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Work in nearing completion on the Art Deco-styled Salvation Army Building on Bagley across from DTE HQ in downtown Detroit. A conversation with Scott Simons of DTE Public Relations revealed that the restoration / renovation will be completed around the end of December.

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  1. #1
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    Default Downtown Lunch Spots back in "the day"

    The Flaming Embers thread got me thinking about lunch spots back in the late 60's when I worked retail Downtown. Generally I'd partake of my noon meal at Howard Johnson's (a clam roll and coffee), although occasionally I'd go to The Mayflower.
    If you worked downtown, where did you eat, or did you brown bag?

  2. #2
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    The Downtown Bar on Lafayette, across the street from the two Coneys. Good burger at a good price.

  3. #3
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    I worked in the First National Building. Mostly I would brown bag, as I was between there and Wayne State every day. But on my full days, there was a cafeteria in the basement of the Penobscot Building that we would go to once in awhile. I can't remember the name of it but it was popular. I liked to get breakfast at Shapiro's lunch counter on the first floor of the First National Building ("Special Basted," or "Special Scrambled," the waitress would sing out to the cook as she took orders.

  4. #4
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    Couldn't go wrong with a burger and fries and the Lindell AC - or a quick run across Grand Circus Park to go to Chin Tiki's when you worked at the Book Building like I did.

  5. #5
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    Was the name Schnelli's Deli? I think that was the name. Everybody ate there. Great corned beef.

  6. #6
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    When I worked downtown, I always brown bagged. We played endless rounds of Euchre during the lunch hour.

    Earlier when i would go downtown shopping with my mother, our standard spot was the cafeteria at Hudson's (4th floor??). I loved their egg salad sandwiches on whole wheat. Sometimes my mother would want to go to the mayflower (elderly waitresses in pink dresses). We would always stop at Broadway Market to buy "lunch sticks" for Sunday breakfast. Once in a while we would eat at one of the booths in the Broadway Market. Did it burn down in 1961?

  7. #7
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    At Michigan Ave. and Cass there was a little bar (hope someone can remember the name) between Nick's and Lindell's that had a great little steak and salad lunch. Nick's before it was displaced by the people mover was great, never the same after it moved. The building where Gail's Office supplies was located had a great cafeteria in the lower level back in the 80s and early 90s. Is it still there? And of course Hudson's had a brown bag lunch from their deli you could grab after doing a bit of shopping. For a short time Niki's from Greektown had a small location at Michigan Ave. and Washington Ave. I still think it had the best cheese and pepperoni pizza ever. Wow the memories that come back. Even the Detroit Edison building had a great restaurant for awhile back in the 80s. Those were the days.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2009
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    Are you talking about Nick's Gaslight Lounge? Since I first noticed it a few years back I always wondered if it is still open. They have a rather eye-catching mural.

  9. #9
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    My favorites back in the early 70's:

    The restaurant at the top of Hudson's,
    Jim's Garage,
    The Money Tree

  10. #10
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    Wasn't there a cafeteria called Greenfield's on Woodward that a lot of people ate lunch at? Also, I remember the Sanders basement cafeteria on trips downtown for shopping.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kryptonite View Post
    My favorites back in the early 70's:

    The restaurant at the top of Hudson's,
    Jim's Garage,
    The Money Tree




  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcole View Post
    Wasn't there a cafeteria called Greenfield's on Woodward that a lot of people ate lunch at? Also, I remember the Sanders basement cafeteria on trips downtown for shopping.


  13. #13
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    I remember the Ham Places on Cadillac Square and Grand Circus.

    Schnelli had several delis, one next to Crowleys on Woodward near the Amshack, one at Warren and Woodward, and one in People's Outfitters Building are the ones I was to.

    BTW, Gail's was next door to Silver's, where the cafe was in the basement. Had several names including Britt's.

  14. #14
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    The downtown Greenfield's was on Griswold, in the block south of the David Stott Building. There was a huge Greenfield's on Woodward further up between Temple and Charlotte. That building is now the Vietnam Veteran's center. The whole chain died sometime in the mid '70s

    Greenfield's at one time also ran the cafeteria in the basement of the City-County Building, but by the time I worked there in the early '80s it was run by some pretty awful city food contractor. I used to grab a quick breakfast there sometimes, but the only really decent thing to eat was the grits.

