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  1. #1

    Default Corktown's Katoi Restaurant destroyed in Arson Fire

    One of the better regarded restaurants that have sprouted up along the Michigan Avenue's restaurant row [and recently lauded as Best New Restaurant #1: Katoi, Detroit] was destroyed last night by a burglary/arson fire.

    A fire that "pretty well gutted" Katoi restaurant this morning in Detroit appears to have been started by burglars stealing liquor, a top fire official said.

    Nobody was injured in the fire reported at about 6:15 a.m., at Michigan Avenue and 17th. Arson investigators remain on the scene, and a tote bag of liquor was found by the back door.

    "It appears the fire was set to cover the break-in," Deputy Detroit Fire Commissioner David Fornell said.

  2. #2


    Terrible. Nemo's was robbed as well last night, could be the same culprits.

  3. #3


    Since Nemo's was hit the same night, hopefully that mean's they were not specifically targeting Katoi for its reputation as a fresh young hipster spot that attracts suburbanites. No one wins here. Sad day for Detroit no matter which side of the 'gentrification' debate you're on. Hopefully they can pull back quick. I hear there are some efforts to find the staff temporary employment until they can rebuild. Will post if I hear more.

  4. #4


    Yes, this is truly horrible. I hope they can come back behind this tragedy.

  5. #5


    I like the restaurant. Hopefully it will come back. Setting a fire to cover up a liquor heist seems confused on a risk/reward basis, so perhaps these aren't the brightest crooks.

  6. #6


    The 'and one' hit of arson can smell slightly of bad deal revenge and message sending.

  7. #7


    I remember running into Bill Kabbush, owner of the old 20 Grand, back in the 'seventies. I asked how was business, and he said he had a fire. I asked what kind, and he rubbed his hands and said "A nice one."

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Lowell View Post
    The 'and one' hit of arson can smell slightly of bad deal revenge and message sending.
    I agree. This has to be something personal.

  9. #9


    I am glad no one was hurt. I hope they are fully insured, and able to reopen. Glad to see that others are offering to help the staff in the meantime. Restaurants should be the first to help one another.

    As for the culprits, I hope they are caught and convicted. It does seem weird to me that they would strike a restaurant for liquor: very high risk. You can't (easily) resell the booze, it is probably more than you would need for personal consumption, the booze bottles are trackable. We already know they are stupid for doing it, but I truly wonder if there was reason or motivation beyond wanting to get drunk. Hopefully we find out soon.

  10. #10


    In Montreal, the Mob war for control of the Mafia means that a lot of businesses are set ablaze. It used to be that restaurants that got the third degree were victimized on account protection rackets, but now it's about weakening what is left of the old guard of the Rizutto crime family.

    On the other hand, competitors could also be responsible for getting rid of these two Detroit eateries.

    We also had a lot of vandalism and looting by anarchist bums fighting the so called gentrification going on in poorer neighborhoods. Personally, I can't find one fault to blame on businesses that elevate the quality of life in the city. People who don't want new business to expand the range beyond dollar stores and strip joints, massage parlors and hotdog emporiums are a lot worse than the hipster crowd they disparage.

  11. #11


    I was cool with the theory until they said the bag of liquor was outside the back door...left behind.

    No 2-time jonesing thief goes to all that trouble to leave their booty behind.

    This is too soon after their award-wins. Much too suspect.

    And, attacking the oldest joint on the strip at the same time?! Maybe there is a new protection racket franchise in town...and their marketing folks demanded the 'recruiting team' didn't only focus on the newbies.

  12. #12


    ^^^ Nice to here from you Gannon!

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