Restaurateur Dave Kwiatkowski of Detroit Optimist Society - Biography

Detroit, MI

September 2016

After graduating from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan in 2000, Dave Kwiatkowski moved to Chicago, where he traded equity options on the Chicago Board Options Exchange. But a trip to New York and a Queens Park Swizzle from Milk & Honey changed everything. The aughts found Dave back in Detroit exploring his other interests—like building motorcycles. The shop he owned with his brothers even spawned a Discovery Channel series, “Motor City Motors,” in 2009. But Kwiatkowski had been bitten by the craft cocktail bug years before, and he realized his dream of opening a craft cocktail bar of his own, The Sugar House, that same year.

With the opening of The Sugar House, Kwiatkowski discovered his deep affection for hospitality. Shortly after, he teamed up with friend and veteran chef Marc Djozlija to open the American small plates restaurant and bar, Wright & Company, in downtown Detroit. The restaurant helped the neighborhood complete the leap from sinking to thriving.  

Kwiatkowski is now a partner in several other properties, including Honest John’s, The Peterboro, CafĂ© 78, the SuperHappySushi pop-up, and most recently, The Bad Luck Bar with Djozlija. Kwiatkowski recently formed Detroit Optimist Society as a parent group to house and to provide financial oversight, as well as marketing and human resource services for his growing family of restaurants.