Opinion – Daily Detroit http://www.dailydetroit.com What To Know And Where To Go In Metro Detroit Fri, 16 Feb 2018 12:04:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 Dear Ilitches: Nobody Moves To Detroit For The Surface Parking Lots http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/02/dear-ilitches-nobody-moves-detroit-surface-parking-lots/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/02/02/dear-ilitches-nobody-moves-detroit-surface-parking-lots/#respond Fri, 02 Feb 2018 22:17:58 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40701 When it comes to planning our city, we had hoped developers might have learned a lesson after the demolition spree of the last few decades, where building after building was torn down for surface parking lots.

After all, Dan Gilbert (and a host of other developers, large and small) have clearly shown that people want to be part of re-using historic structures, whether for locating their office there or making the place their new home.

It seems that message hasn’t made it to the offices of the Ilitch family, which has been around plenty long enough and should have figured it out by now.

This is raised again as there is the real prospect of the demolition of some of the few historic buildings we have left in the core of the city.

Two of the properties are an old car dealership at Charlotte and Woodward and an apartment building on Peterboro.

Shipping container food court on Peterboro.

Across the street from the Peterboro property, a new food court in shipping containers is going in as well as there are signs of retail and restaurant life on nearby Cass.

On Woodward, the old car dealership is among the last buildings of older architecture before you get to Little Caesars Arena.

Let’s set aside any political disagreements you may or may not have with the organizations, and focus on culture. Gilbert’s crew and the Ilitch organization found success in different ways.

Bedrock’s real estate arm prides itself on trying to create unique experiences. Quicken Loans, the engine of the money to pay for all of their projects, is now the largest mortgage lender in the country. To get people to spend thousands and thousands of dollars in the very personal transaction of buying a home, you have to build some sort of trust. They publicly talk about their “isms.”

The Ilitch family, on the other hand, has basically the same core product across the world. It’s a franchise organization that prides itself on a product that costs just $5. They’ve built their fortune occupying strip malls across the country where, for the business to make it, everything has to be the same and parking has to be plentiful. Nothing can cost too much as the margins are razor thin.

When it comes to development, it’s time for a culture change at the Ilitch organization. There have been some notable exceptions, but it feels like the default there is to demolish it. To create the lowest-cost development with the highest return, just like the business model for their pizza.

What Olympia Development has done and continues to do in the lively heart of the city is akin to eating a high-cholesterol diet without exercise: Take the high profits from a parking lot with the lowest taxable value, then do almost nothing to the property.

For too long we’ve defined progress in downtown Detroit through a narrow focus on sporting events and concerts instead of creating 24-7 vibrant neighborhoods with amenities that draw residents and visitors.

But since the conversation online is dominated by people who don’t live in the city, there’s this belief that everything’s fine. That we should be thankful for whatever we get and not ask questions.

You can be appreciative of investment but also fight for your community. That’s part of the natural give and take that makes for a better project in the end.

Back to our old car dealership and apartment building.

Take a look at the Woodstock Apartments. It’s the kind of place where people in other cities would love to live. We showed you pictures from today. Here’s a picture from their heyday. This can be again. Who wouldn’t want to live there?

And this former dealership at Woodward and Charlotte is gorgeous. We hope we can meet there for a drink one day.

Sure, we love old buildings. They’re worth saving for a lot of reasons. But we get business is business, so we’ll make another argument.

It’s sad for the entire community the Ilitches clearly don’t see the potential in what they already own.

Their actions make it seem like the organization, even under newer, younger leadership, doesn’t yet get why Detroit is cool to the nation again.

The “energy” of the city isn’t fueled by ample parking on vast surface lots. That’s what people are moving away from.

What makes a city like ours magical, in part, are the connections. Connections to each other. Connections to our work. Connections to our friends. And connections to our past.

Treating Detroit as a community and not just as a playground for visitors can and should be done. We don’t have to let the mistakes of the past define our future. The money is there. All it takes is will and vision — and maybe a little public pressure.

If an older building is limited in size or scope, maybe you incorporate new and old. You only have to look at the plans for the Soap Stone building on Detroit’s riverfront to get an idea.

