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A Breakfast Restaurant Inspired by Boxer Joe Louis Arrives in New Center in April

The popular chicken and waffles recipe from New Center Eatery returns to Detroit next month

Large windows and a metallic angled panel hanging over the sidewalk on Woodward on a cloudy day.
The storefront for Joe Louis Southern Kitchen in New Center.
Brenna Houck

A new all-day breakfast restaurant inspired by the life of famous boxer Joe Louis is preparing to open its doors. In posts to social media on Tuesday, the restaurant called Joe Louis Southern Kitchen confirmed that it would be opening in April at 6549 Woodward Ave. with New Center Eatery’s signature chicken and waffles.

Johnny Cannon, owner of Sweet Magnolia’s in Southfield and the former New Center Eatery, tells Eater that he’s consulting on the project with owner Joe Louis the 2nd. The 76-seat restaurant will feature an interior paying tribute to Louis’ southern upbringing.

The restaurant will feature an all-day brunch menu served seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cannon says the plan is to extend Joe Louis Southern Kitchen’s late-night menu to make it 24 hours on weekends.

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On the menu, diners can expect items like flavored pancakes, homestyle buttermilk biscuits, croquettes and rice, shrimp and grits, and Joe Louis’s favorite — country fried steak cheese grits. There will also be a smaller list of dinner items such as chicken wings, pasta, and bourbon barbecue sauce ribs. A special Joe Louis Bourbon is scheduled to be released in Michigan and nationwide beginning in April. The former chef at New Center Eatery will be the head chef at Joe Louis Southern Kitchen.

Cannon and his partners plan to develop the Joe Louis Southern Kitchen as a franchise with multiple locations in metro Detroit and beyond. Though they haven’t begun scouting locations, he says that a downtown restaurant could be a possibility.

The New Center restaurant is currently aiming to open during the second week in April with a grand opening in May coinciding with Joe Louis’s birthday.

The new location is tucked in next to home goods store Urbanum. It’s among a growing list of restaurants and retailers opening along both sides of that section of Woodward including Yum Village, the Kitchen by Cooking With Que, and forthcoming East African restaurant Baobab Fare. The owners of Selden Standard and Supino Pizzeria also have projects in the works on the block.

Update, March 5, 2020, 2:55 p.m.: This story has been updated with comments from Johnny Cannon.

Chicken and Waffles Spot New Center Eatery Is Moving Into Bigger Digs [ED]
All Eater Tracking Coverage [ED]

Yum Village

6500 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202 Visit Website

Joe Louis Southern Kitchen

6549 Woodward Avenue, , MI 48202 (313) 788-8338 Visit Website

New Center Eatery

3100 West Grand Boulevard, , MI 48202 (313) 875-0088 Visit Website

Supino Pizzeria

2457 Russell Street, , MI 48207 (313) 567-7879 Visit Website

Selden Standard

3921 2nd Avenue, , MI 48201 (313) 438-5055 Visit Website

Baobab Fare

6568 Woodward Avenue, , MI 48202 (313) 265-3093 Visit Website

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