City Bakery’s arrival in Detroit was preceded by glowing comments about its attractions, including rich hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows, gigantic cookies, and pretzel croissants.
The architecture and history of the Art Deco Fisher Building itself, it turns out, is one of the reasons why Detroit was chosen by City Bakery’s founder and guiding spirit, Maury Rubin.
Rubin was intrigued by the vibe about Detroit’s recent upswing. And another factor might have weighed in, too. “It reminds me of my home town, Baltimore,” another gritty old city with a blue-collar mentality, he said recently while in Detroit, a trip he makes from his home base in New York so frequently it is a virtual commute. “Would you believe it’s two and a half hours from my apartment in New York to the Fisher Building?” he says.
Rubin was in and out of town regularly all during the year of planning and construction it took to put City Bakery together on the main floor and the complete kitchen on the level below where all of the food and baked goods are prepared. “I’ll be spending a lot of time in Detroit in the near future, and I’m excited about that,” he says.
“Bakery” is something of a misnomer for this multi-faceted place. It caters as well as bakes, and serves a menu of soups, salads, and sandwiches cafeteria-style in its high-ceilinged space, which includes some seating. Much is carry-out for the people in the building and the office workers in the neighborhood, many of whom have already met the casually dressed Rubin, who is approachable and friendly.
Rubin is not at all what some would visualize as the owner of an international enterprise. That might stem from his previous career as a producer and director for ABC Sports. That ended when a trip to France and a six-day pastry course inspired him to make a drastic career change more than 25 years ago.
The Detroit outpost is not a typical cafeteria experience. The food is handsomely displayed and the staff serves each individual diner. It is much more than an office building eatery, it’s a destination.
3011 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit. 7:30 a.m. -6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.