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Detroit Cafes and Restaurants Turn Into Markets in the Wake of Coronavirus Shutdowns

In addition to switching to takeout only, some neighborhood spots are beginning to offer items like eggs, milk, salt, and more

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A carton of eggs, a loaf of French bread, and Calder Dairy butter from the shuttered Parker Street Market.
Cafes and restaurants around metro Detroit are converting to markets in the wake of dining room closures.
Stock Detroit
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

While some establishments quickly adopted new carryout and delivery services out of necessity in the wake of Michigan’s executive order closing all dining rooms, some restaurants and cafes are going a step further by introducing an expanded list of grocery items.

At popular West Village bakery Sister Pie, owner Lisa Ludwinski and her team snapped into action on Monday, March 16, rolling out a comprehensive plan to take care of employees while reducing waste at the shop and generating income. The shop currently accepts takeout orders based off of menus that are posted daily, and also sells items like eggs, milk, and yogurt.

Down the block, Marrow has been leaning into the retail butcher shop side of its business. Customers can purchase local meat, wine, and prepared sandwiches, as well as order items like pasta, Maldon sea salt, and Diet Coke through its online Mercato shop. The restaurant also plans to add locally sourced produce, as many local farms have been hard hit by the decreased demand from restaurants. Rocco’s Italian Deli in Cass Corridor has also rolled out curbside pick up of a rotating selection of take-and-bake pastas as well as beer, wine, meat, cheese, and bread.

In Ferndale, Drifter Coffee is taking a similar approach by offering grocery items in lieu of the shop’s regular coffee service. The inventory lists are updated daily, and customers can place orders through social media for local delivery. In addition to items like oat milk, olive oil, and cocoa powder, the cafe team sells home goods like toilet paper, trash bags, and parchment paper.

Similar versions of the trend are being replicated across the country by restaurant pushing toilet paper roll promotions with minimum food orders and opening temporary grocery store pop-ups to meet increased demand for home cooking supplies. The strategies are clever, but it remains to be seen whether the formats are sustainable long term. Restaurants and their workers need stability now.

Update: This story has been updated with information about Rocco’s Italian Deli.

How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Detroit Food and Beverage Industry [ED]
What Restaurants Need Right Now to Actually Survive [E]
Keep Track of Restaurant Carryout and Delivery Service in Michigan With These Tools [ED]
All Coronavirus Coverage [ED]

Rocco's Italian Deli

3627 Cass Avenue, , MI 48201 (313) 315-3033 Visit Website

Sister Pie

8066 Kercheval Avenue, , MI 48214 (313) 447-5550 Visit Website


8044 Kercheval Avenue, , MI 48214 (313) 513-0361 Visit Website

Drifter Coffee

780 Woodward Heights, Ferndale, MI