Detroit Shoppe Opens Nov. 1 at Somerset

Carol Hopkins
For Journal Register Newspapers
Macomb Daily

The Detroit Shoppe at Somerset Collection in Troy. The 4800 square-foot space has museum like exhibits Detroit memorabilia and iconic Detroit brands such as Better Made, Faygo among others. The shoppe will be open through the end of the Auto Show with proceeds going to charity.

Vernors, Hudson’s, Motown, Detroit Red Wings, Faygo — the names  alone evoke so many memories for native metro Detroiters.

Those iconic brands — along with memorable Detroit photographs and artifacts — are being featured at The Detroit Shoppe, which opens Nov. 1 at Somerset Collection in Troy.

The 4800-square-foot space next to Macy’s on the mall’s second floor, is curated in part by the Detroit Historical Museum. The store has a limited shelf life. It will be open through Jan. 23, the end of Detroit’s North American International Auto Show.

The space offers a sampling  of area museums. In one corner is a recreated Vernor’s soda fountain. In another, visitors can see Pewabic pottery tiles.

Guests are bound to linger over a corridor lined with black-and-white photos showing scenes from Detroit’s past.

Officials said they were inspired to create the shop after the success of a Somerset Collection advertising campaign featuring Detroit’s most famous spots.

“Detroit is talked about in documentaries of America,” said Linda McIntosh, Somerset Collection’s marketing director, “and the people, places the products of Detroit helped move the country forward.

“The shop is a billboard for the City of Detroit saying, ‘You belong here.’ We want people to experience what the city has to offer — whether it’s a trip to the Henry Ford Museum, or a night of jazz or to take in a hockey game.

“Our goal is to help people decide where to go in the city and encourage them to do that,” McIntosh said.

The store — which includes historical pieces loaned by private collectors — allows visitors to savor what has made Detroit great.

Small niche areas invite people to peek inside. One features a glimpse of the Detroit Hudson’s flagship department store, complete with a preserved store directory. Another space welcomes people into  a recreated 1960s-era Motown studio with handwritten music on display.

Many items are for sale. People with a hankering for Sanders hot fudge and other food products will be able to purchase them at the shop.

Detroit-themed books, calendars, collectibles, clothing and photographs are also on sale.

Debuting at the store is a $20 T-shirt emblazoned with the “Detroit Moves Me” slogan. Proceeds from shirt sales go to the charities. Shoppers can select six designated items for their “Great Detroit 6 Pack” and receive a $10 Somerset gift card in return.

The Somerset Foundation operates the store, with all proceeds from the sale of merchandise going to Detroit nonprofits and cultural institutions.

McIntosh credited the shop sponsors including Southeastern Michigan Lincoln Dealers and Quicken Loans for contributions.

“They’re the reason we can give every penny back,” said McIntosh.


Tours of famous Detroit area venues are being promoted by the Detroit Shoppe with free  shuttles provided from the Troy store. Reservations can be made in person at the store or by calling the store at 248-816-5470. Guests pay for their own costs at the venue, including tickets and food. Upon returning to the Detroit Shoppe, guests will be given time to shop and enjoy Sanders hot fudge sundae “shots.”

1 p.m., Nov. 7. Visit Cliff Bell’s Detroit jazz club and restaurant. Meet at The Detroit Shoppe for mimosas and Motor City Mary’s, then enjoy a jazz brunch at Cliff Bell’s.

10 a.m. Nov. 12, Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum. Meet at The Detroit Shoppe for continental breakfast. Guests will be shuttled to the Dearborn attractions.

6 p.m. Nov. 18, Pewabic Pottery. Meet at The Detroit Shoppe for appetizers courtesy of Eastern Market. Guests will enjoy champagne toast at Pewabic.

6 p.m. Dec. 3, Detroit Institute of Arts. Meet at The Detroit Shoppe for appetizers courtesy of Eastern Market. Tour of the art museum follows.

6 p.m. Dec. 10, Motown Museum/American Coney Island. Guests meet at The Detroit Shoppe for appetizers courtesy of Eastern Market. They tour the museum and shop in its gift shop using a $10 Motown gift card.

