Moving back to Michigan in 1980, Matt Prentice found a shuttered deli he could afford to reopen, a new reason to think he might yet become a restaurateur, and an economic climate that puts the area’s present malaise in perspective. “We were in the worst part of a Michigan recession; it was really ugly,” recalls Prentice, a Culinary Institute of America dropout, whose Matt Prentice Restaurant Group now extends from the fine-dining Coach Insignia to two delis, including the one he ...

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