Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My current obsession

Well, this is really an ongoing obsession. But I revisited the 1960's film version of "Sweet Charity" and can't stop watching this.

Seriously fabulous Fosse.




And then the imitators. Well-done by The Gap:



And kind of whored up and dumbed down by Beyonce in "Get Me Bodied" (Sony/BMG has disabled embedding on all the YouTube copies of this video so you have to actually follow the link to watch it - or mouse over that little Snapshot icon. The relevant parts start at 1:15 and end about two minutes later. It's not a great song).

I know I blogged about this early last year but I'm still obsessed.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Damn funny

50% dirty, 50% SFW, 50% vintage porn, 50% animation = 100% fabulous

(this is getting yanked off YouTube like crazy, so watch it while you can! Thanks Backintheday for the tip!)


Band Fags!

Since we are on the topic of Hazel Park, there is a fun book that came out this year by a locally-grown writer named Frank Anthony Polito called Band Fags. It's a coming-of-age story of a young ... band fag ... set in 1980's Hazel Park.


Frank was kind enough to send me an advance copy this spring and I read it and was going to write about it then, but the summer crap-fest started and I was distracted by my own ennui. But now Frank is coming to do a reading at the Barnes & Noble in Royal Oak so it's the perfect time to revisit the book!

As much as Band Fags is a gay coming-of-age story, it's also a true 80s slice-of-life story. Frank spares no detail - not one - in creating the 80s feel. He name-drops products and cultural artifacts like Andy Warhol name-drops celebrities in the Warhol Diaries.

For anyone familiar with the Detroit are there is the added bonus of a familiar setting - or familiar-ish, if you didn't spend a lot of time in "Hazeltucky." When he describes the intersection where the protagonist (I guess technically it's fiction) got dropped off by his friends or the gay bar they snuck off to on Woodward in Palmer Park ... you know exactly what he means.

Band Fags isn't coming-of-age in the Best Little Boy in the World vein, but it's sweet and cute and a fun read. And the author is very attractive so you may enjoy going to the reading just to scope him out. And you can listen to him tomorrow morning on
Detroit Today to hear what he has to say about the book.

It's a Band Fag start to the weekend! How perfect!

Details:

Band Fags reading and book signing
Saturday, September 27 at Barnes & Noble in Royal Oak, 500 S. Main Street
4pm

Band Fags author Frank Anthony Polito on Detroit Today
Friday, September 26 on WDET, 101.9 FM
10:30am


[PS - If you have not read The Best Little Boy in the World, I highly recommend checking it out. It was the seminal figuring-out-your-sexuality book for a generation, written pseudononymously by famous money man Andrew Tobias (who eventually "came out" as the author). Check out Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story too, another gay modern classic. And since I'm telling you what to read, check out Kevin Sessums excellent Mississippi Sissy too, a more serious contemporary growing-up-gay story.]

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Pulling it together

OK, enough of the Supergay pity-fest. It's time to get back to business. This blog is about gay life in Detroit, not about me.

Oh who am I kidding, it's all about me.

Advance notice on the Metro Times Best of Detroit indicates the Supergay Slate did very well! We are not at liberty to reveal details, but let's just say we are pleased.

Speaking of, we're coming to you this morning from the wonderful Rowland Cafe in the Guardian Building, and one has to wonder - why can't more independent coffee places in Detroit pull it off like this? The setting is of course fantastic, but they have the kind of cafe pastries you want, good coffee, a capable friendly staff focused on the customer, normal attractive furniture and fixtures and free wi-fi. Is it really that difficult?


OK, I'm behind on lots of topics. More to come.
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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This must be some kind of record

I got my car back from the latest theft attempt on Thursday. I stayed in all weekend, but ventured out tonight to the Park Bar to meet up with friends for a bit. Someone broke into my car again just to rifle around and see if there was anything in it. At least they didn't rip apart the ignition this time.

Five days - that's definitely a record. The previous record was two weeks. You're improving, Detroit.

God, whatever I did to piss you off for this shitty year, mea culpa. Please forgive me.
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Help for the fabulous

Gang, I need a little help helping a friend.

