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A sofa in front of a wood counter
This circa 1920s church was revived as a coffee shop and community event space in Detroit’s Boston-Edison.
Tara Turkington

8 New Coffee Shops in Detroit to Know

Stay connected and caffeinated at spots downtown, in the North End, and on the east side

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This circa 1920s church was revived as a coffee shop and community event space in Detroit’s Boston-Edison.
| Tara Turkington

If you really want to know the pulse of a city, just look to its coffeehouses. These are the places where its people commune and caffeinate.

In Detroit, a crop of entrepreneurs has recently opened communal spaces serving up cups of joe, even in the midst of a pandemic. Those new spaces have brightened former chicken shacks, abandoned churches, and dormant buildings with new hot spots on the east and west sides.

Later in 2021, Morningside Cafe will launch on Warren near Outer Drive on the east side, and Black Coffee will bolster North End’s rebound.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Coffee Down Under

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607 Shelby St
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 444-6626
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Coffee Down Under just happens to occupy a basement spot, but its name is a nod to the Down Under. This Australian-style coffee bar opened in the Financial District in a 400-square-foot space right before the pandemic hit, with espresso roasts from Proud Mary Cafe, a Melbourne-based company. There also are Australian refreshments, including the long black, which is created by pouring a double-shot of espresso or ristretto over hot water. From the coffee to cups and toilet paper, the cafe puts sustainability at the forefront.

2. The Red Hook Greenway

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2761 E Jefferson Ave Suite C
Detroit, MI 48207

The Red Hook coffee shop first opened in downtown Ferndale a little more than a decade ago, following with a second location in Detroit’s West Village and the purchase of Pinwheel Bakery. This new location, dubbed Red Hook Greenway, caters to the bike traffic and features the same drinks and baked goods that customers have come to love.

3. Cafe Alto

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3100 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 638-1646
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Open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the bright and airy Cafe Alto opened in Brush Park in the space formerly occupied by New Order Coffee. In addition to roasting its own beans, Cafe Alto serves treats from White Wolf Patisserie, Bunny Bunny, Dooped Donuts, and Cannelle, that you can enjoy at one of the outdoor tables.

4. Yellow Light Coffee and Donuts

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14447 E Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48215
(313) 469-7780
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Yellow Light is the latest creation from glassblowing artist Niko Dimitrijevic and Detroit restaurateurs Jacques and Christine Driscoll, owners of Green Dot Stables and Johnny Noodle King. This Jefferson-Chalmers shop has a drive-thru window for easier coffee pickup. The shop also sells coffee and beans but its donuts and hot-chicken biscuits are almost as popular. Customers can choose from a dozen flavors of cake donuts ranging from plantain to hibiscus.

5. Milwaukee Caffe

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447 E Milwaukee Ave
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 262-6223
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With just 150 square feet of space, this cafe from the owners of nearby cocktail bar Kiesling has limited capacity for standing room to enjoy a maple rosemary latte. The shop is inspired by standing-room-only cafes that Ashley Davidson would frequent in Italy, where she went to school, and where her partner/co-owner Carlo Liburdi’s parents immigrated to Detroit from.

6. The Gathering Coffee Co.

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2831 E Grand Blvd
Detroit, MI 48211

When Bay City native Emily Steffen researched cities to open her coffee shop meets community space, she found that Detroit had far fewer coffee shops per city block than other metropolitan cities. And the North End, which had few communal spaces, was a perfect spot to open a “space for the people.” True to its name, the coffee shop is perfect for remote workers, includes a photography darkroom for public use, and holds classes. On the menu, Gathering customers can expect everything from tea lattes to drip coffee.

7. The Congregation

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9321 Rosa Parks Blvd
Detroit, MI 48206
(313) 307-5518
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After several years of disuse, this circa 1920s church in Detroit’s Boston-Edison was revived as a coffee shop, bar, and community event space with a name that honors its edifice. Co-owner Betsy Murdoch stumbled on this abandoned church a few blocks from her home. It was a leap of faith that inspired her to rally the neighbors in the surrounding historic district and breathe new life into the building. The owners retained church pews and used them to construct a counter. They also kept a Casavant Freres pipe organ and set up an outdoor deck that overlooks Gordon Park. 

As for the menu, breakfast includes avocado toast, pancakes, and a smoked salmon bagel, along with coffees and teas. In the evenings, the Congregation serves salads and sandwiches and has a full slate of events that serves a diverse clientele.

A sofa in front of a wood counter Tara Turkington

8. Public Square Detroit

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19180 Grand River Ave
Detroit, MI 48223

Brothers Jason and James Edwards tapped their love of coffee, experiences managing cafes, and dream of owning a business together to found Public Square. The opening, at the former location of Always Brewing and Town Hall Caffe’, means Grandmont Rosedale has a coffee shop again, complete with WiFi. Pastries and baked goods are sourced from Avalon Bakery, and Clawson-based Sabbath Coffee Roasters provides the coffee. Non-coffee drinkers can cool off with lavender or blueberry lemonade.

