Hey all - lots to get into. Hope you had a restful holiday.

Two quick housekeeping things.

1 - ICYMI, we have a survey out to improve this newsletter. The feedback has been constructive and useful as I look to do more in 2023. You can take that survey here.

2 - I also learned a large percentage (around 40% so far!) of our newsletter readers did not know we have an all-local daily podcast. That’s on me. I don’t like to be all CLICK MY THING, but I need to be clearer.

Here’s the deal.

We’ve been at it for more than 1,100 episodes. Not a typo. It’s actually what I spend the majority of my workday doing.

Most of the podcast links you see in this newsletter are to our show that I host. We discuss what’s happening in the region and balance that with a bunch of fun along the way often showcasing what this place has to offer.

Truth is most people just don’t read long articles anymore (if they ever did), but they will listen or watch a video. It’s the perfect companion to this newsletter while running errands, when walking the dog, cleaning the house, whatever.

You can follow the Daily Detroit podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or wherever you listen to shows. Just search for Daily Detroit and look for the cover art above.

Let’s get started with the stories.

📰 What to know

» Avalon International Breads is closing their flagship location, and moving inside the Jolly Pumpkin restaurant on the other side of the block.

Opened in 1997, Avalon is one of the trailblazers of the Cass Corridor/Midtown change this generation. They’re going to close January 8 at 422 W. Willis, and reopen inside Jolly Pumpkin at 411 W. Canfield February 14. [Instagram]

This move makes a lot of sense to me, as much as it tugs at my heartstrings with many memories with friends — and the time my now super senior dog decided to introduce herself to people by sitting and trying to politely stare sandwiches into her mouth (it did not work).

Avalon connects with people because of their values and their product. When I interviewed co-founder Jackie Victor awhile ago, she told me that when she opened her landlord and many others strongly pushed for her to put bars on her shop windows.

She refused the bars for a number of reasons — and I think that was smart. It sent a welcoming, open message. It showed she wanted to work with the neighborhood instead of fearing it.

My dad was a Plum Street artist and mom lived in Midtown over the years, and so I’m well aware of where the neighborhood has come from as far as safety and perception.

From a wider perspective, this is another example that smaller spaces are a bigger part of the future of retail and food in this post-pandemic world.

» The “Angel of Jazz” in Detroit, philanthropist and heiress Gretchen Carhartt Valade died on Dec. 30. She was 97 and lived in Grosse Pointe Farms. She saved the Detroit Jazz Festival with her support and was described in many accounts as very generous. Beyond her work with the family business, she also opened Mack Avenue Records (with 11 Grammy wins!) and started the Dirty Dog Jazz Café in Grosse Pointe Farms.

As you can guess by the name, she’s tied to the iconic clothing company that’s still in the region. She was the granddaughter of Carhartt founder Hamilton Carhartt. [WXYZ] [Freep] [Mayor’s statement] [Detnews]

To whom much is given, much is required. And she clearly knew that with her long-time support of music and other works in our area.

» Another public servant falls in the ongoing attempted cleanse of corruption in Metro Detroit. Admitting he stole more than $1.7 million from Wayne County, Kevin Gunn, a former Wayne County Roads Division Manager will face up to nearly six years in federal prison. [Detroit News]

The Bloomfield Hills resident is one of more than 100 people charged in recent years for various sorts of grift across southeast Michigan, and the Eastern District of Michigan continues to be the most active for corruption cases in the nation — so I’ve been told.

Gotta sweep out the crooks and change the culture. It’s on us voters to be sure to look into people running for office and not settle for best of the worst.

» The Hudson Cafe on Woodward is remodeling after 11 years in business in downtown Detroit. The popular brunch spot will close temporarily January 22, and a timeline for the work hasn’t been announced. They recently opened a location in Northville at 6 Mile and Haggerty if you still need your fix. [Instagram]

This is the right time to do it as this is historically the doldrums of the restaurant season in Detroit and the auto show has moved dates so that mid-winter boost is gone. Plus, the Hudson’s site construction across the street is humming along and it should be closer to done by the time they reopen.

