Toni Wisne may be many things to many people, but to Visionalist Entertainment Productions, she’s deux ex machina. For those without a dramatic flair, deux is a theatrical term used to describe an unexpected savior who appears at the eleventh hour to resolve an apparently unresolveable dilemma.
Such as filming in Poland.
Wisne, owner and president of Detroit’s Epoch Restaurant Group, stepped in to sponsor ‘Our Polish Story’ and as a result, allowed the crew to return with Zofia Szostak to Poland in what is the show’s visual and cultural pivot on which the multitude of Detroit sequences will balance. Without Poland, ‘Our Polish Story’ is an intriguing, but awfully homespun view of Detroit Polonia. With Poland included, all the attitudes, traditions, nostalgia and personality quirks we discovered from Hamtramck to Wyandotte, Troy to West Bloomfield, are explainable. Poland blows away the haze, puts focus on the narratives, illuminates the memories in technicolor. Sure, ‘Our Polish Story’ is about Polish Detroit—but without Krakow, Warsaw, Lublin, Bochnia et al., there is no Polish Detroit.
Toni Wisne clearly has a theatrical flair herself, as evidenced by her flagship restaurant Tribute, which is as dramatically different from any other fine dining restaurant in town as day from night. A consistent winner of architectural and design awards as well as maintaining a reputation for cutting edge culinary innovation, the critical acclaim for Tribute is deservedly global.
Originally scheduled to travel with us (and in the course of the trip, to visit some of her own ancestral landmarks along with her Polish American husband Steve Sabina), business demands made that reality impossible. Alas for that. Wisne’s family name is Wisniewski, by the way.
Ceil Jensen, the Certified Genealogist who has been invaluable throughout this project, was kind enough to work up a dossier of documents for both Toni and Steve in anticipation of that trip. Ceil’s remarkable research unearthed a trove of information on Toni and Steve’s backgrounds, including pedigree charts for both families, naturalization papers, draft registrations, census data as far back as 1920 with addresses and death certificates for numerous ancestors from both family trees.
Armed with this, we anticipate that Toni and Steve will ultimately make the trip back to the Motherland—they’ll have to; and now, we can offer them a couple of travel tips along the way.
Until then, to Toni and Steve, a heartfelt Dziynkuja
Which even if you have no theatrical flair whatsoever, still means thanks.