If you’re passionate about this topic, there’s a protest happening tomorrow (Saturday) at 2 p.m. The information is here.

Detroit’s future is still in flux, but could be very bright. As residents, let’s demand the sun come out.

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Why I Think Going To A Chef’s Table Is Totally Worth It http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/27/think-going-chefs-table-totally-worth/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/27/think-going-chefs-table-totally-worth/#respond Sun, 28 Jan 2018 02:02:38 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40510 It’s no question that the Apparatus Room has become a very popular destination for diners looking for an upscale dining experience.

It is one of my favorite recommendations when people ask me where to go for a nice meal.

Executive Chef Thomas Lents has created a great menu that is great for people with a variety of tastes.

But if you really want to get to know Chef Lents personal aesthetic when it comes to cooking, you need to pony up the money for an evening at his Chef’s Table.

I’m not going to lie. It costs a pretty penny at $175 per person plus an extra $95 if you want to add the wine pairing.

Some people might think that it is frivolous, but if you are a foodie or love to eat this is one of those things that you need to experience at least once.

Put it in the same bucket as going on a fancy staycation or a weekend in another town. It’s dinner as a show.

So, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to dine at the Chef’s Table overlooking the Apparatus Room inside the Foundation Hotel.

It was exquisite.

It wasn’t just the food. Of course the food was amazing and the wine parings were great. But my favorite part of the evening was the stories behind the food.

With each course Chef Lents let us in on his thoughts about food sustainability, preparation, and cultivating relationships with people in the food business. You could feel the passion he had for food.

Bluefin tuna, kohlrabi with tomato ponzu

We learned why he swore he would never serve bluefin tuna again because it was over fished. But now someone has found a way to breed wild tuna, so he puts his name into a lottery each week to try and get it.

Or about how the butter he paired with the freshly milled whole wheat sourdough that came from a creamery in France. The butter is hand turned, and Chef Lents thinks this is the best butter in the world.

I’m not sure about that, but the gentleman across the table from me was eating it straight after each course.

I digress.

Chef Lents portioning the dover sole.

Beyond learning the story behind each dish you also get to watch Chef Lents prepare and plate the dishes. I was seated right next to the small kitchen, so I got to get up close and personal with the dover sole.

Going to the Chef’s Table also gives you an opportunity to get to dine with people you might not have ever met before.

The couple who was seated across from us were from Ann Arbor. They were young and hip and liked coming to the city to see all of the new things that are going on here. We talked about how much we like Bad Luck Bar.

There were also two couples down at the other end of the table that found a common thread because they were from Grosse Pointe. I was at the other end of the table so it would have been rude to shout “Hey, I’m a Blue Devil too!”

At the end of the evening each couple was presented with a gift bag with a loaf of the bread from the beginning of the meal and signed menus from Chef Lents.

The Chef’s Table at Apparatus Room is one of those things where I would save up my pennies to go to again.

The Chef’s Table occurs on Friday and Saturday nights at 6:00 p.m.

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If Oakland And Macomb Counties Don’t Want The Benefits Of Mass Transit, Forget’em http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/24/oakland-macomb-counties-dont-want-benefits-mass-transit-forgetem/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/24/oakland-macomb-counties-dont-want-benefits-mass-transit-forgetem/#respond Wed, 24 Jan 2018 17:24:27 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40614 The ongoing saga of regional transit negotiations is like watching a friend tragically go after dating someone they really, really like – but the person that’s the target of their affection just isn’t interested.

The reality is a four county transit solution isn’t politically workable here. We should accept that and like Indianapolis, an Amazon top 20 city, move on.

One of the things that was surprising on our most recent Daily Detroit Happy Hour podcast was that Indianapolis was a top 20 city when Detroit was not.

So we did some digging.

Rendering of an Indy BRT station.

Indianapolis is underway with improvements including 50 miles of Bus Rapid Transit (across 3 lines!) and a 70 percent increase in short haul bus service. They focused their efforts on Marion County, and although it’s not done, it’s funded. They’re stepping forward.

Meanwhile, Metro Detroit is basically stalled. There are early signs with a FAST bus route that hold promise, and the QLINE putters down Woodward.

