Hey, it’s Jer.

The corner by the Kern clock at Woodward and Gratiot in downtown Detroit has had a lot of changes over the years, and it looks like there’s another one.

First I heard rumors about the end of Calexico. Then my podcast colleague Devon tried to have lunch the day after they were supposed to re-open after a hiatus — and they were not just closed, but dark. I checked the day after. Still dark.

Now, the location isn’t on the corporate website. I tried to get in touch but got no response. So this is not confirmed, but suspect.

This outpost of Calexico and their Californian-Mexican food fusion opened here in 2016, after a brief stint by local chain Olga’s.

Another restaurant closure in downtown Detroit wouldn’t be great news. We discuss it and the underlying problem: That without as many office workers downtown, there doesn’t seem to be enough business.

📰 What to know

black rotary dial phone on white surface
Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash

» The 313 area code may not be alone going forward. 679 as an overlay code would get added by the Michigan Public Service commission. That means that in the same geographic area in 2025 both would be used, and inevitably those with 313 area codes will want to hold it over the 679 newcomers. [Fox 2 News]

» Megabus is returning to Detroit. Riders from Detroit will have connections to 13 other cities. Megabus briefly ceased its operations here because of operational challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. [Detroit News]

I actually enjoyed taking Megabus from Detroit to Chicago. Very convenient when I lived near it. However, this new iteration doesn’t go to the Windy City, but to places like Columbus.

» Toll roads seem to be back on the table. Michigan’s roads continue to crumble as despite some of the public’s protestations of spending too much, the inconvenient fact is we have more roads than we can afford to maintain properly.

This will get worse as electric vehicles continue to take over, blowing a giant hole in the already stretched road maintenance fund because they don’t use gas and so don’t pay retail gas taxes. [Bridge Michigan]

Per capita Michigan spends the least in the Great Lakes on our road system, even with a bond issue that Governor Gretchen Whitmer did to try to stop some of the bleeding. And it shows. When I road trip, it’s obvious.

I know the low-tax people are seething at my words, but it’s math. Think about how much the tri-county area has changed since 1970. How many roads. How many places converted from woodlands to subdivisions called The Woodlands. Now realize we haven’t added any more taxpayers and Metro Detroit’s population is basically flat.

More stuff, the same amount of people, the more it’s going to cost per person to keep it up. Let alone the additional costs of materials and labor as they keep rising. That simple. The money will have to come from somewhere, we will need to delete roads or lanes, or no one from either major political party will be able to truly fix the roads.

» Long-time resident of Allen Park Myra Brazeau celebrated turning 100 years-old on January 5. She recalls moving to the suburb before electricity and street lights were widespread, and cows crossed Pelham Road. [The News Herald]

» HuffPost editor and writer Phil Lewis discusses how streaming service Tubi has opened doors for Black directors to make low-budget films. A significant amount of the independent Black directed films on Tubi have been filmed in Detroit. [Phil Lewis's Substack]

» The historic Marlborough in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood is ready for leasing. [East Jefferson]

You can live right behind Yellow Light donuts!

» Primanti Bros. has closed shop suddenly in Metro Detroit. It was one of Producer Shianne’s favorites, so she talked about it on the show — and the delay due to construction for the opening of HopCat in downtown Royal Oak.

» Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris will not return to Bally Sports Detroit in 2023. Jack was a color commentator since 2019, and was the center of some controversy last year. [Detroit Sports Nation]

» Gaming spot Replay Cafe in the Milwaukee-Junction neighborhood of Detroit is closing next month. The numbers just don’t make sense. [Instagram]

» The Eastern Palace Club opened on Tuesday in Hazel Park. Located on John R. south of Nine Mile, I checked out the opening night with Engineer Randy. It was a packed first night, for the Tiki themed place. [Instagram]

» The Greenway location of Red Hook is reopening on Detroit’s near east side on Monday the 23rd. The coffeeshop recently was run into by a vehicle, and they had to rebuild. [Facebook]

» Here are 19 hip joints in Metro Detroit for January. [Eater Detroit]

» What’s the future of biking locally in 2023? Jason Hall joins me for a conversation from the Detroit Policy Conference.

⚜️⚽️ Reporting on Le Rouge

» Who should Detroit City FC sign next? Our Fletcher Sharpe has a couple of locally-flavored suggestions.

» Fan favorite Michael Bryant and Detroit City FC have agreed to restructure his contract that would keep him through 2024. The club previously announced that it exercised Michael’s contract option for the 2023 season. [Detroit News]

» Adrian Billhardt has signed for DCFC for the 2023 USLC season with an option for 2024. The German native helped South Georgia Tormenta win their first USL League One title and earned the USL League One Comeback Player of the Year honor. [Detroit City FC]

Our show and newsletter takes a lot to put together. If you’d like to buy us a coffee to support us, it’d be much appreciated.

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📆 Put it on the calendar

Events in the future you might want to check out…

» Turnabout for Ferndale Pride on Saturday, February 4. 215 West’s bartenders perform their classic turnabout show. Performances by Michael Christian, Bentley James, Emma Sapphire & Dante Gabbana. Bartender performances by Derek, Edmund, Erin, Nikki, Susan and a “Super Special Guest.” 21+; NA choices and mocktails available. [FB event]

BTW, it’s been confirmed that we’re going to be back at Ferndale Pride! So if you’re going, be sure to stop by the booth.

» Sunday, April 2 is National All Things Detroit Day. 200+ vendors and food trucks will be at the Eastern Market Sheds from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. [All Things Detroit]

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your feedback on the email survey. We learned a LOT about what you’re looking for and what we can do better. I’ll take it all into account for 2023.

Thanks to Luciano Marcon for his help with this edition getting things together.

Until next time — remember you are somebody, and I’ll see you around town.


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