Food And Drinks

Eater Detroit’s Most-Read Stories of 2020


In 2020 the world together experienced enough significant events and trauma to fill an entire decade, and the effects of those events are likely to continue through 2021 and beyond. The United States saw a ruthless election campaign amid a deadly pandemic that killed more than 300,000 people and racial riots brought attention to the unnecessary deaths of black Americans. In the restaurant world, businesses watched their fortunes plunge into an abyss of uncertainty, and workers tried to stay safe while keeping rooftops over their heads and food on the table.

This year’s top entries from Eater Detroit reflect the uncertainty of the pandemic and massive influence protests following the untimely death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which reverberated in the food industry. Below are the most widely read news of 2020 (excluding maps and summaries).

Companies were allowed to reopen for personal service in Detroit on Monday June 8th. Christian Gerard

# 10 Metro Detroit restaurants and bars temporarily closed amid novel coronavirus outbreak

The Michigan pandemic moved quickly in the days leading up to the first publicly confirmed cases in the state. Even before bars and restaurants were ordered to shut down personal service on Monday March 16, companies were already temporarily beginning to address safety concerns and a dwindling number of customers. Some of these stores, like Revolver in Hamtramck, never reopened.

# 9 All Michigan restaurants and bars open for dine-in on June 8th

It is perhaps less than surprising that after months of renewing Michigan’s “stay-at-home” order, people across the state were eager to learn that the food and beverage industry was back on a limited scale with the start of new COVID-19 precautions You can dine in person on Monday, June 8th. By then, bars and restaurants in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula had already piloted a Memorial Day weekend opening. The reopening of the bars in the US would only take a few weeks.

# 8 Balloon-related outbreak at East Lansing Bar in 107 cases spreading to the Grosse Pointe area

Visits to Harper’s, a huge college bar and restaurant in East Lansing, resulted in a COVID-19 outbreak in multiple counties. Many cases have been linked to the Grosse Pointe area, where college-age adults were hosting parties.

No. 7 member of the conservative, anti-gay group places homophobic cake order in the LGBTQ-owned Detroit Bakery

A member of a conservative fringe Catholic group based in Ferndale allegedly placed an insulting order for a Pride cake from beloved Livernois baker Good Cakes & Bakes with a hateful anti-LGBTQ message. Owner April Anderson eventually filled the order with a note to the person saying, “God is love and love is God.” The person never came to pick the cake, and it ended up in the trash. A fundraiser launched after the incident raised more than $ 2,000 to support an LGBTQ health center in Corktown.

Protesters have an open microphone session during a peaceful demonstration over the death of George Floyd in Detroit, Michigan, June 3rd, 2020 - Detroit Police Chief James Craig later ended the curfew after protesters called for an end to the curfew.

Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP via Getty Images

# 6 Racist Facebook Posts Attributed to Detroit Restaurant Owner Spark Outrage

Nationwide protests after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis echoed around the world. During the spring and summer, Eater posted dozens of reports of people connected to the food world who allegedly made violent or racist statements in connection with these protests, mostly on social media. Among the defendants was Shawn Harrington, owner of Hot Taco and Town Pump Tavern in downtown Detroit. Harrington never published a statement responding to criticism of his alleged remarks.

Customer # 5 in restaurants and wineries with multiple trusses in the urban area should self-monitor

Northern Michigan is always popular in the summer, but hordes of people traveled north in 2020 to escape the stress of the pandemic. Unfortunately they brought COVID-19 with them. A group that had traveled to several restaurants and wineries in the Traverse City area tested positive for the disease, according to a media release. Many shops were closed for cleaning. While the local health department initially recommended people at the sites concerned to self-quarantine, the recommendation was finally downgraded to self-monitoring.

# 4 coronavirus cases tied to Michigan Bar are a reminder of the risks of pandemic restaurants

This was the first story Eater Detroit published about Harper’s, but it wouldn’t be the last. The huge novel coronavirus outbreak in the college bar that eventually made at least 188 people sick caught national attention and confirmed many people’s fears about what could happen if people eat sick during the pandemic. Harper’s was a unique case in many ways. It’s one of the largest companies in the state, which means that capacity rules have done little to limit the number of people who congregate inside. At the same time, younger people (the guy who flocked to Harper) who are slightly less prone to the most dangerous COVID-19 results would become a driving force behind the spread of new cases across the country in the summer. The Harper incident would eventually be cited as the reason for the extension of restaurant and bar closings in New York.

The green exterior of the downtown Royal Oak Hopcat building with a sign with a black cat holding a beer.

Brenna Houck

No. 3 Hopcat is permanently closing its Royal Oak Craft Beer Bar

The massive Hopcat location in downtown Royal Oak was what sparked the financial troubles of the Grand Rapids-based gastropub chain. Shortly after confirming the Royal Oak closure, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing issues with rent payments at its numerous properties. A private equity group bought the restaurant chain from bankruptcy for $ 17.5 million in October.

# 2 Detroit Popcorn Co. faces a backlash to alleged social media posts by the owner about police brutality protests

The Detroit Popcorn Company, a nearly 100-year-old brand, faced a setback after the owner, who allegedly used a pseudonym, made inflammatory comments indicating that protesters demonstrating against police brutality were “kneeling on the neck (sic) ”- a reference to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The company faced calls for a boycott, and a minority investment firm, Harris Financial Group, stepped in to buy out the brand.

The reopening of the chaotic # 1 restaurant in Northern Michigan offers lessons for the rest of the state

After extending the dining room closures in the spring of 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer cautiously began giving companies the opportunity to resume personal service in northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula over Memorial Day weekend. While it has been a relief for some establishments entering the busy summer season to get back to serving customers, it has also been a challenge to prepare on short notice and for some members of the industry trying to offer hospitality while maintaining safety of people to ensure worrying. This report by Stacey Brugeman was well received by many of Eater Detroit’s readers as they prepared to reopen in the backcountry or made plans for summer vacation. The summer season would ultimately break some companies’ sales records and push others to their limits.

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Dusty Kennedy