Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Harlequin Cafe appears to be gone. Previous Next
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 3174
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.99.149
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 6:17 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

While on my walk in West Village today, I passed the Harlequin.

There was a moving truck being loaded and the sidewalk was filled with restaurant equipment.

Sorry to see the place go, I enjoyed sitting out on the sidewalk on a warm summer night with a drink or two on what must have been the most European-type setting in Detroit.
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Jimg
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Username: Jimg

Post Number: 589
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 64.12.116.204
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 7:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Heard some good jazz in the Harlequin. Found food quality to be uneven, sometimes way overpriced.
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Ssport
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Username: Ssport

Post Number: 26
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 69.246.37.236
Posted on Wednesday, April 26, 2006 - 7:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

...as does The Hub. Unless they have new hours that don't include weekends.
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Eastsidedog
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Username: Eastsidedog

Post Number: 291
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 12.47.224.7
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 4:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jimg, I very much agree. Sherman told some great stories, but wasn't the best businessman. I'd call him a purist. I hope someone reopens the Harlequin and reinvents it. Menu's with prices, or at least chalkboards with prices and an eclectic menu that ranges from high-end to moderately priced would do well (you could still keep the French cuisine and Jazz, but mix it up a bit). I would really like to see it stay the Harlequin Cafe because of it's history and fame in the jazz scene. But I'd be happy if anything decent opened up there.

West Village badly needs a reliable neighborhood watering hole. I agree Jams that strip is really great and European-esque. my wife and I ate there with my parents after looking at houses in the neighborhood and they absolutely loved it. We got to eat outside on the sidewalk. My mother said she felt like it was in Chicago -- the towering old apartment buildings all around us mixed in with the houses and shops. I'd say that strip and it's uniquness and incredible potential sold us on the neighborhood. We ate and drank there several times but apparently not enough. :-(

I wish I had the means to redo that strip. I'd add a good everyday bar/restaurant (I think it would do better than upscale) and a good carryout place like Thai or Chinese would make a killing there. It'd be cool to put new storefronts up Van Dyke around the corner too. And I'd put a colorful mural on the old parking garage wall. :-)

I have so many ideas but no money (anyone want a partner with ideas busting at the seams?). I wish I knew how to make things happen. Waiting for others to improve my surroundings is bothersome at times. Oh well, I will continue to do my part on my house and yard. And man, it really needs help!
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 4051
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 141.217.174.229
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 6:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I like wrote to all of you before. No good ecomony means no good retails and coffee shops. That's the capitalist ball bounces.
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Dougw
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Username: Dougw

Post Number: 1102
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 136.2.1.153
Posted on Friday, April 28, 2006 - 7:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eastsidedog, there's a newish neighborhood economic development group (Villages/Island View area) which has been meeting about working on this strip and a couple others. You sound like someone who should be involved. :-) Shoot me an email at dway at mailcan dot com if interested.

Sad news about the Harlequin, although not totally unexpected...
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 205
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.252.127.120
Posted on Saturday, April 29, 2006 - 11:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sherman was a lot of things, depending on who you asked. A chef, a lawyer, and to some, a fraud.

In the Sherman era, was the food good? Yes. Was the atmosphere good? Sometimes, particularly when he had music.

The Harlequin Cafe wasn't always like it was under Sherman - understaffing, exotic cuisine and very thin wallets on the way out. I remember going there in the early 1990s when the motif was more old white dudes with white gloves. That was my intro to mixing coffee with liquers. The atmosphere back then (and this was a long, long time ago) seemed more like an upscale version of the Cadieux Cafe.
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Eastsidedog
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Username: Eastsidedog

Post Number: 293
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 68.20.140.8
Posted on Monday, May 01, 2006 - 1:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Huggybear, I'd say the atmosphere was fantastic, especially when sitting on the wide sidewalk in front.