 7 p.m. Dec. 16, Museum of African American History. Guests tour of museum and view the special exhibit “Music at the Apollo.” A reception at Cliff Bell’s follows.

The Detroit Shoppe is located next to Macy’s on the second floor (above the Apple store) of Somerset Collection North on Big Beaver Road in Troy. Guests may purchase memberships to any of the museums and institutions in the shop, and with each membership receive a $25 Somerset gift card. Call 248-816-5470. The store will be open during mall hours, visit
During the months of November and December, Operation: Kid Equip will award more than $1 million in books to each of the higher-poverty public schools the organization serves in Macomb and Oakland Counties. Roughly 90 schools will each receive an award valued at $10,000 in new reading and educational books.

Operation: Kid Equip works to increase the reading skills and academic achievements of children in need.

“This special award will allow children to claim reading as their own,” said Michael (Menachem) Kniespeck, founder and general director of Operation: Kid Equip. “Many teachers have told us about the excitement children feel when they receive a new book. Some teachers have told us that the books Operation: Kid Equip provides were often the first or only new book a child has ever received.”

During the next month, each of Operation: Kid Equip’s board members will also select a public school or nonprofit group of their choosing in southeastern Michigan to surprise with a $10,000 book grant. Each school, district or organization receiving an award will be able to schedule picking up the books from Operation: Kid Equip starting the second week of November.

Operation: Kid Equip works with publishers who donate book overruns and excess stock. The organization also receives books through its partnerships with other aid agencies around the nation. For this special award, a private donor helped cover the costs of transporting the books to Operation: Kid Equip for distribution.

As an all-volunteer organization, Operation: Kid Equip provides free supplemental school supplies, books, hygiene and food items for local children in need. Currently, the organization serves about 38,000 children a month across 90 schools in Macomb, Oakland and parts of Wayne County. Operation: Kid Equip works with public schools with 70 percent or more of the enrolled students eligible for the free and reduced-priced lunch program.

To learn more about Operation: Kid Equip, sign up to volunteer, or make a donation, visit the organization’s web site:
Joann Muller

When General Motors went into bankruptcy, it had too many brands, too many factories and too many dealers. So GM did what most companies with too much capacity do--it cut to the core, saving only what was viable. Today GM is a smaller but much healthier company.

Can a city follow the same path? That's essentially the controversial plan of Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, a basketball Hall of Famer who ran his own automotive supply company for three decades before his election in May 2009. He wants to strengthen Detroit's viable neighborhoods and raze or recycle the rest of the city--some 40 square miles in all, or 30% of its land--for new industries, sprawling residential lots, public parks and urban farms. But that means trying to entice the remaining residents of the failed neighborhoods to relocate. The carrot? He's fixing up some of the 50,000 foreclosed homes owned by the city in more stable areas--and offering each for a nominal sum to those willing to relocate there.

The mayor vows that people will not be forced from their homes as the city is reshaped. But he's counting on the lure of safer streets, convenient shopping and modern services to convince residents in dying areas to move. By concentrating limited resources in areas with the highest population density, he's hopeful Detroit can be saved. Still, this is no easy task. "I am not naive," says the soft-spoken 66-year-old Bing. "We are asking people who have lived here for generations to change. But if we don't change we'll fail, and I don't want to be part of that failure."

Geographically Detroit is a huge city; the urban footprints of Manhattan, San Francisco and Boston could fit inside its limits. But m any neighborhoods are virtual ghost towns. The city has lost 60% of its population since 1950, when it was home to 1.85 million people.

On the 13300 block of Flanders Street, for instance, there's an eerie emptiness to the neighborhood. Three elderly women live alone on the block in tidy wood-frame houses, with neatly trimmed lawns and colorful gardens surrounded by chain-link fences. The rest of the houses on Flanders are boarded up, burned out or otherwise abandoned.