What did Indy do? They kept it simple. Yes, the goal is to spread to more counties. But they got started with their transit. And we should do the same.

We’ve tried time after time after time after time. County Executives Mark Hackel in Macomb and L. Brooks Patterson in Oakland have been less than good faith negotiators around the topic. It’s spineless to negotiate a deal, push hard for drastic changes, get those changes, and then not publicly back the deal.

We need to be honest with ourselves and realize that with their competency and ability to push things through, if Hackel and Patterson were actually invested in mass transit it would have already been done. Supporters of transit in those counties need to remember this is a representative democracy and their leadership DOES speak for them, and if they don’t like it, they should work to make them pay where it counts — at the ballot box.

If Wayne and Washtenaw counties make their own backbone transit system happen, the businesses will move. The people will move, and new people will move in.

When it comes to talent and retention, Metro Detroit didn’t make the cut in the Amazon bid. Even outside of the Amazon bid, anyone who is honest about the conversation knows we don’t make the cut.

A transit system connecting the two most dynamic areas of the region will bring more people and more investment.

The world has changed in the last 25 years. One of the reasons why Midtown (and greater downtown) in Detroit is so hot is because it’s the closest thing that Metro Detroit has to a true urban area.

Those neighborhoods are attracting huge amounts of investment, in part, because they’re not like most of Metro Detroit. We’ve interviewed developers who have stopped almost all new development in the suburbs because of these changing demographics and tastes, focusing on cities.

Even if we connected the city of Detroit with places like Dearborn and Grosse Pointe and Canton and Wyandotte and Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, that’s a good thing. Maybe if it’s connected with proper Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail, you’ll see places like Highland Park come alive.

No, a two-county system isn’t going to connect everything it should, but it will connect more than we have. It’s a step forward, and sometimes you have to walk before you run.

And when this plan is successful, the rest will fall into place. When the suburban detractors, worried about hyper-low taxes and others coming into their cities see their property values drop, and drop hard, they’ll change their tune. There’s a reason Royal Oak is looking at their own city bus system. Their leadership has to know what’s around the corner and that they could get left behind.

But we can’t afford to wait another four or eight years. Detroit’s moment is now. We have to back up our ideas with dollars.

We also have the opportunity to it better than anyone else, using our unique skills.

Ford and GM say they’re a mobility companies now. They’d both be served by a Wayne/Washtenaw transit deal. What if they got involved  to remake the future of transit and mobility that sets them up for future success and benefit our citizens?

What if Dan Gilbert played hardball and decided that he’s going to incentivize his new employees to live inside the new transit zone?

Maybe that’s an out of the box idea, but I’ll take that over our leaders who seem permanently unable to come to agreement like some buddy film featuring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

I’ll leave it to your imagination to pick who’s Walter and who’s Jack on this issue.

We seem to have no problem spending millions on economic incentives on a regular basis in Detroit and in Michigan. And we seem to clearly have the votes, vision and will in Wayne and Washtenaw Counties.

The time for talking is over. Get it done with people who get it, and ignore the people who don’t.

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Royal Oak Is Looking At Starting Their Own City Bus Service. Is This A Good Idea? http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/17/royal-oak-looking-starting-city-bus-service-good-idea/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2018/01/17/royal-oak-looking-starting-city-bus-service-good-idea/#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 16:02:11 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40494 There is currently a task force studying whether or not Royal Oak should create it’s own bus system.

Yes, you read that right.

Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier has appointed a seven person task force to see if Royal Oak should create a stand alone bus service.

According to an article on the Daily Tribune there will be a public meeting on Wednesday, January 17 to discuss the transportation needs of Royal Oak residents.

When I first read this my eye twitch returned.

Do we not already have a suburban bus service? I mean, SMART does stand for Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, right? As opposed to duplicating service, why wouldn’t, if they’re willing to pay for it, enhanced service be created as opposed to a whole new organization?

The main argument is that transit riders who live at 13 Mile and Main Street would be better served by this smaller  Royal Oak-only service instead of SMART.

I understand that not everyone lives right next to a bus line and sometimes you have to walk a few blocks to get to a bus stop. And sometimes you need to transfer to a different bus line. This is the way public transportation works.

