Restaurateur Marc Djozlija of Wright & Co. - Biography

Detroit, MI

September 2016

As a high school junior and senior in Detroit, Marc Djozlija spent three hours of every school day in elective cooking classes. It was time well spent. Djozlija graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, and eventually joined up with Wolfgang Puck. In 20 years, he opened eight restaurants for Puck, including the first on the East Coast.

While opening Wolfgang Puck Steak and Pizzeria & Cucina at the MGM Grand back in Detroit, Djozlija’s career took a turn. He saw a city—his hometown—in the midst of a major transition and wanted to help make it a renaissance, rather than a decline. Djozlija and business partner Dave Kwiatkowski opened Wright & Company, a restaurant serving American small plates and craft cocktails. It was summer 2014, and, in their corner of downtown, there were virtually no businesses, no foot traffic, and the traffic lights weren’t functioning.

Following the “if you build it, they will come” model, downtown is now verging on vibrant and growing. And so is Djozlija’s and Kwiatkowski’s restaurant group, Detroit Optimist Society, which has since added CafĂ© 78, The Peterboro, and Honest John’s. In 2015, Djozlija was nominated for “Best Chef: Great Lakes” by the James Beard Foundation.