"If there are only 50 houses in a neighborhood where there used to be 2,000, is that really viable?" asks Karla Henderson, who oversees Bing's Detroit Works Project. Of the city's 54 neighborhoods only 15 have been deemed healthy by city officials. "Even our stronger neighborhoods are tipping," she says. Over the next four years Bing will use a threefold increase in federal neighborhood stabilization money to tear down 10,000 dangerous structures in all-but-abandoned neighborhoods.

Bill Keveney
USA Today

The detective chases the suspect into a huge, abandoned building, a decaying structure that has the air of faded majesty.

It's clearly not a Hollywood soundstage, nor one of those all-too-familiar landmarks of New York or Los Angeles. It's Michigan Central Station, built in 1913 and captured in ABC's new cop drama, Detroit 1-8-7.

From the streets of Miami to downtown Honolulu, more network and cable TV series are being filmed across the states, with authentic backdrops that give viewers a refreshing break from the Hollywood sign and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Lower costs and tax breaks help, but studio executives say creative advantages are the top reason for moving beyond the filming capitals; the location becomes an additional character in the drama.

"You can invite the audience into where they actually are," says David Stapf, chief of CBS Television Studios, which produces Hawaii Five-0. "A scene that normally might take place on a stage, you can have take place on the beach."

Numerous first-year series are being filmed where they're set, or nearby, including 1-8-7 and Five-0; NBC's Chase (with Dallas substituting for Houston); Fox's The Good Guys (Dallas); and A&E's The Glades (South Florida). Fox's Lone Star and ABC's My Generation, both canceled, filmed in Texas.

They join other series shot on location, such as NBC and DirecTV's Friday Night Lights (Austin), USA's Burn Notice (Miami), FX's Terriers (San Diego's Ocean Beach) and HBO's Hung (Detroit). And new shows Blue Bloods on CBS and Law & Order: Los Angeles on NBC make New York and L.A., respectively, integral to the stories rather than just making use of the cities' industry infrastructure.

Hawaii Five-0 already has taken viewers to the International Market Place in Waikiki; the Manoa Valley; the surfing-heavy North Shore; and the Kahala Hotel, famed for its dolphins. 1-8-7 has gone to Hart Plaza, near the landmark Renaissance Center; Grosse Pointe; Dearborn; and Hamtramck. Good Guys viewers have seen the architecturally distinctive Dallas City Hall and Fountain Place.

'Landscape tells the story'

Shooting on location "profoundly affects the storytelling," says Matt Nix, executive producer of Good Guys and Burn Notice. Burn Notice originally was to be set in Newark; the shift to Miami meant a substantial atmospheric change.

"The first level is, 'Oh, there's a neighborhood called Little Havana. Let's shoot there,' " he says. "By the fourth season, you're into Little Dominica. You're into a distinction between Hollywood Beach and Miami Beach. If you're on the run from the law, you're more likely to hide in Hollywood than Miami Beach."

And for the cast, location filming can be an eye-opener. "Little did I know Detroit is such a fabulous town," 1-8-7 co-star James McDaniel says. "Detroit is sorely misunderstood by the nation. We finished working in a place called Palmer Woods, which is a glorious, beautiful neighborhood. We were shooting in this dentist's house, (which) was more a museum of black American art than you've ever seen."

Since many series succeed without being shot on location —CSIs set in Las Vegas, Miami and New York are all filmed in L.A., as is D.C.-based NCIS— why shoot somewhere else? More important, do audiences know or care?

Viewers need to be transported into the world of a show, whether it's filmed in L.A., as is New York-set Castle, or on location, as is 1-8-7, says ABC executive vice president of creative Barry Jossen, whose studio produces both shows.

"It needs to feel real. Anything that feels unreal or incongruent creates a disconnect," he says. "As it relates to Detroit 1-8-7, one of the great qualities that shooting in Detroit offers us is not just verisimilitude but authenticity. There are certain architectural looks to the city. There is the actual demographics of the population base. Wherever you point the camera, it is real Detroit."

The audience does notice the city, 1-8-7 star Michael Imperioli says. "It's visually very specific, and the landscape really tells the story of this city and what it's been through, the ups and downs and difficulties. It's also really helped our writers to tailor the stories to what actually happens here. There is a feeling that it's about the city and specific issues they deal with."

