leave your inhibitions at the door
In my post about Selden Standard, I posed the question, “So is Detroit back?” Have they started to turn the corner and started to put decades of decay behind them? Will Detroit return to its glory days of relative success instead of the recent history of neglect?
A long time ago, someone gave me this terrific piece of advice for predicting the next hot neighborhood in Chicago – go to where the artists are. Traditionally they’re the ones that were brave enough to live in unsavory but cheap neighborhoods. Soon the neighborhood gets more visitors and businesses to serve them and, eventually, becomes completely overrun by yuppies gentrified. When that happens, property values and rents skyrocket, forcing the artists to go somewhere else because their old ‘hood became way too expensive.
I don’t know where the artists are these days, but I think hipsters can be a good proxy. They enjoy anything with “craft” or “artisan” in front of it – beer, spirits, even toast. Although they often have well paying jobs, they’re frugality and general rejection of consumerism is artist-ish. Like artists, they’re great at starting trends that eventually make it into the mainstream. And we definitely saw a LOT of hipsters in Detroit.
Brooklyn Street Local is a tiny breakfast and lunch place that just screams HIPSTER. The name alone has two words that hipsters utter at least twice an hour – Brooklyn and Local. The only way to get a more hipster name is to throw in “Kale” or “Quinoa” somewhere in there. Though, to be fair, it really is on Brooklyn Street.
They’re committed to using locally sourced ingredients, often from urban farms in Detroit. They also strive to reduce their environmental footprint by composting, recycling, and reducing waste as much as possible. Take a look at their coffee mugs –
They don’t match and one has a logo on it – it’s obvious they picked them up at a thrift store. I love the idea as it keeps them out of the landfill and avoids using other resources to create new ones. Yes, it’s a super cheap way to go, but does anyone really get bent out of shape if the mugs don’t match?
I had the Eggs Benedict with a side of poutine
Boom Boom had a traditional omelette with a green salad.
The owners are originally from Toronto, hence the poutine. Outside of that, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary on the menu. For lunch they add a few basic sandwiches and burgers. But the execution was flawless – everything tasted exactly how they should. The hollandaise sauce was velvety and perfectly tart, the eggs fluffy, and the peameal bacon was hearty but not overpowering. But as good as the eggs benedict were, I could’ve murdered four orders of the poutine.
So delicious. Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go.
Is Detroit back?
Not quite yet. I still hear a lot of people wanting Detroit to go back to its manufacturing roots and I’m skeptical that will solve anything. Some businesses both large and small are coming downtown, but without public transportation it’s going to be hard to attract more. And they really need more people to live there, instead of relying on suburbanites to come in and then leave as soon as the dinner bill’s paid.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel, for sure. But even though the hipster ideals of re-using everything and avoiding mass consumerism are commendable, they don’t do much to help an economically struggling city.
So hopefully the hipsters can continue to create a buzz and keep it going until the yuppies move in.