My friend emailed and is coming into town in a few weeks. He needs to rent a car, and he would like something a little fancier than a Buick Lacerne, which seems to be the best standard rental companies will offer.

Anyone know where a gal can rent a BMW or Land Rover or something with a little more panache?

I'm useless with anything car-related and actually fear them - as evidenced in my refusal to get rid of the only car I've ever even remotely liked despite ten years of rocky times. Any suggestion are greatly appreciated!

Honesty is the best policy.

I saw this on the bathroom wall at Honest? John's Bar and No Grill today and it actually made me laugh really hard.

Detroit Homo Tour

Last year I mused that the Kilpatrick administration really needed to make an overt gesture to the gay community, to make it clear that gay people are welcome and wanted in the city. I wasn't just asking for a feel-good affirmation of my presence here - I thrive on being places I'm not welcome, just ask the hosts of the last three parties I attended. But I'd spoken with many gays from the suburbs over the years who specifically felt a gay presence was not wanted in the city. And Kwame did make several gaffes early on which definitely sent that message (they all seem so quaint now, in comparison to his later gaffes).

It turns out I wasn't the only one who felt this way. There was never any big announcement, but over the past year our man on the inside of the administration, Brad Dick, not only was officially appointed liaison to the LGBT community, but he and other Detroit gays got together to create something that is, to my knowledge, an historic first for the City of Detroit: a City-sanctioned event to promote the growth of the gay community in Detroit.

The LGBT and Friends Home Tour takes place this Sunday, September 28, in the neighborhoods of Green Acres, Sherwood Forest, Palmer Woods, Bagley and the University District. It is an out-and-out (and out) effort to showcase this great cluster of beautiful Detroit neighborhoods to a crowd that may not consider venturing south of 8 Mile Road when looking for a new home.



With the suburban gay community maxing out on Ferndale and turning their sights east toward Hazel Park (HAZEL PARK!), now is the perfect time to show off the absolutely gorgeous homes and fabulous neighbors that lie literally just across the street to the south.

LGBT & Friends Home Tour and Afterglow - Sunday, September 28
  • Detroit Golf Club 17911 Hamilton Rd. Detroit, MI 48203
    Home tour runs from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
    (Pick-up and drop-off for the tour at the Detroit Golf Club)

  • Afterglow runs from 5:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at the Detroit Golf Club
    Tickets are $20.00 (includes tour and afterglow)
    (All proceeds to benefit the Michigan Equality Education Fund (MEEF)

  • Purchase tickets online – www.lgbtevent.eventbrite.com and the day of the event at the Detroit Golf Club

  • Representatives from the City of Detroit Assessor’s Office, C.R.E.S.T. (Coalition of Realtors Empowering, Stabilizing, & Transforming Communities), Lenders, Preservation Wayne, and more will be available to answer questions
The LGBT and Friends Home Tour is a NEXT Detroit neighborhood initiative done in conjunction with with the mayor's office and the University Commons organization. It starts at the historic Detroit Golf Club and busses will take attendees to one house in each neighbhorhood. Of note, the Frank Lloyd Wright Turkel House will be on this tour - that's worth the price of admission alone! And the afterglow at the Golf Club is sure to be a who's-who of Detroit's moving-and-shaking gays.



Personally, I was absolutely thrilled to hear about this event. It may not seem like much, but in addition to showing off a fantastic area near and dear to my heart (I went to high school in the Bagley neighbhorhood), it's a sign that at least some people in our city's administration are thinking of us. I guess belated kudos to KK for sanctioning the development of this and other plans to attract the gay community (even though it was totally kept on the down-low), and also thanks to the brand-spankin'-new Cockrel administration for not bagging the whole thing. We all know gay is a touchy subject in Detroit.

More importantly, it's time that the gay community in Detroit goes on the offensive to attract gays who are looking for a more urban lifestyle but are simply unaware of what Detroit has to offer. I am tired of talking to queens at Pronto who ask if I live in one of those "new lofts" or in one of those neighborhoods they rehabbed. I need queens in the city so I can socialize and not have to give a City Living 101 lecture.

