The majority of African Americans in Southeast Michigan now live outside the City of Detroit, rather than within it. Many white and non-Black folks in the area are migrating to the city, and this is changing the demographic makeup of neighborhood residents and restaurant patrons.
Because the ownership of newer Detroit restaurants is predominately white, as are its patrons, some are concerned about the growing problem of gentrification in the city. A recent Detroit Free Press article, “Detroit’s new restaurants lack diversity among patrons — and that’s a problem,” tries to tackle the nuances of this issue.
“Just engaging the community and talking to them about, you know, what are the kinds of foods that they eat, what are the kinds of dishes that they like, what are some the things that they might want to try.” — Lyndsay Green, Detroit Free Press dining and restaurant critic
Listen: The problem with Detroit’s changing restaurant scene, according to the Detroit Free Press’ Lyndsay Green.
Lyndsay Green is the Detroit Free Press dining and restaurant critic. She says many restaurant owners are trying to draw crowds with more longtime Black residents, and that Saffron De Twah particularly is doing a good job of drawing a more diverse clientele because chef and owner Omar Anani has been engaging local community residents. Green says new restaurant owners should be more intentional about engaging Black and brown patrons.
“Just engaging the community and talking to them about, you know, what are the kinds of foods that they eat, what are the kinds of dishes that they like, what are some the things that they might want to try,” says Green.