back for multiple homestands and will continue to serve at Comerica Park on weekends throughout the remainder of the season.
Founded by Detroiter Bert Dearing Jr., Bert’s has been in the Dearing family for four generations and is a staple in the Eastern Market community. And while Bert’s popular, multifaceted businesses keep them busy, CEO Jai-Lee Dearing said they simply could not pass up the opportunity to come to Comerica Park.
“When I got the call about bringing Bert’s to Tigers games, it was very exciting – I had butterflies! Being in the ballpark is such a great experience and we’ve had so much support from people,” said Dearing. “Folks know and trust the name Bert’s for value and quality, so it just fits that they can relax and enjoy our food while they’re watching America’s favorite pastime.”
In addition to connecting with longtime Bert’s patrons in a new location, the presence at Comerica Park allowed Bert’s to reach new customers and support other local suppliers in the process. The gameday menu features traditional barbecue classics such as ribs, burgers and Kick’n Chicken Sausage from Detroit brand Safari Meats. “It is important to take this opportunity to support another African-American owned business and introduce people to a product they may not otherwise know about,” said Dearing.
Comerica Park guests have enthusiastically welcomed Bert’s, with people lined up to get a taste of their food and interact with the friendly and engaging staff. “I think it’s amazing that the Tigers and Comerica Park are supporting local businesses,” said Laura Tokie, a lifelong Tigers fan from Ortonville, Michigan. “It’s great they are offering variety, and I hope they keep doing this!”
The Bert’s presence at Comerica Park is part of a dedicated effort to support Detroit-based, minority-owned businesses through various activations in The District Detroit.
“Providing businesses like Bert’s – gems in our community with an important history in the city – access to thousands of hungry Tigers fans is an opportunity that we’re proud to offer,” said Chris McGowan, President and CEO of Ilitch Sports + Entertainment. “And Comerica Park guests are delighted to connect with iconic Detroit brands while they’re here for a game.”
“Economic Inclusion is a critical element in our efforts to be leaders in purpose driven real estate development. Partnering with these outstanding businesses is yet another way to show our support, grow their bottom lines, and connect them with our amazing fans. I could not be more proud of this series!” said Rian Barnhill, Vice President of government and community affairs of Olympia Development.
In partnership with Delaware North, which operates concessions at Comerica Park, there are plans to welcome several other black-owned businesses throughout the season including local favorite Shell Shock’d Tacos, which has already been at recent Tigers home games, and upcoming pop-ups from Breadless and YumVillage.
“As we continue to develop The District Detroit, one of our core values is to create an inclusive environment,” said Keith Bradford, President of Olympia Development and The District Detroit. “We are excited to build meaningful, long-lasting relationships with Detroit businesses and at the same time provide our fans a taste of Detroit.”