Hey all, it’s Jer.

Downtown Detroit just hasn’t been the same since the pandemic. Office workers have not returned, and the pace of things has changed. The once bustling lunch crowd is mostly gone, and restaurants are now seeing far stronger weekend business than during the week.

On weekends, you can find plenty of people enjoying the town, but some entrepreneurs tell me that it is not enough to make it.

“You can sit on Shelby street and not see a person walk by for 10 minutes in the middle of the day on a Wednesday… we’re hoping that changes,” said one bar and coffeeshop owner I interviewed for a recent piece for Detroit Public TV.

So what to do about it? I talked to three entrepreneurs for Thursday’s edition of One Detroit. Watch below.

If you’re curious, the four businesses we filmed at in this piece:

Central KitchenThe ShelbyCoffee Down UnderThrowbacks Home

🆕 Coming soon

» Food Network star Guy Fieri is opening a Chicken Guy! restaurant location in Livonia this March. The restaurant will be the first location in Michigan, and there are only 10 locations throughout the country. Apparently, the chicken tenders are “brined in fresh lemon juice, pickle brine and buttermilk, and infused with fresh herbs.” [Instagram] [Chicken Guy!]

Although a different concept, I enjoyed Guy’s Downtown Flavortown when I went to Sevierville, TN to get mostly away from civilization last summer (I’m a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fan and this place had his ‘67 Camaro from DDD). I’m curious as there are *so many* chicken joints around now where it’ll fit, but star power can help get people in the door to try it.

» Matt Knio’s Cannelle patisserie will open a fourth location in downtown Farmington. The French-trained chef expects to open the patisserie in April or May this year. [Freep]

» Jade Social, a graphic design studio, will open a location on W. Nine Mile on Tuesday, January 17. [Downtown Ferndale]

» Detroit’s riverfront will be transformed with a 2.5 acre water garden. The Water Garden will be part of the 22 acre Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park. This will be Huron-Clinton Metroparks first location in the city of Detroit. It is expected to open in 2024. [Metro Times]

» Six Spoke Brewery is coming to Corktown, in the same building as Two James Distillery and Cork & Gabel. [Eater Detroit]

We discuss it and more on the Friday episode of the podcast.

» Long-time Midtown restaurant The Whitney is temporarily closed for menu changes and improvements. The restaurant is located in a 119-year-old mansion and expects to re-open this Thursday, January 19. [Freep]

» This week Metro Detroit gets another addition to our Tiki Bar scene: The Eastern Palace Club. [Eater Detroit]

» There’s outside progress at the spot of the demolished Janet’s Lunch in Grosse Pointe Park. The corner of Kercheval and Maryland is going to be home to Brine Oyster House, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant.

» The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn has a mystery on its hands. "Scooby-Doo!™ Mansion Mayhem!" will be an experience for children and adults to help solve a mystery. The immersive exhibit will also allow participants to interact with the Mystery Gang. It opens on February 12 and runs through April 9. [The Henry Ford]

📰 What to know

» If you’ve driven up Woodward past 7 Mile in the last decade-plus, you might have noticed a hulking and empty but oddly new church-looking building. The cathedral project was announced in 2003, and it is still incomplete.

The City of Detroit is cracking down on Pastor Winans of Perfecting Church for two decades of stalled development and blight.

The City recently sent a letter to the church demanding inspection reports and financial records. Original plans were that the 15 acre site would have 70 condos, a 165,000 square ft. church, and a 1,100 space parking deck in three years. It’s almost two decades later. That hasn’t happened. [Axios Detroit]

When I lived in University District, it was sad to see this hulking project just sit stalled every day. There’s no good reason for this to take a decade to come together and the design is not intricate like the Sagrada Família. And even that shouldn’t have taken as long as it has.

» Grosse Pointe Farms attorney David Sutherland has been charged with embezzling money from recently deceased Carhartt heiress and philanthropist Gretchen Carhartt Valade. Sutherland faces three counts of embezzlement of over $100,000 and conducting a criminal enterprise. [Detroit News]

» Food blog and reviewer Starex Smith, a.k.a. “The Hungry Black Man,” has published his 10 favorite Black owned eateries in the city. We won’t spoil the top restaurants, but we will tease that Breadless comes in at #10. [The Hungry Black Man]

We covered Breadless when they opened in April 2022. Check out our conversation with co-founder Marc Howland.

» Who’s next in line for the U.S. Senate seat that will be open because long-time Michigan senator Debbie Stabenow is retiring? I discuss the possibilities with Steve Friess, who writes for Newsweek, Hour and others.

We also get a bit into the race for governor, as Gretchen Whitmer is term-limited and there’s one major Detroit politician who isn’t running for senate — but would be done with his third term as mayor by the time the gubernatorial race comes along.

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And if you want to keep content like this coming, it’s not free to produce. Consider supporting us.

» There’s drama at the DIA as a Brazilian art collector is alleging in court one of the famous works on the wall, “The Novel Reader,” was stolen. Now, to be clear — they’re not saying the Detroit Institute of Arts did it, but an unnamed third party that lent the work to the exhibition. [Artnews]

The exhibit is open until January 22, so there’s still time to go. We talked about the (possible) theft and more on the Thursday episode of the podcast.

» Modern home goods store Nora will be closing on January 28. The Midtown store’s closure comes after a decade of operation. The owner cites rising costs of rent and product, along with declining foot traffic as she says people are going back into shopping patterns picked up during the pandemic. [Nora's Instagram] [Freep]

» Residential property values are up 20% in the city of Detroit, say officials. [Crain’s Detroit Business]

» Alligators are being bought as pets and dumped in local waterways when they get too big. Turns out in the suburb of Allen Park it is illegal for residents to own alligators longer than six inches, but pet stores can still purchase and sell alligators. [ClickOnDetroit]

» Amazon Fresh is coming to Metro Detroit in a big way, and soon. It looks like grocery store wars are going to heat up, as Amazon Fresh is taking over old store spots and can fit into a smaller footprint than chains like Kroger or Meijer. I talked to supermarket expert Phil Lempert to get a national perspective and what this might mean for our market — one that is not growing in population, so we’re adding another option without adding more mouths to feed. That means hot competition.

And we’re done for today. Thanks to Luciano Marcon for helping me with this edition.

Tomorrow is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and isn’t just a federal holiday, but a day of service and learning.

We don’t do our daily podcast on federal holidays, so we’ll be back on the air Tuesday. There’s more than 1,100 episodes for you to check out in the meantime, though.

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


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