Besides, Hazel Park is simply unacceptable. What's next, Warren? Sheesh.

This is seriously the cutest house I could find in a
google image search for Hazel Park.

A photo I saved - apparently for just this moment - from a Free Press article
about Hazel Park from about four years ago.


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Monday, September 22, 2008

Guest Blogger: Backintheday

Our friend Backintheday has checked in with another tale from times past. This time he shares a little history of The Woodward Bar in New Center - opened in 1951 and either the oldest gay bar in Michigan or the USA, depending on the person you are talking to.


“TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT” – Andy Karagas and The Woodward Bar



The Woodward Bar
sits on a rather forlorn block of Woodward Avenue just south of Grand Boulevard. Back in the day things weren’t a whole lot different. By day, straights from General Motors headquarters and the Fisher building walked in off Woodward for a drink and a burger during their lunch hour. By night, an unmarked door off the alley was the point of entry. While you might think that such a covert entrance must have had “shame” written in neon overhead, it felt more like the door to a secret realm of possibilities – straights need not apply.

I started going there around 1974. I’d like to tell you I was under-aged but I’m trying to be unflinchingly honest in my writing. I can at least say that, in the wisdom of the enlightened politicians of that era, the drinking age in Michigan had been lowered to 18. And, I believe it’s safe to say, I was Chicken.



Upon entering, the door would slam in announcement of the latest arrival. And emerging from a short darkness into the main bar, one found the entire place eager to see who it was. My entrance and that of any number of the younger crowd would provoke Andy Karagas, the fifty-something Greek-American owner to shout out in his gravely voice “HOT NUMBER!” I always met this greeting with a wan smile. I was young and nervous and leery of attention (all the while, fiercely wanting to be desired). As the years went on, Andy’s cry of “HOT NUMBER” began to carry less and less enthusiasm. Whether he became tired of his own schtick or I became less and less a hot number won’t be debated here but his great personality never wavered. We all loved Andy.

Another famous line of his was “TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT” which he’d bellow at any random moment giving us all a sort of cheer of encouragement. And on the weekends a middle-aged waitress called out “ANYBODY WANNA?” then paused before finishing up in a quieter tone with “drink?” thus clarifying her intentions. She had the kind of hair that earned her the nickname “The Governor” after Ann Richards, governor of Texas and the proud owner of a sky high, Lone Star State
beehive.

If all this sounds corny, it was. They knew it and we knew it. And that’s what made it so great. In the typically overheated, sexually charged atmosphere of any gay bar full of horny little twenty year olds, a little comedy goes a long way in defusing the tension.

"Hot number!"

As much as Andy made you feel welcome, he also knew the draw of a handsome boy behind the bar. And there were more than a few over the years. The one that will always stay in my mind was Robbie. Robbie of the long curly hair long after anyone had long hair. Robbie of the angelic face and languid eyes. Robbie of the gentle but completely masculine demeanor. When I first crossed the threshold of The Woodward, I knew if he was gay than it was okay to be gay. And all I could think of when Andy yelled in my direction “HOT NUMBER” was “Did you hear that Robbie? Did you? I’m a hot number!” Never mind that the phrase was repeated over and over with every new arrival.

At the age of nineteen, I was drinking Old Grand Dad bourbon and water because my dad drank Old Grand Dad and water. And I can tell you that at The Woodward they were 90¢ a piece because I sat in Robbie’s section staring, love-sick across the bar drinking one after the other until I had ten dimes in change lined up in front of me. At which point, unproposed to, I left him with that whopping tip and pointed myself in the direction of the car. Night after night this played out but I was never able to convince my Adonis to rescue me from my “well of loneliness.” Years later I saw him naked at the gym in Royal Oak. I confess I pleasured myself in the whirlpool.

Back then I fell in love every other day. But of all the boys I felt completely lovesick over, few came close to Robbie. Living life fully means puppy love, infatuations and having your heart broken, and – even though it’s unbelievable at the time – getting over it and moving on. While writing this, I inquired about Robbie through old friends only to find out that he died a few years back. He couldn’t have been more than 50.