The proposed bus service could between $2 million and $6.6 million to operate yearly. The yearly budget would depend on the number of buses needed and the frequency of each bus, and the buses would be smaller than the usual bus.

This standalone bus service is still a long way from actually becoming a reality. Royal Oak officials won’t decide about starting up the service and putting a millage request out to voters until after the task force comes back with their findings.

I know that the metro Detroit public transportation system leaves much to be desired, but they’re working on it. The recent addition of the FAST Service is a good step.

I personally think that creating a separate service for Royal Oak would be a disservice to not only to the residents of Royal Oak but to the entire region. We as a region don’t need yet another agency, we need communication and figuring out how to make transit work better as a whole.

The public meeting will take place on Wednesday, January 17 at 7:00 p.m at the Salter Community Center, 1545 E. Lincoln Avenue.

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There Aren’t Two Detroits. But There Are Two Metro Detroits. http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/13/arent-two-detroits-two-metro-detroits/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/13/arent-two-detroits-two-metro-detroits/#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:18:45 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=40093 Over the past few years we’ve noticed that there is a severe cultural disconnect in metro Detroit.

Before you say “oh, another city vs. suburbs rant!” let’s be clear: It’s way more complicated than just city vs. suburb. Or black vs. white.

This cultural divide doesn’t respect city boundaries. Sure, there’s a geographic element to it, but it’s also tied to family and life experiences. We live in silos. We have a lack of shared experiences and empathy.

You could live in, say, Harrison Township or Canton or Auburn Hills but still be somewhat aware of what’s happening around town, if you choose to be.

Metro Detroit’s conversation stalls because it so often lacks context and true civic pride beyond wearing an old english “D” around.

This is borne out again and again in issue after issue, where the community conversation turns into a shouting match of what “they” (insert “they” of the day) should do to fix it “themselves.”

As long as we define everyone as “they” instead of “us,” it’s a soulless conversation. We’re not dealing with each other as humans. We need more empathy and commonality.

We need to break down the virtual walls that keep us apart — whether it’s city and suburb, or in some cases, suburb to suburb.

The problem, in large part, is our cultural disconnection.

Here are a few tiny examples, but indicative of the last year.

Geographically, this cultural line seems to roughly sit somewhere a bit north of I-696, with of course individual exceptions depending on family and life experiences on either side. There’s also a western boundary, but we haven’t found it quite yet. Maybe I-275? Would be interested to hear your thoughts.

In the outer exurb lands, when we do stories, when we visit family — there’s a feeling that “Detroit = Lions, Tigers, Vernors and Crime, Oh My!”

Little depth of knowledge. No context. Little awareness of anything going on. Just… what they saw in some media cesspool, or maybe what Dan Gilbert or Mike Ilitch is doing. Maybe. Metro Detroit is so much more than that.

We are coming to the realization — and this particular issue isn’t just about race, to be clear — that we are truly culturally divided. It’s not a city vs. suburb divide. It’s an experience and lifestyle divide.

That has a lot of impacts in a lot of different ways. Transit. Investment. Incentives. Jobs. Infrastructure. People choosing to stay in our region.

As a region, metro Detroit has roughly the same amount of people living here that we did in the 1960s. Meanwhile, the rest of the country has grown like gangbusters.

We’re staying the same and falling behind.

There’s important work to be done around this. Work that will transform this region in a positive way and help everyone.

Instead of focusing on trying to take pieces of the proverbial pie from each other, we need to bake more pie.

Thing is, the power to change this lies in all our hands. We are better than this.. If we choose to be. The future of our region depends on it.

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Peek Inside Founders, Detroit’s Newest Destination Bar http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/01/peek-inside-founders-detroits-newest-destination-bar/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/12/01/peek-inside-founders-detroits-newest-destination-bar/#respond Fri, 01 Dec 2017 21:29:37 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=39954 To say that there has been a lot of buzz around the new Founders in Midtown is an understatement.

National publications have been picking it up, one positioning it the anchor of Detroit as America’s next beer city, as well as every outlet in town.

Today, I got a chance to take a peek inside of the 14,000 square foot space before the doors swing open to the public at 3 p.m. on Monday.

