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What Happens to New Restaurants Trying to Open in the Middle of a Pandemic?

Reniel Billups was just weeks away from her restaurant’s grand opening. After three years of planning and eight months of construction, Flavors of Jamaica was scheduled to debut on April 4. Then, the novel coronavirus happened. At a time when most new restaurant owners would be worrying about final inspections and staff training, Billups is wondering about the future of her business before it’s even had a chance to get off the ground.

13 Detroit Restaurant and Bar Openings to Look Forward to in 2020

ThanksThanks to the restaurant boom of the past decade, Detroit diners have more options for eating out in the city and the competition is increasingly stiff. Finding affordable space is more challenging, hiring staff is difficult, and inspections get backed up easily. As a whole, diners in Detroit are expecting a lot more out of a meal. It’s a lot of pressure on new owners to bring projects through to the finish line.

Detroit’s big restaurant stories in 2019 — and what to look forward to in 2020

More Detroit restaurants likely to close” — that was last year’s print headline for my annual crystal ball of a column making predictions for the local dining scene.

Immigrants Behind Baobab Fare Bring East African Flavor to Detroit

On a slow Thursday afternoon at Brooklyn Street Local, owner Deveri Gifford gives Hamissi Mamba a lesson in filling an order. “So a ticket comes in here,” Gifford says, picking up a recent order. “We have bacon, blue burger with fries on a white bun, medium rare.” 

Burundi Refugees Bringing East African Cuisine To Detroit This Fall

Events like Small Business Week help to remind us of the contributions of small business owners throughout the country, including those started by refugees. New American Economy research found that nationwide, refugees earned more than $77 billion in household income and paid almost $21 billion in taxes in 2015 alone. Refugees also have some of the highest entrepreneurship rates in the United States…

Baobab Fare Serves Dishes From Burundi to Detroit’s New Center Neighborhood

“Baobab” is the name of the African Tree of Life. It’s also half the name of Nadia Nijimbere and Hamissi Mamba’s forthcoming restaurant, Baobab Fare. Located in Detroit’s New Center Neighborhood, it will be one of the few East African restaurants in the City of Detroit.

What’s the Next Big Food Trend in Detroit for 2019?

Want to get ahead of the trends? Here’s some restaurants and story lines to pay attention to in 2019…

The best things we ate in Michigan this year

Lamb shank at Sullaf. (814 W. Seven Mile Rd., Detroit; 313-893-5657) Most of the Chaldean population that lived in the area around Seven Mile east of Woodward for decades has moved out, but thankfully, Sullaf still stands. There’s no menu —

Hamissi Mamba, Baobab Fare

Detroit welcomes immigrants to spur the city’s revival

Hamissi Mamba walks through the guts of what will be his new restaurant, Baobab Fare in Detroit. Originally from Burundi, Mamba relocated to Michigan two years ago, learned English, and is now a budding entrepreneur.


The Burundian refuges join us after fleeing political violence in Burundi just a few short years ago. With a mission to make a name for themselves, Southwest Detroit’s Freedom House was called home while seeking asylum.