By the looks of
its web site, The Woodward lives on today catering to a gay African-American crowd. The bar itself was never anything special, just two narrow rooms and a few tables – it was Andy and his crew that made the magic happen. It would be great to think that on any given night, the current owner is giving some insecure little newbie a shout out of “HOT NUMBER”, and letting him think for just a moment, “Hey. Maybe I am!”

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not so SMART

Happily, I received the call that my car was finally fixed after the most recent theft attempt. Unhappily, I had no one who could give me a lift out to Grosse Pointe to pick it up. So I thought, what a perfect time to give the bus a try!

I've been toying with the idea of taking the bus somewhere in the two weeks I've been car free. I was going to take it to a doctor's appointment but I was worried I wouldn't arrive on time. As a joke I was going to take it to some fancy event I had to attend at Somerset but I was worried about the bus schedule later at night. And I didn't want to sit on the bus for two hours each way.

Since a trip to the dealership during the day seemed like the right time. I went to the SMART website (the bus that takes you to the suburbs), found my route (which very conveniently started blocks from my home and ended blocks from my destination), walked to the stop and waited. And waited a little more. A few DDOT busses stopped or slowed down until I waved them on, but my SMART bus was running a little late. No biggie.

Then it appeared. I stood at the Bus Stop sign, so excited to undertake my latest urban adventure, and then watched at the bus sped right past me. With the lady driving starting right at me. As I waved to try and flag her down, looking like a giant loser.

I think I'll stick to walking, mooching rides off friends or cabbing for my future car-free needs.

Monica Conyers as Co-Pilot

I can't help but think it will be a little bit like this:

Do you know where you're going to?
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One More Day to Vote!


Voting for the Metro Times Best of Detroit readers' poll ends tomorrow night at midnight!

Don't forget to
Vote the Supergay Slate!

And while you're at it ... might you also consider voting for Supergay Detroit as "Best Blog" in the
Ambassador Magazine Red Seal Awards? It's a much shorter ballot - only 24 categories, mostly food and fashion - and I don't know if you even have to vote for every category! Last year's winner is on maternity leave so it's not like I'll even be going after someone else's spot!

A few spots overlap with the official pro-gay pro-Detroit Supergay Slate, so you could consider voting for:

Best Restaurant (overall) : Atlas Global Bistro

Best Gourmet Market : Zaccaro's

Best Blog : Supergay Detroit!

Best Furniture Store : Mezzanine

Best Florist : Blossoms or Blumz

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Detroit Then and ... Then

My mom forwarded me an e-mail full of old-timey Detroit pictures. You know, people lined up for the streetcars outside of Kern's department store, houses of famous Motown stars, the Bob-Lo boat. Pretty standard issue, the stuff people who lived in Detroit before the giant suburban explosion like to reminsce about.

I thought these two were most interesting, and really showed the evolution of one of Detroit's more interesting areas.

Woodward between Six and Seven Mile, 1908


Woodward between Six and Seven Mile, 1909

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Idiots everywhere I turn

The above-the-fold headline in today's Detroit News: AIDS RATES DOUBLE FOR MICHIGAN YOUTH.

Do not be fooled - it was not tucked away in the "Health" section.
Idiocy right on the front page.

So I would have expected that 25 years into this epidemic any reasonably intelligent person - such as a newspaper journalist or editor - would be clear on the difference between HIV and AIDS. HIV is the virus. People with HIV don't necessarily have AIDS. AIDS is a syndrome caused by the effects of virus. They are not the same thing. It's pretty elementary.

AIDS rates have not doubled - as a matter of fact they have plummeted since the mid-1990s. It is HIV infection rates that are found to have doubled.

It's an excellent sensationalist headline though. So I guess, nice job, Detroit News. Be proud.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Try This

I've been sniffing around blog widgets to see if they are actually enhancements or just another disappointment like Enzyte (hey! what!). One I thought was kind of cool is this thing called Snap, which gives you little snapshot previews of links to webpages, Wikipedia entries, YouTube videos, etc. You get the preview by rolling your mouse cursor over the little Snap icon next to the link.