You’ll also get a look at the price points, as the menus are below.

And as far as a brewery goes, Founders in Midtown has all the things.

Patio with fire pits? Check.

Large garage doors that can open in warm weather to expand the space? Check.

Chalkboard menu? Check.

A variety of snacks including pretzels ($8.25 for pretzel + cheese dip)? Check.

Barrels on the wall as decor? Check.

A back bar for special events without having to shut the whole thing down? Check.

Kegs as decor? Check.

Gift shop? Check.

On-site brewing? Check.

Helpful staff and a selection of sandwiches? Check. Die-hard fans should note that there isn’t the pizza or soup there is at the Grand Rapids location.

On the score sheet, this place checks almost all of the boxes.

The beer is the star, of course. Whether you’re into the 11.5% ABV Barrel-Aged Sumatra Mount Brown, a Breakfast Stout, or an All Day IPA. Just as a note for when you’re going out, as you might expect at a place like this, there is only beer. No liquor. No wine.


It’s clear this space will be a destination, and that’s why the folks at Midtown Inc. and others worked so hard to get it here.

The Founders brand is powerful, and so is the beer. It is attractive and will be loved by Red Wings and Pistons fans coming down to the game, or as part of a nice night out.

But me, personally? I can’t tell you that I immediately fell in love with the space, and I can’t exactly tell you why. It’s pretty. And it’s wonderful they rehabbed this old building.

But having a beer in the space this afternoon, I felt no soul in these dancing shoes. Not yet, anyway.

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In Competitive Downtown Restaurant Market, Red Corridor And La Dulce Restaurants Are No More http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/11/27/competitive-downtown-restaurant-market-red-corridor-la-dulce-restaurants-no/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/11/27/competitive-downtown-restaurant-market-red-corridor-la-dulce-restaurants-no/#respond Mon, 27 Nov 2017 16:13:46 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=39811 Despite being a “hot” scene, opening a restaurant in greater downtown Detroit is not a guarantor of success.

Two restaurants have fallen in the last week.


Last night, Red Corridor announced on Facebook that they’re closing after a year.

The Metro Times reported their hellacious customer service interactions online. In a market with a lot of options, that could have been the beginning of the end on a place that, if we’re being honest having gone there a couple times as a local wasn’t worth writing home — or on this site — about.

The exterior signage looked out of place, like a touch of suburban strip mall in Corktown. More importantly, their food never made a splash in multiple visits.

Also over the weekend, as reported by the Freep, La Dulce who had left their popular spot in Royal Oak went to a space in downtown Detroit that seems to be the kiss of death for dining, the bottom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

It seems from reports they (forgive the pun) bit off more than they could chew with space.

But there’s a few reasons, at least in our opinion, places keep failing there.

You can’t really walk to it from anything easily. The patio isn’t that inviting in the summer because it looks out on multiple lanes of roadway and is noisy. After all, nothing says romance like the sound of constant high-speed traffic.

If the hotel wants to rehab that space, they need a rethink. Maybe they should pull a few pages from City Planning Director Maurice Cox’s playbook before they put something else there. Maybe flip the main entrance of the space off of Jefferson toward Larned, which would put it in direct view of The Foundation Hotel and Apparatus Room to create a more cohesive street.


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For Detroit City Clerk, Garlin Gilchrist Is The Clear Choice http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/11/02/detroit-city-clerk-garlin-gilchrist-clear-choice/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/11/02/detroit-city-clerk-garlin-gilchrist-clear-choice/#respond Thu, 02 Nov 2017 19:22:40 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=39331 The city clerk race has become interesting this year. It’s usually a sleeper with candidates nobody really cares about.

But between issues around the last general election and a dynamic figure appearing on the stage, it’s been something to watch and research.

Gilchrist II may have been an unknown figure to most media, but he was known to us. Before he was running for anything (or we knew he was running for anything), he stopped by our Daily Detroit Happy Hour Podcast to talk about Detroit technology.

When he announced he was running for City Clerk, we were initially skeptical. This is a town that historically has gone for name recognition above almost all else.

After he defeated Heaster Wheeler, a long-time operator in the Detroit scene with more name recognition in the primary, Gilchrist II deserved a closer look — especially after what happened in the last general election.

