The phone for Ruth’s Catering has been ringing non-stop since a story ran last week saying the rent for the Midtown eatery would skyrocket by 300 percent by year’s end.
According to the Detroit Free Press, owner Ruth O’Quin has been paying $1,750 a month for the five years she’s been in the building at 4750 Woodward Avenue, but that come Dec. 31, the monthly rent could go up to $7,000 — far more than what she can afford.
Since the story ran, O’Quin has been overwhelmed by calls and messages on social media from friends and fans.
“I’ve never had a response like this before,” says O’Quin, 67.
Now O’Quin, daughter Tammy Reed, and her granddaughter, who all work at the restaurant, are trying to figure out their next move. O’Quin tells Eater that she is supposed to meet with the property management next week to come up with a proposal to stay in the building. The property is owned by the Luella Memorial Foundation — a nonprofit that provides social services for senior citizens. Its executive director Vince Tilford told the daily that the restaurant space could get $25 per square foot if it leases to a new tenant.
Among the options O’Quin is exploring is moving her catering operations to a commercial kitchen at an assisted living facility in Madison Heights, the International House across the street from the Detroit Institute of Arts and space in a church, also in Midtown.
If O’Quin cannot come up with an agreement with the building’s ownership, she will be among the latest businesses in greater downtown to be pushed out because of an increasingly competitive real estate market. Just last week, Eater reported that Angelina Italian Bistro inside the M@dison Building at Grand Circus Park announced it too will shutter by the end of the year.