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Is Detroit Ready For a Health Code Restaurant Rating System?

Plus, more restaurant robots are coming to metro Detroit

restaurant health inspection grade
The Detroit approach wouldn’t include letter grades like New York City, but may feature a color-coded system.
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Detroit restaurants could soon be required to post color-coded signs that display whether they’ve met food safety codes in similar fashion as New York, Los Angeles, and other major cities do with their letter grade system.

City Council member Scott Benson’s office has drafted a new ordinance to let diners know whether restaurants are following health codes. Rather than using the often criticized A-B-C letter grading system used elsewhere in the country, Detroit would adopt color-coded signs, with green meaning that a restaurant is in compliance with health standards, white for establishments in need of follow-up inspection, yellow for problems that need to be fixed, and red meaning a restaurant has been ordered closed for violations.

Benson told Axios that the ordinance is expected to be introduced to City Council in June after seeking feedback from residents and restaurant owners.

More robots

Kura Sushi, the state’s only conveyer-belt sushi restaurant, is preparing to open a second Michigan location in Novi sometime this summer, bringing with it a fleet of robots to help with drink service. Similar to its location in Troy, the new outpost will feature a two layered revolving sushi bar and express conveyor belt system, more than 130 plates (including sushi, ramen, udon, and tempura) covered in domes, and “Kurabots” that will assist servers by bringing drinks and condiments to customers’ tables. This is just the latest in Detroit restaurant robot news. Noodle Topia in Madison Heights welcomed two robots to its serving team in 2021. Meanwhile, a growing number of food delivery robots have hit the ground in recent months. A fleet of Kiwibots began delivering food from restaurants in Corktown in September, while earlier this year, Planted Detroit began offering robot delivery of its salads to two locations.

Transforming a cinderblock eyesore

Cinderblocks have a particularly bad rep in construction design, but a new project aims to reinvent the eyesores, by drilling holes right through them. A vacant, crumbling commercial bakery complex at 9301 Kercheval on the city’s east side featuring an abundance of cinderblocks will be renovated into studios and galleries and serve as headquarters for two Detroit nonprofits Signal Return and Progressive Arts Studio Collective. The project will also make space for either a green grocer or restaurant. To transform the eyesore, some 1,500 holes will be drilled through the cinderblocks and will be filled with cylinders of glass that will glow from within at night. The project, known as the Lantern, is being designed by OMA the firm launched by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rem Koolhaas.

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