Regarding Sherman, I've heard a lot of bad things about him but my experiences with him were nothing short of incredible. He really has a powerful personality and storytelling abilities. It'd be cool to see him return to the place as chef and so he can deliver his impressive oral presentations! But under new ownership of course. They'd also have to reinvent the place to make it successful and offer menus and moderately priced fare.
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Ilovedetroit
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Username: Ilovedetroit

Post Number: 2272
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 63.149.5.130
Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 5:29 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Harlequin should have done well...as much as I like Sherman he wasn't the best businessman.
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Eastsidedog
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Username: Eastsidedog

Post Number: 317
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 69.220.142.7
Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 5:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ilovedetroit, I think another part of it is that fine french cuisine doesn't seem to be in vogue as of late.
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Detroitduo
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Username: Detroitduo

Post Number: 631
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 194.138.39.53
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 7:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I know... Let's combine threads... I say, let's make West Village the new gay ghetto and make the Harlequin the new central seed for the neighborhood!
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Eastsidedog
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Username: Eastsidedog

Post Number: 324
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 69.220.142.7
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 1:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Detroitduo, I hope that West Village will never be predominated by one group of people. It never has. It's been very diverse for a very long time and I think it will stay that way due to the wide variety of housing in the general area.
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Sknutson
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Username: Sknutson

Post Number: 566
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 67.114.23.202
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 1:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

As a former West Villager, I second Detroitduo's idea!

I understand that before I lived on Parker in the early 80's there was a gay bar on Jefferson called - eek - "My Fair Lady"

There's still a good deal of affordable housing that could stand to be fixed up, and Indian Village right next door for the queens with deeper pockets!
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Eastsidedog
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Username: Eastsidedog

Post Number: 325
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 12.47.224.8
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 1:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sknutson, I can assure you that their are plenty of Gays in WV right now. And plenty of straight people and families too. :-)

Please! No more Ghetto's!
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Quinn
Member
Username: Quinn

Post Number: 709
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 64.139.64.80
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 2:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hmmm...as much as I love the idea of a gay ghetto, west village and indian village (for that matter) are already a gay ghetto for homeowners/residences. I live there now...pretty queer and very gay friendly.

If you're looking to create a gay bar scene I'm not sure there's enough commercial space around there for it. I think that the area across the street from the Eagle would be great for several restaurants and gay bars. I've always thought that would be a GREAT gay ghetto/bar/restaurant area... For those who don't know it's basically the northwest corner of Lodge and I-94 (south of Grand Blvd)

See below (of course this isn't a new idea but I think a little bit better than west village)

holden
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Quinn
Member
Username: Quinn

Post Number: 710
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 64.139.64.80
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 2:16 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eastsidedog...I disagree. "Cuisine" seems to be doing fine in New Center. http://www.cuisinedetroit.com/ I would consider that Fine French Fare.

I really think Sherman was a bad businessman. Always running out of achohol , little or no staff, and if he had staff they were poorly trained. Yes the food was good (when it got to you) but that's why running a restaurant is a hard business...alot more detail than one might expect/suspect I believe.

It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who lives in my neighborood and drives past the harlequin regularly that it closed. Nary a diner in the restaurant in the past year I'd say...
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Swingline
Member
Username: Swingline

Post Number: 477
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 172.137.58.22
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 2:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Quinn hit the nail re the Harlequin. It's kind of amazing that Sherman kept the place going as long as he did.

Sherman could produce masterful meals. But far too often the portions were embarassingly small, orders got screwed up and the whole experience would literally take 2 and a half to 3 hours. For all of this, your wallet would be about $75 per person lighter. Because the margin on liquor is so lucrative, you'd think that he would have that part of the operation down pat. But no, wine would be unavailable or he would be out of tonic or something. He once took an order from me for a glass of wine and then served it a coffee cup explaining that they were going through some kind of liquor license dispute.

Regardless, I wish Sherman luck in his next venture. As for the space itself, there's plenty of potential for a neighborhood place or a destination establishment. The landlord is pretty astute. I think that a creative new place will go in there fairly soon.
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Detroitduo
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Username: Detroitduo

Post Number: 635
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 84.156.74.201
Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 5:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Quinn, My partner and I have discussed for YEARS that that triangle, where the Eagle already exists, would be an AMAZING space for a gay ghetto. Only problem, there is not a very diverse amount of housing withing close walking distance of that triangle. So, that's the only drawback of that spot. Otherwise, we are in total agreement on that location.
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Quinn
Member
Username: Quinn

Post Number: 711
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 64.139.64.80
Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 3:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ya I know it's not a new idea...just saying I thought it might be better than West Village.

How about bricktown as the new gay ghetto? We can start with Buzz Bar...there's vacant space across the street from that. Just picking at possibilities here...
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Dabirch
Member
Username: Dabirch

Post Number: 1486
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 208.44.117.10
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 8:58 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

How about bricktown as the new gay ghetto?