On a personal level, two of our Detroit resident team members had bad voting experiences.

In the case of one, the poll workers clearly weren’t trained. The line was long while they got their stuff together, and the mechanical issues were so bad the vote was dropped in another box.

Sure, the mechanical issues could have been explained away with new gear. But the poll workers didn’t know how to deal with it.

They just stared at it like it was some sort of magic box. This doesn’t build trust, and then were clearly “well, maybe we’ll do this…” which is problem solving — but they should immediately know what to do if there’s a problem.

Beyond that, the most recent presidential election had issues with the ballot boxes not being able to recounted. Poll workers got the number of people who voted wrong. 60 percent of precincts could not be recounted due to this human error and two thirds had more votes than voters.

It was not fraud, but it was a sign of incompetence and poor training. And that isn’t the equipment. That’s the process. We believe the current City Clerk, Janice Winfrey, owns the responsibility for that poor process.

Not to mention, Detroit continues to be slow in reporting election results. Winfrey has been in the office since 2005.

We also despise the long-standing practice of using city dollars to pay for informational billboards to plaster “So and so, City Clerk” (or any office, for that matter) all over town.

We hope Garlin Gilchrist II, who has made this somewhat of an issue in the campaign, steps up and doesn’t do this himself. Also, that the practice is ended across all offices for billboards paid for by taxpayers.

Admittedly, Gilchrist II is on the younger side at 34 when seeking this office. But his technical experience with the Obama campaign, as National Campaign Director for MoveOn.org, and Director of Technology for the City of Detroit, show that he actually understands what’s going on.

Garlin Gilchrist II has the potential of being the kind of leader that embodies the future of Detroit that we want to see. Our city, standing tall.

And so we believe Garlin Gilchrist II is the best choice for Detroit City Clerk.

Although we have an opinion, we encourage you to do your own research. Here are some resources:

Debate on WDIV: https://www.clickondetroit.com/flashpoint/-detroit-city-clerk-candidates-janice-winfrey-and-garlin-gilchrist-debate

Janice Winfrey Campaign Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janicewinfreycityclerk/

Janice Winfrey Campaign Website: http://janice4thewin.com/

Janice Winfrey Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Janice_Winfrey

Garlin Gilchrist II Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gilchristforcityclerk/

Garlin Gilchrist II Campaign Website: https://www.gilchristforcityclerk.com/

Garlin Gilchrist II Ballotpedia: https://ballotpedia.org/Garlin_Gilchrist_II

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OPINION: Banning Billboards In Downtown Detroit Is Ridiculous And The Law Should Change http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/11/01/opinion-banning-billboards-downtown-detroit/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/11/01/opinion-banning-billboards-downtown-detroit/#respond Wed, 01 Nov 2017 20:17:50 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=39322 Active, vibrant cities the world over have billboards and advertisements. But in Detroit, almost all the ones you’ve seen pop up over the last few years? Turns out they’re illegal, according to city code.

And that’s especially ridiculous in Detroit’s core business district.

If you didn’t know, there’s a prohibition in the city of Detroit against large advertising signs, billboards and painted wall graphics basically anywhere from Grand Boulevard to the Detroit River.

Opponents of these big ads talk about them being “a big money business” that “somebody should stop.” In this case, that’s a disturbing point of view.

The signs can bring in revenue, according to folks we talked to, between $5,000 and $11,000 per month, similar to what has been reported elsewhere. That can be a significant source of revenue for building owners, many of remember when nobody wanted to be part of anything Detroit.

Rules like this show that although the city of Detroit has become more business-friendly, it still has a long way to go before resembling a normal environment.

What’s the harm in a giant Andre Drummond being visible on what is otherwise a blank wall? Or a Comcast ad that helps support the work of the Detroit Opera House on a wall that would otherwise be empty?

It’s still not easy to make it financially in Detroit, especially for smaller players.

Not to mention, in the last couple of decades we’ve had a demolition derby where we hit the destruct button on buildings that represent a century’s worth of history. It’s part of why we have a bunch of blank walls that used to be concealed by other buildings.

And now the city government is going to make sure we and our visitors stare at those failures, day after day.