Some places just can't be re-created. "If it was me and I'm watching the show as a fan, something like Hawaii Five-0 I would want to feel was shot there. Other shows (film in Los Angeles) and do such a good job," says executive producer Peter Lenkov, a veteran of L.A.-filmed CSI: NY. "It's just the legacy of this show, being shot in Hawaii. I couldn't do this show anyplace but Hawaii."

Detroit offers a different look, with sites such as the train station pulling the viewer right into the Motor City, 1-8-7 executive producer Kevin Hooks says.

"It's still a landmark of Detroit. It was once just a grand, old building," he says. Such locations "give us an opportunity to speak in a voice that is truly unique and is something that has not been seen by TV audiences."

For all the authenticity and creative opportunity, money remains a major motivation. About 40 states offer a range of incentives, such as a tax credit of up to 42% in Michigan, which is enjoying its best production year. Hawaii offers a 15% rebate for production money spent on Oahu and 20% on the other islands; Texas, enjoying the most productions it has ever had, provides a 15% cash rebate.

The amount of shooting in Texas "is directly attributable to the incentive program we have in place. I assure you they wouldn't be here if it didn't make financial sense," Texas Film Commission director Bob Hudgins says.

Studios get savings that can make a project affordable, while the state enjoys tax, job and other benefits from millions of dollars injected into the economy. A record $391 million is expected to be spent on TV and film production in Hawaii this year.

Been there, done that

Experienced film crews also attract producers. Nix says that was a plus in choosing Dallas for Good Guys and Miami for Burn Notice. "One of the great things about both cities is they've had action shows shot there. When you go to Dallas and much of your crew worked on or worked with people who worked on Walker, Texas Ranger, nobody bats an eye when you say you want to drive this car off the side of a parking garage.

"In Miami, having had Miami Vice, it gets down to stuff like, 'We can spin a car out at that corner, and there's a pylon, which is a great place to smash it.' They know every place you can do a car chase, every place you can flip a car," Nix says.

States also gain exposure, which helps with anything from tourism to image. Lost, which was supposed to be on a mysterious island, and Five-0 show off the beauty of Hawaii in different ways, says Daniel Dae Kim, a star of both shows.

"On Lost, we were using a lot of jungle locations, being very careful not to use any sign of civilization. Hawaii Five-0 has a lot more leeway and can actually serve as a postcard for Hawaii. It can show off the natural and man-made scenery."

There is a risk, however, in setting a show about homicide detectives in a city like Detroit; it could simply reinforce a downtrodden image. Cast and crew say they're sensitive to that and try to balance the portrayal.

"There's a lot of crime and decay here. I don't want to paint a false picture. But I don't think (1-8-7) exploits that nor is it the single focus," Imperioli says. "We're not just telling stories about gang violence and drug crimes and drive-by shootings. The city has a lot of different elements. There are wealthier neighborhoods, middle-class neighborhoods and poorer neighborhoods. We're going into all of that."

"We're not doing Cops here," 1-8-7's McDaniel says. "If we were to just show Detroit from the lower-depths standpoint, that would be what journalists do. Dog bites man, over and over again."

And when it comes to escap-ism, a place like Hawaii can just make Hawaii Five-0 a pleasant show to visit. "In the dead of winter, when it's 30 degrees outside, I think (viewers) really want to believe Hawaii is that beautiful and warm and the actors are actually there," Kim says.

Imperioli, center in suit, shoots a scene on location in Detroit for the episode titled "Murder in Greektown/High School Confidential."
Yahoo News

Molly Abraham, Special Edition to the Detroit News

Twenty Detroit-area restaurants have been named among "America's Top Restaurants" in the 2011 edition of the influential national Zagat guide. The slim maroon book, which rates 1,552 restaurants in 45 major cities, arrives in bookstores today.

The rankings represent the opinions of ordinary diners who register on to comment about the food, decor, service and cost of restaurants selected by editors of Zagat, one of the best known but most mispronounced names in the world of restaurant ratings — zuh-GAT (rhymes with cat) is the way to say it.

