Imagine it’s 2010. You just finished dinner at Union Street in Midtown Detroit and are headed two blocks south for a night with what most critics agree is a world-class symphony orchestra.
There’s only one problem: The block between you and this cultural gem is one of the darkest in the city, short on curb appeal and long forgotten by a community struggling to remember better times. Now fast-forward to today and walk through the doors of The Great Lakes Roasting Company, proudly occupying the 130 year-old building at the corner of Woodward and Alexandrine — and anchoring what has become one of the most vibrant blocks in Midtown. Here, among exposed brick and reclaimed wood, with the intoxicating aroma of fresh-roasted coffee in the air and exotic beers and wines on the shelves, a story that perfectly blends the past, present and future of a great community is being written.
Ever since our humble beginnings in a garage on the west side of Detroit, where owners Greg and Lisa Miracle entrusted Lisa’s Italian father with roasting their first green beans, finding a home in the city proper was part of the vision for The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company.
That vision turned into a reality when proprietor and roastmaster (and 313 evangelist) James Cadariu introduced Greg and Lisa to Sue Mosey, the director of Midtown Detroit, Inc. Arguably the most ardent proponent for the Midtown community, Sue led them on a tour of a building that had been sitting vacant for two decades. It was nothing short of love at first sight, and renovation plans for the historic space were hatched immediately. With the help of Joel Schmidt and Liz Skrisson, the architectural couple behind DMET, every detail was considered in the context of — and with a commitment to — the community we planned to serve.
From the wood Reclaim Detroit brought back to life after harvesting it from two demolished homes in Hamtramck, to ornate metalwork by local artist Taru Lahti, the entire project was a labor of love for The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company and the city we’re proud to call home. Because we knew this wouldn’t be just a physical space: This is the heart and soul of Midtown, where uncharted paths intersect with city streets and the single greatest catalyst for change is the conversations being had among people from every walk of life. So next time you’re sipping a cup brewed with beans sourced from a farm on the other side of the world, take a moment to savor the local flavor that makes each grind and every pour truly… Great.
3965 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201
Monday - Thursday 7:00am - 11:00pm
Friday 7:00am - Midnight
Saturday 9:00am - Midnight
Sunday 10:00am - 8:00pm