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Magic moments in Motown: Detroit’s comeback
January 17, 2022
Detroit in one word: progressive. Ever since I was little, I recall hearing “What happened to Detroit?”, “I don’t feel safe there anymore,” and “Detroit used to be such a nice city.” Although statistics show that Detroit’s violent crime rate is above the national average, people fail to acknowledge that Detroit CBS named the metro city “one of the nation’s most up and coming housing markets” in 2020. Despite this rise in housing, Detroit’s reputation looms over the city like a gray, cumulus cloud. Fear not; there is always a brightly colored rainbow after the storm.
Block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood, the city is rebuilding itself from the ground up. Slowly but surely revitalizing as people of all ages now enjoy the positive experiences the city offers. Living just 20 minutes from the city of Detroit, I’ve become a frequent visitor. My numerous trips to the inner city have allowed me to explore Motown’s gems, and I’ve highlighted just a few of my new favorite destinations.
Dime Store, a small brunch spot located inside the heart of the city, incorporates a fresh, hip twist onto typical breakfast food. The small building sits perfectly in the corner wing of the Chrysler House, making it easy to stroll by without taking a second glance. Peering through the frosty window, I was overwhelmed with anticipation. My mouth began to salivate as the scent of freshly poached eggs and lightly toasted rye bread wafted through the frigid air. Greeted with a warm welcome from the hostess, my dad and I began to scan through the broad menu. The unique spread features breakfast, lunch, and chef’s specials ranging from ginger eggnog french toast to duck bop hash. My eyes immediately center on the chicken Caprese sandwich, headlining grilled chicken breast, fresh mozzarella, roasted tomato, arugula, pesto mayo, and balsamic vinaigrette all smothered on warmed ciabatta bread. Dime Store has made a modern interpretation of a classic favorite.
Any sandwich comes with a side of either house fries, salad, or fresh fruit. However, for a two dollars more, you can upgrade the fries to the next level with bizarre condiments. Along with the Chicken Caprese Sandwich, I indecisively selected the spicy Korean fries, showcasing shaved ribeye, Korean barbecue sauce, sriracha mayo, and pickled vegetables. Due to the global pandemic, we opted for the carry-out option. My stomach angrily grumbled, so I was pleased to hear it would only be a fifteen-minute wait. With some time to spare, my dad and I voyaged through the streets of Detroit.
The harsh wind sent a chill down my spine, leaving a trail of goosebumps in its wake. A towering burnt orange skyscraper, the Guardian Building, captivated me instantly, like a siren luring sailors with their enchanted song. As we trek through the spinning glass doors, my mouth gawks in awe at the artwork covering the building head-to-toe. The bright fluorescent lights lined the arched ceiling, leading your eyes to a color-washed map of Michigan. You would never expect this simple office building to conceal this angelic architecture. As I look up, the concave wall is lined with a variety of brightly colored mosaics. The light shines in through the intricate glass window, spotlighting a pine tree decorated with dazzling white lights. Suddenly, my fifteen-minute timer buzzes, alerting us to pick up our late lunch. Snow crunched under my thick black boots, but my pace quickened as we walked closer and closer to the restaurant
“It will just be one second,” the same friendly hostess remarked.
Another fifteen minutes later, she eventually brought out the large white bag. Although frustrated and flustered due to the long wait, the paper bag permeates a rich, decadent smell. As our appetizer, we unloaded the spicy Korean fries in the car. I made sure to include each aspect of the dish in one bite. The warm, thick, homemade fries served as the perfect base to complement the savory ribeye, sweet barbecue sauce, spicy mayo, and tangy vegetables. Altogether, that single mouthful was phenomenal and the incorporation of various flavors was flattering. Next, I unboxed my chicken Caprese sandwich. Immediately, I was disappointed with the lukewarm temperature and the dryness of the chicken. I could barely taste each element and was perturbed with the texture of the meat. Overall, I rated my meal and experience at the Dime Store as three out of five stars. Surprisingly, the Korean fries were out of this world. On the other hand, the chicken Caprese sandwich was a disappointment. I still recommend giving this restaurant a shot if you gravitate towards powerful flavor combinations and a vibrant ambiance.
The long, windy highway transformed into neighborhood streets filled with run-down houses. With the windows shattered, doors taped up, and doodled graffiti, I inferred from their conditions that this was not the most pleasant area of the city. Nevertheless, with an optimistic outlook, I kept my fingers crossed. Haphazardly situated on a lawn, the rustic sign reads, ‘Heidelberg Project”, and I am, at first, shocked from what appears to be thrown-out trash lining the street. I eagerly step one foot out of the car, and my eyes immediately are drawn to the metal fence lining the narrow sidewalk. Over 100 shoes, ranging from a toddler’s burgundy flip flop to a midnight black high heel, are tightly tied to each spire. A jumbled tower of bicycles and shopping carts lean at a seemingly impossible angle, as if it were completely defying gravity. I observe a decaying speedboat stacked full of battered stuffed animals and plushies, stuffing spilling out. An abandoned taxi sits illuminated by the rays of sunlight, reflecting a glare onto the variety of scribbled faces engraved into the sidewalk and wrapped around the cargo crates.
Following a snack break, we head over to Detroit hotspot Eastern Market. Every Saturday, various venders gather to sell their fabulous homestyle treats and artistry to the public.