1. Coffee Down Under

607 Shelby St, Detroit, MI 48226

Coffee Down Under just happens to occupy a basement spot, but its name is a nod to the Down Under. This Australian-style coffee bar opened in the Financial District in a 400-square-foot space right before the pandemic hit, with espresso roasts from Proud Mary Cafe, a Melbourne-based company. There also are Australian refreshments, including the long black, which is created by pouring a double-shot of espresso or ristretto over hot water. From the coffee to cups and toilet paper, the cafe puts sustainability at the forefront.

607 Shelby St
Detroit, MI 48226

2. The Red Hook Greenway

2761 E Jefferson Ave Suite C, Detroit, MI 48207

The Red Hook coffee shop first opened in downtown Ferndale a little more than a decade ago, following with a second location in Detroit’s West Village and the purchase of Pinwheel Bakery. This new location, dubbed Red Hook Greenway, caters to the bike traffic and features the same drinks and baked goods that customers have come to love.

2761 E Jefferson Ave Suite C
Detroit, MI 48207

3. Cafe Alto

3100 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

Open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the bright and airy Cafe Alto opened in Brush Park in the space formerly occupied by New Order Coffee. In addition to roasting its own beans, Cafe Alto serves treats from White Wolf Patisserie, Bunny Bunny, Dooped Donuts, and Cannelle, that you can enjoy at one of the outdoor tables.

3100 Woodward Ave
Detroit, MI 48201

4. Yellow Light Coffee and Donuts

14447 E Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48215

Yellow Light is the latest creation from glassblowing artist Niko Dimitrijevic and Detroit restaurateurs Jacques and Christine Driscoll, owners of Green Dot Stables and Johnny Noodle King. This Jefferson-Chalmers shop has a drive-thru window for easier coffee pickup. The shop also sells coffee and beans but its donuts and hot-chicken biscuits are almost as popular. Customers can choose from a dozen flavors of cake donuts ranging from plantain to hibiscus.

14447 E Jefferson Ave
Detroit, MI 48215

5. Milwaukee Caffe

447 E Milwaukee Ave, Detroit, MI 48202

With just 150 square feet of space, this cafe from the owners of nearby cocktail bar Kiesling has limited capacity for standing room to enjoy a maple rosemary latte. The shop is inspired by standing-room-only cafes that Ashley Davidson would frequent in Italy, where she went to school, and where her partner/co-owner Carlo Liburdi’s parents immigrated to Detroit from.

447 E Milwaukee Ave
Detroit, MI 48202

6. The Gathering Coffee Co.

2831 E Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48211

When Bay City native Emily Steffen researched cities to open her coffee shop meets community space, she found that Detroit had far fewer coffee shops per city block than other metropolitan cities. And the North End, which had few communal spaces, was a perfect spot to open a “space for the people.” True to its name, the coffee shop is perfect for remote workers, includes a photography darkroom for public use, and holds classes. On the menu, Gathering customers can expect everything from tea lattes to drip coffee.

2831 E Grand Blvd
Detroit, MI 48211

7. The Congregation

9321 Rosa Parks Blvd, Detroit, MI 48206
A sofa in front of a wood counter Tara Turkington

After several years of disuse, this circa 1920s church in Detroit’s Boston-Edison was revived as a coffee shop, bar, and community event space with a name that honors its edifice. Co-owner Betsy Murdoch stumbled on this abandoned church a few blocks from her home. It was a leap of faith that inspired her to rally the neighbors in the surrounding historic district and breathe new life into the building. The owners retained church pews and used them to construct a counter. They also kept a Casavant Freres pipe organ and set up an outdoor deck that overlooks Gordon Park. 

As for the menu, breakfast includes avocado toast, pancakes, and a smoked salmon bagel, along with coffees and teas. In the evenings, the Congregation serves salads and sandwiches and has a full slate of events that serves a diverse clientele.

9321 Rosa Parks Blvd
Detroit, MI 48206

8. Public Square Detroit

19180 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48223

Brothers Jason and James Edwards tapped their love of coffee, experiences managing cafes, and dream of owning a business together to found Public Square. The opening, at the former location of Always Brewing and Town Hall Caffe’, means Grandmont Rosedale has a coffee shop again, complete with WiFi. Pastries and baked goods are sourced from Avalon Bakery, and Clawson-based Sabbath Coffee Roasters provides the coffee. Non-coffee drinkers can cool off with lavender or blueberry lemonade.

19180 Grand River Ave
Detroit, MI 48223

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