Tuesday, January 27, 2009


While filming the "rustbelt" series for his hit show, "No Reservations", Tony Bourdain and his good buddy Zamir were in Detroit this month showcasing the Detroiter experience during this wonderful and endearing economic downturn. Mr. Bourdain is a "TV personality, best-selling author, public speaker, weary world traveler, gourmand, punk-rock aficionado, proud New Yorker and, most recently, newlywed and doting father." He, "...continues to explore every corner of the globe on his Emmy-nominated Travel Channel series, now in its fifth season, Anthony Bourdain encounters the weird, wild and downright outrageous personalities and places that help define the international cultural landscape."

While I'm not privy to Mr. Bourdain's exact schedule while in Detroit, I was given access to rough plans for where the show would film. The plans included speaking with a former steel worker with Zug Island looming in the background, visiting Family Donut Shop in Hamtramck on Conant, a stop at a middle eastern restaurant in Dearborn, feather bowling at Cadieux Cafe, and a drink at Hamtramck's New Dodge Lounge.

As exciting as it was that Mr. Bourdain was filming in Detroit this month, I'd be lying if I didn't find it more more exciting that Mr. Bourdain and his crew used everyone's favorite blog,, as a reference when planning the show's itinerary. While searching for a Polish restaurant to feature on the show, the show's producers were kindly pointed to to check out my review of Polonia on Yemems in Hamtramck. Apparently they were impressed, with my post that is, and Polonia was their choice for Polish food. In interviews with the local media, Mr. Bourdain already proclaimed the duck blood soup at Polonia as some of the best he's ever had. I'll choose to take his word for it.

Look for Bourdain's show "No Reservations-Rust Belt Tour", to air later this year on the Travel Channel, on Mondays at 10:00 P.M., and keep in mind whose reviews Mr. Bourdain relies on when visiting the D.

Note to Mr. Bourdain, and Zamir, who was so kind and engaging when we met-If and when you come back to Detroit, and would like to eat Polish food again, try Polish Village Cafe or Under the Eagle, both in Hamtramck on Yemens and Jos. Campau respectively. Everyone has their favorites, but these two restaurants may be even better than Polonia...

Detroit Army

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Originally Posted 10/9/08
Updated 1/21/09

1/21/09 Update

The Detroit Free Press reports that 24grille, one half of Spa1924Grille, is scheduled to open for dinner January 21, 2009, with lunch service to follow on January 26, 2009.

New restaurants are great. I don't know why I can't get hyped about this one. I hope I'm proved wrong.

The rest of the project though makes me believe that maybe the individuals behind this restaurant have something unexpected in store for us.

The Free Press goes on to state that, "Other parts of the project -- all opening in February -- include spa19, a full-service day spa adjoining 24grille; the intimate Champagne Bar, featuring more than 30 Moet Hennessey products by the glass or bottle, and the Plate Room, a private dining space that includes a display wall of original Book Cadillac china."

Looking forward to it...

Book Cadillac restaurant set to open for dinner

Original Post

I really hope that this works out, but I have no idea what it even means. Spa 1924 Grille will be opening up in one of the retail spaces along the Michigan Ave. side of the newly renovated Book Cadillac Hotel. Yes, its called "Spa 1924 Grille" which means it is in some way a combination of a restaurant and a spa. Do you get a facial while you're eating a sandwich? I really can't be sure, but I wish the business venture all of the best.

The group which owns and operates the restaurant is Entourage Restaurant Group and the spa services provided at the spa/grille will be provided by Todd Skog of Todd's Room in Birmingham. All three of the owners of the Entourage group purchased condos within the Book Cadillac, so they have an extra incentive to make the endeavor successful. Good luck to them.

See more information from the Detroit Free Press.

The website for the restaurant/spa can be found here

Detroit Army

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This week, ModelD contributing writer, Jim Boyle offers his response to Mitch Albom's poetic wax on what it means to be a Detroiter. Personally, I agree with Mitch. Our provincial ways, weariness of outsiders, internal squabbling, and us against the world mentality, makes us exactly who we are.

Yet, there is another side to this story, and Jim Boyle does a nice job of putting a spotlight on it. While, as Detroiters, we love to be written off because we believe that it's exactly this view on which we thrive, maybe it wouldn't hurt to do something very un-Detroit. Instead of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy for ourselves by molding our National image as one in which we should already be written off, maybe we should make all the great things that we have going for us clear to everyone else, and in turn, create an image which positions us for success.

Here's the article...Hey Mitch: Detroit Primed to Play More Than Defense

Detroit Army

Sunday, January 11, 2009


A couple of days ago I was introduced to an article written by Mitch Albom for Sports Illustrated entitled "The Courage of Detroit."

Since first reading the article, about ten other people have forwarded it me with the headline reading, "I thought you should read this." Well, everyone who sent me the article was right on point, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention.

The title "The Courage of Detroit," sums up the article in the most succinct way possible. No matter what you think of Mitch, you can't argue with his sentiments in this one.

Take a look at Mitch's article here at The Courage of Detroit and don't be embarrassed if you get a little choked up (ok maybe that was just me).

Here's a glimpse

And yet Detroit was once a vibrant place, the fourth-largest city in the country, and it lives in the hope that those days, against all logic, will somehow return. We are downtrodden, perhaps, but the most downtrodden optimists you will ever meet. We cling to our ways, no matter how provincial they seem on the coasts. We get excited about the Auto Show. We celebrate Sweetest Day. We eat Coney dogs all year and we cruise classic cars down Woodward Avenue every August and we bake punchki donuts the week before Lent. We don't talk about whether Detroit will be fixed but when Detroit will be fixed.

To hell with Depression. We're gonna have a good year.

Detroit Army

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Looks like Book Building and Tower has finally gone completely dark. While the 1928 Italian Rennasaince style tower has been on its last legs the last couple of years, there was always Bookies Tavern anchoring the bottom floor and keeping the historic building alive. That ended Monday night as the 2 a.m. last call was really the last call for Bookies. On a more upbeat note, Bookies Bar and Grill, will open within the next month in a renovated building at Cass and Columbia near the Fox Theatre -- three floors, a full kitchen and, for the nice weather, a rooftop deck.

In 2006, the Book Tower was sold to the Pagan Organization, a New York-based investment group. Within a year, the corporation running the building had gone bankrupt. Tenants complained about heating problems, elevator malfunctions, and the electricity periodically being turned off without warning. It's reported that a Canadian based firm, AKNO enterprises, presently owns the building.

On Tuesday, the Free Press reported,

"John Austerberry, a spokesman for DTE Energy, said power will be cut off Thursday unless the utility reaches an agreement with the owner over its $87,000 past-due bill.

George Ellenwood, of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, said water also will be severed in the coming days unless something is done about AKNO’s $18,593 bill."

Well, considering the city just regained the Book Cadillac, along with the Fort Shelby, at least it's two steps forward and only one step backwards for the West Side of Downtown...

Book Building Closure Stirs Memories

Detroit Army