We should put in common sense provisions like a license fee and approval process to make sure guidelines of decency and taste are met. No one is arguing it should be the wild west.

But tasteful signs add to the vibe that this is a bustling downtown and help fill out the streetscape. They help keep the economic engine humming.

The city is supposed to begin enforcing the ban at the end of this year. The city council and the mayor should do fast-track reforms before that happens.

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6 Bars Of The District Detroit & Little Caesars Arena, Ranked http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/10/25/6-bars-district-detroit-ranked/ http://www.dailydetroit.com/2017/10/25/6-bars-district-detroit-ranked/#respond Wed, 25 Oct 2017 16:00:39 +0000 http://www.dailydetroit.com/?p=39225 One of the biggest issues plaguing both Joe Louis Arena and The Palace of Auburn Hills was the lack of quality options for eating and boozing before and after games.

The Palace had well-documented struggles with this issue and the old Joe Louis Arena, while located in downtown Detroit, was nestled in a veritable concrete fortress of freeway ramps and parking structures.

Those issues are a thing of the past with the opening of The District Detroit and its crown jewel, Little Caesars Arena. The area now counts at least a half-dozen bars and restaurants in a few blocks.

With an interesting mix of old standbys and new offerings, this area is becoming a destination on game days and off nights alike.

After visiting each one, what else is there to do then but rank these establishments on a completely arbitrary scale based on my own preferences? Here we go — and feel free to tell me how you’d order them in the comments.

6. District Market Detroit

via Facebook

District Market Detroit is fully capable food court offering a variety of food and beverage options including coffee, beer, and desserts. As with its District siblings it has TVs to watch the game and easy access right into the arena. The problem is it has little else in terms of charm or uniqueness. District Market is simply “there,” which sometimes is all you need.

5. Kid Rock’s Made In Detroit

via Facebook

The atmosphere recalls a Hard Rock Café, if the only musician who ever existed was Kid Rock. I promise I didn’t set out to drop the self-proclaimed “pimp of the nation” to number five on this list, and if you enjoy the man and his music this may be your favorite spot of the bunch. However, evaluating this place objectively, it is decidedly the priciest, whether that be $11 beers or $16 sandwiches. You’ll basically be paying “stadium pricing” for any offering here. There’s a bonus for fans of the Kid — I hear he frequents the establishment and has even been known to play a few impromptu songs for the crowd lucky enough to be there.

4. Temple Bar

Temple Bar Detroit

The longest tenured bar in the area, Temple is THE best place to get cheap drinks and mingle with true locals to the area, most of whom will openly curse the Ilitches and lament the gentrification taking place in their old stomping grounds. Temple is a true dive bar that’s affectionate appeal comes in the interesting conversation and eclectic individuals you’ll meet there.

3. Harry’s Detroit

via Facebook

Harry’s is absolutely a “District Bar” whether they want the moniker or not. Nestled right in the heart of the shining gleaming new offerings, Harry’s has undergone a subtler transformation recently, painting the entire structure black. Inside is the same casual, no frills atmosphere and offerings they have always had. Nothing special to speak of but it is not the $8 Bud Lights and $18 pizzas as some the other new neighbors, which for many old-school patrons is more than enough incentive to go here.

2. Sports & Social Detroit

via Facebook

A quintessential “sports bar” this place has the requisite massive TV’s playing multiple games at a time, a decent menu selection of game day favorites, and a great outdoor bar that becomes a lively spot for drinks and conversation on the weekends and event days. The only downside here is a limited cocktail menu and poor wine selection, but hey if you’re coming here, it should be for the big game and a tall glass of beer.

1. Mike’s Pizza Bar

via Facebook

The eponymously named flagship of The Districts offerings, Mike’s Pizza takes the number on spot on this list because of a more than respectable cocktail and beer menu, and hand tossed pizzas that easily outdo the Hot ‘n Readys that made the Ilitch family a household name.

Mike’s also has a fantastic indoor/outdoor bar area when the weather is reasonable and ample big screen televisions to catch the action going on both inside the stadium and around sports world. To top it off, there’s also live music offerings most weekends just make sure to check their active Facebook page for updates on who’s playing and when.

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