Bricktown is already the parking lot ghetto -- you should really pick an area that is not already claimed by one of our cities largest constituencies.
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Dialh4hipster
Member
Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1587
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.61.187.234
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 11:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It seems to me that any area that could be a gay ghetto would have to have cheap housing, because it's the young'uns who are going to move in and keep it lively. Also, there would probably need to be plenty of rentals available in addition to regular housing. And the area should be relatively dense.

So that rules out a lot of these areas with nothing to offer but parking lots for new construction and derelict buildings requiring tons of money for rehab.

While it might be possible to "agree" on an area where gay people might set up shop, I don't think you can build it from the ground up. If you look at the areas that have served as the gay nexus in the past (Palmer Park, RO, Ferndale) they all started with the right raw materials.

By the way, the area just north of the Fisher Building also seems to have potential, from a housing stock point of view.
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Quinn
Member
Username: Quinn

Post Number: 713
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 64.139.64.80
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 12:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think we need to seperate what we're talking about for future discussion.

1. The "Gay Ghetto" or GG now means an area for friendly gay housing.

2. The "Gay Commercial District" or GCD now means a bar/restaurant/club area for gays...

I'm not sure it's possible to combine these two. Chicago has a great GCD, but most gays are sprawled throughout the city and lakeshore.

I'd like to focus on the GCD since we've already got several "GG" areas I'd consider to be at least very gay friendly if not a GG (or have the possibility to blossom into a GG) like Boston Edison, West Village, Indian Village, East English Village etc. etc. etc. And I'm not sure a purely GG is really all that great of an idea. Personally, I'd like where I live to be very diverse with people from all ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations etc.

A GCD is important for us to focus our energies and show our monetary strength...ie if the GCD is booming that means there are gays who support it. It also creates a positive image and a safe place for us all to hang out...and who doesn't want to be able to walk to AT LEAST one other gay bar without having to get in the car.

My point of view and I'm sticking to it ;P
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Dialh4hipster
Member
Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1589
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.250.205.35
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 1:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think those distinctions are good points.

It's my sense, however, that the Chicago GCD started mostly as a GG and has grown to the point where now gay people are dispersed northward in Lakeview, with the GCD being central to the old GG. However gay people still tend to live within walking distance or an easy cab ride from the GCD.

Another example of this in a less evolved form is Andersonville, further north in Chicago. It is a new gay hub with a burgeoning GCD spurred on by gay people moving north seeking more affordable housing than the Boystown area. It is growing quickly, but the commercial aspect came about because the population was moving in there to support it.

I don't think anyone is really pushing for a purely GG ... even in cities with large gay populations, the GG is still a very mixed place.

But I agree with your points about the importance of a GCD. I guess I just view a GG as somewhat tied to that.

Now here's the real question: after all the discussion, what are the steps people could make to actually get the ball rolling?
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Jt1
Member
Username: Jt1

Post Number: 7326
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 198.208.159.19
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 1:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

DH, I believe that the answer is no but I am curious as it won't happen in SE Mich.

Did any of the GGs/GCDs in those other areas get any special funding from the city or the State?
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Dialh4hipster
Member
Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 1590
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.250.205.35
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 1:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The answer is no. After the fact, when it became apparent what a strong economic boost it had been to the area, Chicago earmarked some money for streetscape improvements in the GCD of Boystown (Lakeview). There is another huge project going on in the area, a huge community center in a rehabbed historic structure (they actually dismantled the structure and are rebuilding it) that is meant to serve the gay and lesbian community but is at least partially funded by city dollars.

I think it would be bad policy to earmark money for something specific like this. General rehabilitation funds or small business loans that are available to everyone are the way to do this.

Sisters should be doing it for themselves.
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Jt1
Member
Username: Jt1

Post Number: 7331
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 198.208.159.19
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 1:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree but was curious (no pun intended).
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Iddude313
Member
Username: Iddude313

Post Number: 23
Registered: 07-2005
Posted From: 69.212.32.95
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 3:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Last night I walked past the Harlequin and saw an eviction notice from the 36th district court.
Its empty alright.
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Eastsidedog
Member
Username: Eastsidedog

Post Number: 328
Registered: 03-2006
Posted From: 69.220.142.7
Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 5:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

really?

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