Happy Accidents …  and Carefully Laid Plans


Story ideas come from many avenues. Some are painstakingly researched by Hour Detroit staffers or freelancers before they get the go-ahead. Others are generated by news — significant metro Detroit happenings in politics, sports, and the like.

Then there are the stories found by accident. For example, about a year ago, I visited a restaurant/bar in my old hometown. I was going to step outside for some “fresh air” (OK … I’ll admit it was for a smoke). On the way, I ran into a high school acquaintance. She was talking to this guy, and he said something like: “I’ll see you in a few months. I’m heading back to New Orleans.”

I was curious and asked what was taking him there. Come to find out, he’s an artist who had been hired by HBO for an upcoming series starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. He was supposed to channel the mindset of a murderer and develop paintings that would be the “clues” left by a serial killer.

I was intrigued by such a strange “job,” and since he’s from around here, we kept in touch. Now that True Detective is on the air, see what he came up with on page 35.

Another happy accident: During a snowstorm this winter, I decided to stay off the freeway and take the “scenic” route to work, winding my way through Detroit along Outer Drive. Heading up the “Avenue of Fashion” section of Livernois, I noticed a restaurant I’d been meaning to visit: 1917 American Bistro. So I stopped in, had a great dinner, and now they’re listed in our Restaurant Guide (page 98). On a more recent drive, I noted that they were closed for remodeling. Let’s just say that when they reopen, don’t miss a side of their “smashed potatoes.”

That brings us to the main event in our food coverage. Here’s a story that’s definitely in the “carefully laid plans” category: our annual Restaurant of the Year (page 66). You’ll find that the chef from this year’s nod has an extensive background in world-class kitchens in Europe. It’s certainly no accident his place is getting a lot of attention.

Bon appétit!


Our Restaurant of the Year article notes that traditionally, Detroit restaurants operated either in isolation or in competition with each other. But there’s a new breed of chef-owners who tend to stay in touch. “We share information. We talk a lot,” says the chef from this year’s selection (page 66). It’s interesting to note Hour Detroit is launching a new event that pairs perfectly with that attitude. I’m really looking forward to “Savor Detroit” in late April and early May. It’s going to be a five-night dinner series held at the new Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield. Each night, a different duo of chefs will prepare a gourmet meal. There will be wine pairings and unique art installations as well. If you’re like me and can’t wait to see who’s teaming up, visit savordetroit.com for more details.