» The old Lelli’s Inn restaurant site on Woodward north of Grand Boulevard has been sold to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s slated to become a Fisher House, where families of veterans can stay while their loved one is in the hospital. More details are at [Crain’s Detroit Business] so I won’t repeat them.

The issue from some community advocates is the design of the building, and if it fits into the plans for the future of Woodward and the North End neighborhood.

They’re good with what the project does, who it serves and the location — but if we’re going to make these big community plans with resident input and not stick anywhere close to them, what’s the point?

Detroiter Francis Grunow shared this with me:

This project is not consistent with the Traditional Main Street Overlay that runs the length of Woodward. New development must be built to the street to encourage pedestrian activity. It needs to be completely redesigned.

Critics say that it looks like a suburban funeral home, and doesn’t fit. You be the judge.

Here’s a picture of the Ann Arbor location, which is similar to the low resolution renderings I’ve seen of the Woodward and Bethune location.

I know Lelli’s is a favorite of some of our readers who’ve been around while. Opened at this North End location in 1939, it’s in Auburn Hills now and is (arguably) the creator of zip sauce. The original Lelli’s burned in 2000.

» Chazzano Coffee Roasters has opened their new Berkley location. They’re now located on 12 Mile, just west of Coolidge. They had been in Ferndale for 13 years.  For now their hours are 10a-4p, Monday through Friday. [Website]

» What are the Detroit Public Library’s most checked out books from 2022? Mysteries lead the way. [Michigan Radio]

» A new generation has discovered Detroit-style roller skating. [NPR]

» The TV news world in Metro Detroit is about to get a bit more crowded. WWJ-TV is entering the fray with CBS News Detroit sometime in January. Reports say they’ll have a streaming-first mentality and linear newscasts at 4, 5, 6 and 11 p.m. weekdays, as well as morning news in the coming months. [Next TV]

» People continue to move out of Michigan. 58% of moves were outbound, compared to 42% inbound, says United Van Lines in a new study. We’re ranked 4th in the nation for most moving out. Age groups where the most imbalance was for those leaving were 18-34 and those 55 to 64. On the flip side, those 35-44 have more people moving in than out, but it still results in a major negative overall. [United Van Lines]

Michigan’s population continues to drop slightly, a trend that worries economists. [Bridge Michigan]

⚽️ Le Rouge Report

» Legendary goalkeeper Nate Steinwascher is returning next year with an option for a second. The Black Arrow MVP has been crucial to the squad since he first appeared in 2016. [DCFC]

» Deklan Wynne is gone, headed to Charleston Battery for a more attacking style of offense and to play on grass instead of turf. What smarts for fans is he’s going to play for former Detroit City coach Ben Pirmann, who went to Charleston after a decently successful run at Memphis 901.

» Scottish player-coach Richard Foster has hung up his boots and is retiring as a player. He’s also hosting a new weekly show on BBC Sport Scotland called “The VARdict.” [Richard Foster] [BBC]

» The season openers have been announced. The 2023 USL Championship campaign will start on the road for Le Rouge March 11 against San Diego Loyal. It’ll be the first time the two teams have played. The home opener is against Indy Eleven on March 25. [DCFC]

🎧 On the podcast

» What are some bold predictions for 2023? Me and Devon hopped on the podcast and talked about it - as well as wishes for things we should leave behind in 2022.

» This is one of the biggest couple of weeks in Detroit sports in awhile. Whether it’s the real shot the Lions have at the playoffs, the Michigan loss against TCU and questions about Jim Harbaugh’s future, the Detroit City FC news or echoes of Damar Hamlin, there’s a lot to process. Fletcher Sharpe joined me to do just that.

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Until next time, remember that you are somebody and I’ll see you around Detroit.


p.s. - I’m working on a piece for Detroit Public TV later this week. I’ll be sure to tell you when it will air. Also, if you’re going to the Detroit Policy Conference next week, come say hi. We’ll have our mobile podcast studio there.

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