    The cafeteria in the basement of the Penobscot Building was the Colonnade. There was also another Colonnade in the basement of the First Federal Building. I used to go there a lot. Nice ladies behind the counter, good food if you tended towards the soul food-ish side of the offerings, and some killer pie (I still remember the rhubarb...).

    Other places I ate a lot when I worked at City-County was Gus's Coney on Woodward, Ham Heaven, and the Checker Bar (shhhh... don't tell anybody).

  15. #15
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    YES! The Colonnade, thank you! Sometimes I would just have pie for lunch. Yum!

  16. #16
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    We had an elevator guy at the City-County Building who walked up to Broadway every day to eat at Lefkovsky's, which was still then in the Broadway Market building between Gratiot and E. Grand River (they later moved into the Madison Theater building before fading away). My sister worked there for awhile while she was at Cass Tech.

    The Lefkovskys had been running the place since my grandparents' day (my grandmother used to get trays from them for parties) and it was really the best deli downtown. It began as just a sandwich stand in the back of the original Broadway Market (which was an actual multi-vendor market, like Gratiot Central) to feed the many Jewish vendors and workers there.

    Every day when we were on our way down for lunch the elevator guy would ask us where we were thinking of going, and then he'd say "I'm going for corned beef!! Ya'll should go get some of that gooood corned beef up on Broadway!!"
    Last edited by EastsideAl; April-30-10 at 09:51 AM.

  17. #17
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    For a quick run down to Michigan Ave - we'd grab a quick lunch at "Charlie's Chicken" - which was probably the pre-cursor to KFC. I take some when I'd go visit my Great Aunt who lived on 17th Street off Michigan. Nice lunch hour - her house is still the only one standing on 17th across from the park by the train station.

  18. #18
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    Lefkovsky's was also in the lobby of the Book Building.

  19. #19
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    My father ate a couple of days a week for many years at Esther Michael's fabulous Sheik restaurant, which was in an ancient house on Lafayette between Randolph and Brush. He also ate often at the long gone, but still lamented, International restaurant in Greektown, and at the old, but still operating, Jacoby's.

  20. #20
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    EastsideAl, do you remember when The Sheikh renovated? They removed ugly old metal siding which exposed a pretty, old brick victorian home, then they stuccoed it all up nice and ugly again. What a shame, the brick victorian was an attractive place.

  21. #21
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    Yes, my father and others tried to talk Esther into keeping the brick uncovered. But she just didn't want to deal with the cost and potential headaches of repointing, maintenance, etc. Guess the stucco salesman did a better job.

    Of course the house was torn down anyway a few years later for a "big project" that turned out to be a surface parking lot.

  22. #22
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    I worked at NBD and we usually ate in the cafeteria. After lunch, we'd either play pinochle or pitch quarters on the bank steps down by the Congress St. end of the building. On Friday's, we'd sometimes go to the Checker Bar for cheeseburgers. The big days where when we were entertaining a client because then it was usually at the Caucus Club downstairs in the Penobscot Bldg, where we'd all have Bloody Bulls (a Bloody Mary with 1/2 beef bouillon) and the dover sole. There usually wasn't much work done those afternoons.

  23. #23
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    Wasn't there a little diner in Times Square around 1988-1989? I left my prescription sunglasses there once.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by GPCharles View Post
    The Downtown Bar on Lafayette, across the street from the two Coneys. Good burger at a good price.
    I loved the Downtown Bar. Even if they did have the world's most uneven pool table. Used to go there before/after hockey games, basketball games, and concerts.

    Speaking of bars and burgers, anyone else remember the Mayfield on Griswold just north of Capital Park? It was a big favorite of my grandparents and my grandfather used to meet my grandmother there on Fridays after she got off work at Hudson's I was dragged in there several times as a kid by them and fed enormous juicy burgers.

  25. #25

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    Always loved Britt's cafeteria, in Silver's ...

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