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Kind of a big Dill: Motor City Match winner celebrates opening of restaurant encouraging sandwich lovers to drop the bread and pick up a pickle instead

Apr 13, 2023

  • What’s The Dill, a carryout restaurant in the University District, specializes in making deli sandwiches wrapped in pickles instead of bread
  • The restaurant’s vegan sandwiches will soon be available for purchase at Meijer’s Detroit locations on 8 Mile Rd. and E. Jefferson
  • The community-driven establishment plans to host food and clothing distribution drives for residents
  • Motor City Match has awarded $11.4M in cash grants, 84% of winners are minority-owned businesses and 74% are women-owned
  • What’s The Dill is the 147th brick-and-mortar business opened by Motor City Match

April 13, 2023 (DETROIT) – A Motor City Match winner is putting a new and refreshing twist on breadless sandwiches. What’s The Dill, located in the University District, specializes in making delicious deli sandwiches wrapped in pickles instead of traditional bread. Restaurant owners and married couple Leona and Kenny Milton were joined by Mayor Mike Duggan and city leaders today during a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate their restaurant’s opening, marking the 147th Motor City Match business to open in the city of Detroit.

What’s The Dill is the brainchild of Mrs. Milton, who has been wrapping her sandwiches in crunchy, tangy pickles for over a decade due to personal dietary restrictions. But during the pandemic, she decided to leave her 20-year career as a pharmacy technician and commit fully to opening a restaurant.

“We take pride in offering our customers a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. That’s why we’re constantly adding new and exciting items to our menu, so there’s always something new to try,” said Mrs. Milton, noting that one new breadless sandwich will be added every month to their menu.

Guests can expect to indulge in various delicious and healthy options, including their famous pickle sandwiches stuffed with fresh veggies and meats ranging from corned beef to crab. The menu also features deli sandwiches wrapped with bell peppers and tomatoes as well as Kool-Aid pickles – a wacky yet tasty flavor combination. The range of offerings makes it the perfect grab-and-go spot for a quick lunch, casual dinner, or even a sweet treat.

Soon, customers can grab select sandwiches from national grocery chain Meijer. The Miltons said their jackfruit and veggie sandwiches will be available at Meijer’s Detroit locations on 8 Mile and East Jefferson.”Being a vendor for Meijer is a dream come true for me,” said Mrs. Milton. “It’s a great opportunity to showcase our products to a wider audience and take our business to the next level.”

The Miltons’ commitment to the local community is as exceptional as the quality of their food. Over the winter holidays, they provided a food giveaway for residents in their parking lot. The Miltons say it was the first of many community events to provide residents with essential resources.

“What’s The Dill is a great example of how someone can take an expertise they developed for their own lifestyle and turn it into a business with the help of Motor City Match,” said Mayor Duggan. “Now, the whole community can enjoy Leona and Kenny’s delicious breadless sandwiches as they experience the Livernois-McNichols corridor the Miltons also are helping to revitalize.”

The restaurant, located at 4088 W. McNichols Rd, is open seven days a week, with varying hours of operation. The Miltons received a $25,000 grant from Motor City Match to support building renovations.

“The Miltons not only deliver great food but also contributes to the betterment of the local community,” said Sean Gray, vice president of Small Business Services at the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which manages the Motor City Match program. “They are a testament to how small businesses can make a difference and positively impact the lives of those around them.”

After 21 rounds, Motor City Match has distributed $11.4 million in grants for start-ups and new businesses located throughout the city of Detroit. Through the pipeline of resources provided by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s small business teams, more than 1,600 businesses have received assistance along their journey to open their doors. This is all part of the organization’s greater goal to enhance the city’s economic development and beautify its commercial corridors.

Motor City Match continues to grow Detroit’s small-business landscape.
Combined with its other small business programming, DEGC is creating a sustainable small business environment that nurtures new concepts and ideas. Motor City Match offers business owners a wide range of assistance in five tracks: Plan, Develop, Design, Cash and Restore. The program helps Detroit entrepreneurs plan, formalize, launch, and grow their business by providing business planning classes, site-selection assistance, financial planning, legal aid, design services, and gap funding.

Through 21 rounds of Motor City Match:

  • Total cash grants: $11.4 million (Total leveraged investment: $61.6 million)
  • Total business open: 147
  • 84 percent are minority-owned businesses
  • 74 percent are women-owned businesses
  • 69 percent are businesses owned by Detroit residents

About Motor City Match

Motor City Match is a unique partnership between the City of Detroit, the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC), the Economic Development Corporation of the City of Detroit (EDC) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Competitive financial assistance is supported by a broad partnership of Southeast Michigan community development financial institutions and corporations including, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, Ford Foundation, Hudson Webber Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, New Economy Initiative, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Motor City Match applications are available quarterly. More information is available at


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