"This one gets the Zorro snap!"

I'm not 100% sold on the whole thing - visually it's a little distracting and I hate the advertising links that appear below the image (although I have them set to show charities). And does it slow things down? The up-side is that it's kind of cool and you don't have to take time to navigate to external links.

Let me know what you think, if I should keep it or ditch it. Feedback is essential here peoples. If you end up hating it while it's still on the site you can disable it by going to the little gear box inside the Snap window and turning it off.

Questions? Comments? Criticisms?
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Monday, September 8, 2008

Love me

Someone tried to steal my car again the first full day I was back in Detroit from SF, so that was really, um, bracing.

While I was gone I was telling friends about the things I missed about Detroit and how I was having a great time but was looking forward to getting back, but just before I left I remembered that every time I come back from a great trip something happens within the first 24 hours to remind me that I am Detroit's bitch. Getting called faggot by a Tiger fan fifteen minutes after returning from the Chicago Gay Games opening ceremonies was the first time, but since then there's been the smack in the face of Greektown ugliness while walking to work in January because my car is still in the shop from the most recent auto trauma, some work bullshit that is totally tied to the particular quirks of our very evolved regional population that I can't really go into ... or this. You know, for example. It's always something.

I think a lot of people who move away fall into this trap - you remember the great neighborhoods and architecture and people and the really special places like Belle Isle or the Detroit Institute of Arts and the great events like Dally in the Alley or the Electronic Music Festival, but you forget that sometimes livng here can be a big mouthful of feces.

I felt good for about a minute when Kwame resigned, but now I'm more worried about
Monica Conyers and her ghetto ass being President of the City Council. I mean, she really is pure trash, about the worst we have to dish up as far as image and behavior go. I don't know why John Conyers keeps her around, he is a high-ranking Congressman, he could have anyone. She must be one freaky lay. So anyway, this led to looking at pictures of Kwame on the Detroit News website today and reminiscing about the good times. My civic self-esteem is in the gutter.

Well, enough Monday Moanin'. This is really just a roundabout way of saying I am not above playing the sympathy card to get you to
vote for me in the Metro Times Best of Detroit reader's poll.

This overly-fabulous Kylie video below is serving as my official campaign song. It sends a positive but nearly subliminal message - plus it helps cheer you up when it all just seems too much.

So come on, love me! Vote the Supergay Slate today!

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Speaking of 70's gay activism

The clip of Anita Bryant in the "Milk" trailer got me digging, and I found this awesome clip of gays protesting her anti-gay crusade in the 70's. By throwing a pie in her face.

You have to admit, once upon a time the gays did their protesting with panache.


And if you don't know who Anita Bryant is or her significance to the gay rights movement then shame on you. And click here.




"Four self-proclaimed homosexuals from Minneapolis interrupted the proceedings..."

Oh, and in the "Karma's a Bitch" department (currently represented by spokesmodel Sarah Palin, who cut programs for disabled children and pregnant teens), one of Bryant's sons turned out gay. Allegedly.

Sometimes I can just tell that God has an awesome sense of humor. And He/She loves the gay.

An important heads-up

This is not really locally gay-related, but I thought it was really noteworthy. The movie trailer for "Milk" has been posted, you can check it out here. It looks like the film will be great.


The significance of Harvey Milk in the gay rights and entire civil rights movement cannot be understated. If you are not familiar with him, you need to do a little googling. If you are gay and not familiar with him, shame on you.

Looks like we'll get the movie here sometime in December. Excellent!
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Thursday, September 4, 2008

More Mess!

My "welcome home" to Detroit not only includes regime change but also another chance to disco with royalty (well, queens) at Fierce Hot Mess! The next installment is tomorrow night, Friday September 5, at Oslo. Show up after ten.




One thing this San Francisco trip has demonstrated, as if I weren't already banging this drum, is that a healthy gay community actually participates in the cool shit going on instead of only hitting the same old bar every week. The last Fierce Hot Mess was a fierce hot time, and I hope I"ll see you at this next one!
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Finally, it has happened to me ...

