Nationally, Nicole Curtis is best known as a motivational speaker, author, and the renovation extraordinaire behind the historic home projects featured on DIY Network and HGTV’s Rehab Addict — some of which are based in Detroit. Locally, however, the Lake Orion native, who splits her time between her homes in Los Angeles and Detroit, as well as being on the road for speaking engagements in cities across the country, is a regular at a number of Detroit’s most beloved attractions. “Anything that is local, outside, and homegrown, that’s my thing,” Curtis says. She shares a typical Saturday in the city, which often involves biking to her favorite parks, shops, and eateries with her family and Rehab Addict crew.
“Eastern Market has two waves, the super-early crazy people and the suburbanites that come out around lunchtime. Our sweet spot is 9-10 a.m. On Saturday, we get up and get breakfast over at Russel Street Deli. I love their raisin bread French toast. It’s also next to Zeff’s Coney Island. We switch off between those two restaurants. If we don’t eat at Zeff’s, my little one has to still go in to say ‘hello’ to Ms. Dee, Zeff’s sister. I’m one of those freaky regulars (laughs).”
“I was taken to Eastern Market as a little girl by my grandparents, who have since passed, and it’s a magical place to me. Shed 5 is our favorite spot because of Nasser Salameh with A&H Produce — he is a delight and wooed us with samples many years back. We roam through the rest of the market for a few hours, always peeking into Eastern Market Antiques. I mosey around there with hot tea; I take it to go from breakfast. Anything you see in our shows is sourced locally, and everything I buy goes directly into a house. We’re never not working, because when you do the kind of work that we do, it’s enjoyable. Our wheels are always spinning, and we’re always plotting a new project.”
“We’re never not working, because when you do the kind of work that we do, it’s enjoyable. Our wheels are always spinning, and we’re always plotting a new project.”
Wonders of Water
“We leave Eastern Market around 1 p.m. If it’s a sunny, warm day, we’ll spend the rest of the afternoon on Belle Isle. The treasure of Detroit has always been the waterfront, and I’m a water person. I’ve been a member at the Detroit Yacht Club for years — it’s not a status thing — it’s a matter of the pool, and I keep our kayaks there. It’s been so spectacular to see the transformation on Belle Isle. We are frequent visitors to the nature center and the aquarium, all of which were closed back when we first started coming. The rest of the city has been great, but, for me, Belle Isle has been the most amazing gift. That’s where we spend the majority of our time.”
“One of my best friends, Vince Vazquez, owns Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine downtown. That’s our dinner spot. You can go straight from Belle Isle down the riverfront and right to the restaurant, so we typically ride our bikes there. It was my favorite place before I even knew Vince. I love the Pollo Lemon and plantains, but basically, anything on their menu is so delicious. They also make a fabulous sangria and have a patio. It’s a great place to wind down, children in tow. Then we bike home. Our bikes are decked out in the lights for Monday night Slow Roll [a weekly bike ride group in Detroit].”