Two weeks ago, I went to Detroit. I was visiting friends in Ann Arbor for the weekend when we decided to get brunch in Detroit. We ended up staying for the whole day. To say that I fell in love with the city is a bit strong, but I will say that I fell in love with part of it—the Eastern Market.
As you drive into the city, the first thing you notice is the absolute lack of pedestrian activity. There is literally no one around. The second thing you notice is the space. The roads are wiiiiiiiide and the lots are HUGE. As we made our way through this desolate landscape, we began to see small clues relating to the urban regeneration slowly revitalizing this, once great, city. Springing up every few blocks are cafes, bakeries, galleries, and a whole host of other small businesses. (I have to mention the awesomely-named hair salon, Curl Up & Dye.)
Our first destination was Honest John’s for brunch. A summary: outside there was no one for two blocks, but inside sat the entire neighborhood. The diversity was astounding. From college sweater wearing kids to the wizened looking local preacher, everyone was getting their eggs that day. I can sympathize; the food was delicious.[flickr id=”8404816943″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Post-brunch, we headed to the Eastern Market area. I had absolutely no idea what to expect. We pulled up among the old graffiti-covered warehouses and alleyways and made our way to the farmer’s market in Shed 3. Again, the diversity of the people was amazing. It was like seeing a handful of people from every neighborhood in Chicago in the same room, buying organic squash and hand-massaged beef.[flickr id=”8405911478″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
Market done, we walked around the back alleys and streets of the area. We happened upon so many hidden treasures: arguably the world’s greatest antique shop, a fantastic letter press studio, and perhaps the biggest surprise, an art gallery run by Red Bull. The gallery is called House of Art and is located in an incredible old brewery. You had to more or less crawl through the tunnels in the basement in order to get to the huge gallery space. Red Bull provides space for the artists to create their work, and then when they are done, curates a show in the gallery. It is well worth a visit.
Our final destination was Avalon Bakery. Two words, a symbol, and some punctuation: brownies = heaven. We finally left Detroit about four hours later than planned. I could easily see myself living there one day. The sense of entrepreneurialism is really attractive. See you soon, Detroit!