Well, Kwame has finally made the plea and will resign. I knew if I held out long enough he would capitulate. I guess he did know how to quit us after all.

I will now return from exile in San Francisco and resume my gaily routine.
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This and Thursday Styles and Home & Garden ... does it get any better??

Monday, September 1, 2008

Best of Detroit: The Supergay Slate

Hey kids what time is it? It's time to vote in the Metro Times Best of Detroit reader's choice poll! And I would like you to vote for me again this year! Yes, more election season drama!

I don't think I that I ask too much from you, my wonderful readership. Expect too much? Of course. But ask? Not really. I do enjoy/require a little affirmation from time to time, however, and this is such a cheap, easy and less invasive way to give it, how can you possibly deny me?

The Metro Times Best of Detroit poll is also a really great way to help out our fellow gays and gay-friendlies who are doing all the right kinds of things in the city. Since the onerous rules of the poll require you vote in at least 20 categories, I've put together the Supergay Slate with my picks that you can use! All you have to do is set aside five minutes, go to this link, and vote for these deserving entities ... or pick some of your very own! It's fun, it's easy, and you can send a virtual pick-me-up bouquet to a bunch of folks who would really love it!

And when you are done, why don't you email this slate to your wonderful friends! Click here to forward this post.



Metro Times Best of Detroit 2008: The Supergay Slate

Best Detroit Riverfront Attraction : Bike Rentals (from our friends at Wheelhouse!)

Best Dog Park : Doggy Style co-presenter
Canine to Five's urban dog park

Best Local Radio Talk Show : Detroit Public Radio's
Detroit Today (because sometimes they let me talk on it)

Best Local News Blog : Detroitist (
detroitist.blogspot.com)

Best Local Pop Culture Blog : Supergay Detroit! (
supergaydetroit.blogspot.com)

Best Florist : This is a toughie, there are two deserving gay-owned florists. My pick this year is
Blossoms because, while they are located in Birmingham, the owners just spent like $17 million renovating the Frank Lloyd Wright Turkel House in Detroit. Blumz owners also live in Detroit, and they have a location here, but this past year their money went into expanding the Ferndale location. It's really kind of a wash, so pick your fave.

Best Place to Buy Furniture :
Mezzanine (although Ikea or Art Van always win this category, so you may want to save your vote for ...)

Best Indie Home Furnishing Store : Mezzanine, or
Bureau of Urban Living. (both are deserving - and while Mezzanine is gay-owned Bureau is as gay friendly as you can be. Pick your fave!)

Best Gourmet Grocery Store : Zaccaro’s (because they really are quite lovely, if you are not buying produce, and I need them to stick around because they are so convenient)

Best Health Club : Downtown YMCA

Best Bike Shop : Wheelhouse

Best New Nightspot (Last 2 Years) :
Park Bar (last chance in this category!)

Best Gay Bar : Detroit Guerrilla Queer Bar (because it really is)

Best Beer Selection in a Bar : Park Bar

Best Place to get a Martini :
Centaur, home of the original gay straight guy, and great friends

Best Jukebox :
Honest? John’s Bar & No Grill

Best Jazz Club : Cliff Bell’s

Best Restaurant Under $15 per diner :
Bucharest Grill (inside the Park Bar)

Best Restaurant Under $50 per diner : my fave,
Atlas Global Bistro

Best Hangover Brunch : Honest? John’s Bar & No Grill

Best Barbeque Restaurant : Slows Bar BQ

Best Neighborhood Pizza :
Motor City Brewing Works or ...

Best Gourmet Pizza Place :
Supino Pizzeria (Dave Mancini’s great new place in Eastern Market - thanks Open City! Let's give the new guy a boost!)

Best Brewpub Restaurant : Motor City Brewing Works

Best Beer Selection in a restaurant : Slows Bar BQ

Best Bakery : Avalon International Breads (family owned and operated, if you know what I mean!)

Best Tea Room : No comment (do they mean what I think they mean??)

Best Indie Coffee Shop:
Rowland Café (in the Guardian Building)
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