DETROIT: Cass Corridor, New & Improved !

16 Mar

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It’s hard to keep up with all the new businesses opening up in Detroit; it seems each day there’s another announcement about a soon-to-open bar, restaurant or shop. Today we are taking you to the dreaded Cass Corridor (ok, so it’s not so dreaded anymore) for an up-close look at some of latest additions to the vibrant Midtown neighborhood.

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The Jeep is parked on Cass across the street from our destination, I feed the parking meter, cross the street and duck into Thrift On The Avenue, which shares the building with La Feria. The attractive boutique is well-organized and laid out in an easy-to-shop fashion. The clothing is lovely; formal dresses for women, work and casual wear, button-up shirts for men, slacks, jackets and lots of shoes. Everything is in great condition. Accessories include ties, handbags, scarves and a fun selection of new socks.This resale shop is a great addition to the neighborhood. We exit the front door, round the corner and follow the sign pointing to Galerie Camille. Inside, white walls soar upward to the open ceiling, leftover metal work from the former car wash is also painted white, adding a bit of dimension to the space. The current exhibit is TRANSITIONS, it features the work of two Detroit-based artists: Brian Day and William Harris. Wall space alternates black and white photographs and large paintings, benches invite visitors to stay awhile. Two smaller galleries reside off to the side, each is filled with wonderful artwork in a variety of mediums. Exhibits change often, so stop in frequently.

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Up the street a little is Art Loft, a shop that carries home accents, functional gifts, handmade items from local artists, Michigan goods, high-end items from Alessi, Michael Graves, Philippe Starck, pieces from Cape Town South Africa, art work, watches, tiles and the softest sheets you’ve ever touched. White shelving lines teal walls; colorful, shiny pieces grab my attention, there’s lots to see. Candles, jewelry, room spray and K Bell socks; this is the kind of shop you go to when you are looking for something unique.

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On the other side of Cass, the old Curl Up And Dye salon is now JoyRide Detroit, a group of rotating pop-up shops. Organized by Jennifer Willemsen, she works with start-ups while selling her own Cass Brand Organics. Just inside the door Artsy Fart fills their space with brightly colored animation, apparel art and toys. Next to that, The Sisters Triforia offer curated pieces of jewelry, clothing, both handmade and curated. I like the hand-burned wood earrings. Check out the mixed tapes by local bands. TJ’s Sweet Repeats sells vintage clothing, hats, bags, shoes and jewelry, I’ve always been a fan of old hat boxes, they have them too. Around the corner Purple Love has decked out their space in, well, purple. A slender vanity displays beautiful necklaces and earrings, an open drawer reveals bold statement necklaces, black velvet ‘necks’ wear necklaces of stone, rhinestone and pearls, items are handmade and handpicked.

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We make a quick stop at Shinola’s Midtown dog park on Cass and Canfield, it’s in the 60’s today, perfect for dogs to run around with their playmates. Little dogs congregate in the small yard while Huskies, Retrievers and Shepard’s chase each other in the big yard. Owners are clustered in groups catching up on the latest goings-ons, kids play fetch with their furry friends. Time to eat, we are having lunch at the new Sweet Lorraine’s Fabulous Mac n’ Brewz.

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The 88 seat diner is fabulously kitschy, from the button and tuck booths, to the metallic gold, red and blue vinyl bar stools to the cool vintage black and white Detroit photo plastered to the back wall; you wouldn’t know this was the old Marwill Bookstore. A walk-up counter lines the left side of the space, menus hang across the kitchen wall, now all you have to do is make a decision…. Sweet Lorraine’s is known for her Mac n’ Cheez, in addition to the classic you can choose from more than a dozen combinations. Don’t overlook the Healthy Wraps and Salad Bowls. Did I mention they serve beer and spirits too? So, what’s not to like? We are dining on Pepperoni Pizza Mac: classic Mac with pepperoni, pizza sauce and pepper jack cheese–Delicious! The Malibu Chicken & Bacon Wrap is roasted chicken, bacon, spinach, dried cranberries, tomatoes, cucumbers and ranch dressing all rolled up tight, really good. With so many more combinations to try, we’ll be back.

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We travel up Cass to the Detroit Carhartt Company store just south of 94. Guess what? We’re still in the same parking zone, with time left on the meter, we can park right in front of the store. Carhartt was founded in Detroit in 1889 by Hamilton Carhartt. Hamilton discovered there was a strong need in the market for high quality workwear, specifically for railroad workers; remember at that time our nation was experiencing an industrial boom. His first product was a heavy-duty overall garment, he traveled from town to town visiting railroad yards, introducing them to his garments; he acquired a loyal following and a reputation for durable, rugged apparel. The iconic Carhartt Chore Coat was introduced in 1923 and is largely unchanged to this day.

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The company store is housed in a gorgeous 1928 Art Deco building, local Detroit artists, the Golden Sign Company, painted the mural on the wall facing I-94. Inside, the store is a blend of old and new; reclaimed wood came from houses in Detroit, sepia colored photos are intermixed with current ones. Here traditional items such as the chore coat, overalls, coveralls and work boots share space with casual clothing for men and women, t-shirts and outdoor gear. Carhartt still maintains a Made In The USA line, items are made in Kentucky and Tennessee and can be purchased here or at The Detroit Mercantile Co. The business continues to be run by the 5th generation of the Carhartt family. With all of these new places, you have even more reasons to spend time in Detroit. 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “DETROIT: Cass Corridor, New & Improved !”

  1. Mike Ricketts March 16, 2016 at 7:14 am #

    Cool. Too bad so much Carhartt is outsourced these days.

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