"Anyone who is passionate about food can be one of our surveyors," says Tiffany Herklots, communications director at The 2011 guide ($15.95) represents a cross-section of the views and comments of more than 153,000 diners who have visited the restaurants they vote for in the past year.

Ten Detroit area restaurants achieved the top tier ranking of 28, 27 or 26 points out of a possible 30. That's pretty much as difficult as batting over .400. Another 10 local restaurants receive the designation of "other noteworthy places." That might seem akin to coming in second in a beauty contest, but it's solid recognition nonetheless.

Bacco Ristorante in Southfield and the Lark in West Bloomfield Township are the only local spots to get 28 points out of the possible 30. In the Zagat guide, Bacco fans call it "superb" and a place to "see-and-be-seen," while the Lark draws such comments as "still the top of the heap" and "old-school elegant."

Bill Roberts, the only local proprietor with not one, but two, restaurants in the top tier — the Beverly Hills Grill in Beverly Hills, which has made the list before, and Streetside Seafood in Birmingham, which shows up for the first time — says it's "thrilling" to be included.

"It's great to be acknowledged by our guests, who are the ones who write in and get the ratings to the guide," he says. "Our staff does such a good job. We tweak and change and try to make things better, and this sort of recognition makes it all worthwhile."

Guests of Streetside Seafood quoted in the guide call it "happening," "a neighborhoood favorite" and say it has "fantastic seafood."

Craig Common, chef/proprietor of the Common Grill in Chelsea, also is not a newcomer to the Zagat ratings yet excited to be included.

"This will probably be the sixth or seventh time, but I'm never tired of it," he says. "It's nice to be recognized, and it's a good feather in the cap of the staff. The guests who've supported us all these years will be excited, too." Comments from Common Grill patrons include "worth the drive" and "uncommonly good."

The Zagat guide originated in 1979 as a hobby for husband-and-wife team Tim and Nina Zagat, but now rates hotels and resorts as well as restaurants and has a staff of 100 in New York, an online shop and international scope.

With an e-mail address and ZIP code, diners can register at to provide feedback about restaurants from a list created by Zagat editors in that area. There are two ways to contribute: by participating in surveys throughout the year, or going to a restaurant's Zagat property page and providing feedback after a dining experience. Restaurants with a lot of positive feedback are included in the "America's Top Restaurants 2011" guide, with some editorial discretion to include restaurants that are particularly well-known.

Zagat's Detroit top food rankings

The Lark, 6430 Farmington Road, West Bloomfield Township. (248) 661-4466.

Bacco Ristorante, 29410 Northwestern Highway, Southfield. (248) 356-6600.

Common Grill, 112 S. Main St., Chelsea. (734) 475-0470.

Zingerman's Delicatessen, 422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor. (734) 663-3354.

Cafe Cortina, 30715 W. 10 Mile, Farmington Hills. (248) 474-3033.

Beverly Hills Grill, 31471 Southfield Road, Beverly Hills. (248) 642-2355.

Saltwater, 1777 Third St., Detroit. (313) 465-1646.

West End Grill, 120 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor. (734) 747-6260.

Streetside Seafood, 273 Pierce St., Birmingham. (248) 645-9123.

Logan, 115 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor. (734) 327-2313.

Other noteworthy places

Assaggi Bistro, 330 W. Nine Mile, Ferndale. (248) 584-3499.

Atlas Global Bistro, 3111 Woodward Ave., Detroit. (313) 831-2241.

Capital Grille, 2800 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy. (248) 649-5200.

The Earle, 121 W. Washington St., Ann Arbor. (734) 994-0211.

Eve, 1415 N. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor. (734) 222-0711.

Hong Hua, 27925 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills. (248) 489-2280.

Rattlesnake Club, 300 River Place, Detroit. (313) 567-4400.

Roast, 1128 Washington Blvd., Detroit. (313) 961-2500.

Rugby Grill, 100 Townsend St., Birmingham. (248) 642-5999.

The Whitney, 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit. (313) 832-5700.

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