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Fire Destroys Iconic Traffic Jam & Snug in Cass Corridor

Early reports say the beloved restaurant and brewpub is a total loss

A brick building with visible fire damage and “The Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant” awning on the front and several men standing around
A fire ripped through the stalwart Traffic Jam & Snug restaurant and brewpub much of early Friday morning, May 27, 2022.
Brenna Houck

Traffic Jam & Snug, the decades-old iconic restaurant and brewpub in the Cass Corridor, has been destroyed in a fire early Friday. News reports say that the building, at 511 W Canfield St, appears to be a total loss.

It was just before 2 a.m. when Detroit Fire crews were called to the scene where they found the restaurant fully engulfed in flames. Early reports say the fire destroyed the entire interior of the building, as well as the space’s first and second floor, and the roof. No injuries were immediately reported.

James Harris, Detroit Fire Department’s chief of community relations, told the Detroit News that no one was injured, but that it took hours for crews to contain the blaze. The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but it did not spread to neighboring businesses Shinola or Third Man Records.

Traffic Jam has been a mainstay of the Cass Corridor since it swung open its doors in 1965. The spot was known for making beer, cheese, and fresh-baked bread all on-site.

Traffic Jam owner Scott Lowell told Crain’s that he is currently out of the country on the border of Poland and Ukraine helping with refugee assistance, but was alerted of the fire early Friday morning via text. He told the publication he would like to reopen the business.

News of the fire spread quickly Friday morning, with residents and celebrities alike — including singer and Third Man Records founder Jack White — taking to social media to share both memories and disbelief about the stalwart establishment.

This is just the latest fire to ravage a Detroit restaurant in recent months. Cutter’s Bar & Grill in Eastern Market remains temporarily closed following a small fire on April 12. Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Bar in Corktown suffered fire damage following a suspected arson, though the space promptly reopened for takeout. And in January, a blaze destroyed the popular Taqueria El Rey in Southwest Detroit, which is now popping up Mondays and Tuesdays at Batch Brewing Company in Corktown as the family business works to rebuild.

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