One of New York’s most popular pastry destinations City Bakery debuts in Detroit on Monday, January 29 on the ground floor of the Fisher Building, marking its first expansion in the U.S. beyond the Big Apple.
Founded by Maury Rubin in 1990, City Bakery has developed a loyal following over the years. The shop is known for its hot chocolate delivered in signature blue and white-branded cups with massive homemade marshmallows (showcased at its annual Hot Chocolate Festival) as well as a hybrid baked creation — the pretzel croissant. The Detroit location will offer a similar menu with service Monday through Friday offering breakfast, lunch, dessert, and catering services.
Detroit has received heightened interest from outside investors and restaurant groups in recent years, but City Bakery’s decision to expand to the New Center neighborhood still feels surprising. For Rubin, though, the Motor City’s unique character and the stunning Fisher Building was a big draw. Customers, he says, would often talk about Detroit when visiting his location in New York and his own brief visit here left him “completely intrigued” and wanting to learn more. That interest eventually led him into conversations with several developers and property owners in the area. “Detroit is cool right now, I think, from a sense of ideas and development and then business opportunity. It makes incredible sense [to open here],” he says.
Rubin, who also operates eight City Bakery locations in Japan and five New York City Birdbath cafes, takes a hands-on approach with each new restaurant and designs the shops himself.
While it might be smaller than the two-level Union Square cafe, the Detroit shop features similar aesthetics with white vaulted ceilings and a blue square tile backsplash. The counter-facing banquettes alternate between gray and yellow upholstery balanced by circular wood tables. City Bakery’s counter tops are made from a recycled acrylic material called Alkemi. “I’m a sucker for big, beautiful, famous landmark buildings like the Fisher,” Rubin says of the shotgun space inside the New Center landmark.
City Bakery’s physical kitchen and commissary is located in the Fisher’s basement and shared with other incoming restaurants and pop-ups in the building.
New Center is still in a state of development that’s seen a number of restaurants come and go over the last five years. Rubin, however, is comfortable betting that the neighborhood will become as much of a draw as the Midtown corridor to the south and compares it to his early days opening City Bakery in New York. “City Bakery turned out to be one of the founding food businesses of Union Square and that’s a really incredible thing to be part of literally an entire neighborhood that is focused on recreating itself and improving itself,” he says.
Photographers Chris and Michelle Gerard received a first-look at the space ahead of next week’s anticipated opening. Take a peek around the galley-shaped bakery newcomer in the gallery below.
City Bakery opens from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.