New Restaurant Owners Are a Boon to Detroit’s Economic Recovery

Travel reporter Jennifer Conlin writes in the New York Times about Detroit’s suddenly booming food scene, which has been a helpful boost to the local economy:

Keeping up with the dining scene in Detroit these days is a full-time job. It seems that every time I return from my travels, a flurry of emails from foodie friends informs me of yet another restaurant or distillery that has opened, or gastronomic “event” I have missed, like a “Book & Bread” dinner at the letterpress studio, Salt & Cedar, where diners enjoy a feast of locally grown ingredients before hand-sewing a journal.

Considered a food desert not so long ago, Detroit is now a culinary oasis. In the last year alone, nearly a dozen new restaurants have opened, from Grille Midtown serving everything from jambalaya to rib-eyes in a renovated century-old former theater on Woodward Avenue, to Craft Work, which serves seasonal cuisine in the historic district of West Village. And while the city has long been known for its great diversity of ethnic food and chili dogs, it is finally getting a reputation that reaches beyond ribs.

What is abundantly clear is that some of the most enterprising restaurateurs in Detroit are those burrowing into empty buildings and taking advantage of start-up funds from regional and citywide competitions, as well as from eager investors. …

Ask a patron about Rose’s Fine Food, which opened in July, and the words, “charming” and “adorable” will likely be uttered. And not just because the two women who renovated this east side vintage diner, Lucy Carnaghi and Molly Mitchell, are 32-year-old first cousins who named the place after their grandmother’s favorite flower. …

Most generous, however, is a note on the back of their menu promising a 10 percent discount to all the neighbors who live within a mile of their still-struggling east side community.

Read the full story at the New York Times.