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  • Get ready for National Tequila Day!

    Thursday, July 24th marks National Tequila Day, and forget everything you know about the beverage. Those nasty old “tequilas” of yesterday were find for doing body shots, but tequila has become something of a luxury spirit while few were paying attention. Have you tried all the varieties of tequila? Can you tell the difference between blanco, joven, reposed, añejo and extra añejo?  If your local bar doesn’t have the stuff that will help you celebrate this important holiday, there are several bars that cater just to the tequila fan. There’s Aqua Rum and Tequila Bar in the MGM Grand Detroit Casino in Detroit, as well as Rojo Mexican Bistro in Novi, which offers more than 100 kinds of tequila, and Taqo Detroit, a new spot serving American-friendly Mexican fare and serving an astonishing variety of tequilas, more than 200 in all. Been waiting for a reason to drink up this south-of-the-border nectar? You got it. Guzzle responsibly.    

    The post Get ready for National Tequila Day! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs

    In light of worldwide attention on its efforts to cut water service for thousands of Detroit residents, the Detroit Water & Sewerage Department said today it would host a Water Affordability Fair on August 2nd to explain options available to those facing financial hardship. DWSD officials said in a news release today the fair will be take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the department’s Eastside Customer Service Center at 13303 E. McNichols. The move came on the heels of growing pressure from opponents of the initiative and criticism from the U.S. bankruptcy judge overseeing Detroit’s Chapter 9 case. “Every customer that has come to DWSD with a legitimate financial hardship has not had their water service terminated,” said Darryl Latimer, DWSD deputy director, in a statement. “In cases where the water has been shut off, it’s been restored. We keep hearing at DWSD that there are poor people who are not receiving the assistance that they need, so we want to help them and we want to make it as easy as possible for the to receive that help. That’s why we created the Water Affordability Fair – ease of access and ease of assistance. We are here to […]

    The post DWSD to host water fair in wake of 15 day moratorium on Detroit water shutoffs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation

    The folks at Thrillist have again compiled their annual list of the nation’s best burgers, and Southeast Michigan, it seems, is well represented. Ranking alongside joints in major cities such as New York and L.A., is Detroit’s own Motz’s Burgers, hailed specifically for its Double Cheeseburger Slider. Via Thrillist: There’s nothing remarkable about the façade of this SW diner… it’s just a diner, like the hundreds of others in the D. The staff’s been there for years… and so have the regulars, who can’t get enough of Motz’s legendary smashed burgers. The formula’s nothing revolutionary: smashed, griddled patties with oozy cheese and onions that melt into the burger itself as it cooks. But it’s that unmistakable flavor of a well-seasoned griddle — which has also been here for years — that makes the difference. You can score big burgers with accoutrements, but this isn’t really a place to say things like “accoutrements”. Grab the old-school slider (the double cheeseburger one), and prepare for three perfect bites of Detroit’s finest. Flint’s Torch Bar and Grill also made the cut, most notably for its Deluxe Torch Burger with Bacon. Tucked away in an alley beyond the brick streets that used to mark […]

    The post Thrillist Names Detroit’s Motz’s Burgers Among Best in Nation appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know!

    The Metro Times is looking for college students or graduates of Michigan colleges that used atypical means to pay for their schooling (i.e. sugar baby, selling underwear, military enrollment purely for school help, etc.). We are looking for personal anecdotes about the lengths you went to help pay for school, what came of it, your monetary situation, if the resource worked to get you through college and more. If you have utilized any one of these avenues, or know someone who has, please drop us a line at

    The post In what weird ways are you paying for school? MT wants to know! appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit

    File under “WTF” — attorneys representing former Psychopathic Records publicist Andrea Pellegrini announced Monday that they have subpoenaed Kid Rock to produce a glass dildo as part of Pellegrini’s sexual harassment lawsuit against the Insane Clown Posse’s record label. Pellegrini claims the glass dildo was given to her by Psychopathic Records employee “Dirty Dan” Diamond as part of a larger culture of constant harassment in which she was called “bitch,” made the target of explicit sexual advances by Diamond and other co-workers, asked to procure automatic weapons for a photo shoot, and even encouraged to “deceive government investigators from the US Department of Labor.” On Friday, Diamond admitted under oath that he told Pellegrini that he had “a fat cock” and that he would “fuck the shit out of her.” The dildo, though, was “a work of art,” according to Diamond, and should not be considered sexual harassment. Why is Kid Rock involved? Diamond says when Pellegrini declined his dildo, he gave it to Kid Rock instead (presumably as a “work of art” and not a sexual advance). So now, according to court orders, Rock has 14 days to produce the glass dildo so the court can better determine if it is art or, well, a dildo. We will […]

    The post Kid Rock ordered to produce dildo in ICP sexual harassment lawsuit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey

    Fans of the latest Superman franchise got a treat at Pig & Whiskey this weekend. Actors Henry Cavill and Amy Adams were spotted amid the crowds of the festival that took place in downtown Ferndale as well as a local restaurant. Cavill, who plays the man of steel in the upcoming Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, stopped to chat with fans, take pictures, and sign autographs on Saturday afternoon and evening. He was wearing an inconspicuous black polo shirt as well as a signature Superman-style ‘do. Other fans spotted Amy Adams at Ferndale’s Imperial on Saturday night, some were even seated next to her at the restaurant’s communal benches. Adams reportedly was slightly annoyed that patrons continuously asked for her photo, but she smiled while cell phones snapped images nonetheless. The Zach Snyder film the two are starring in together is currently filming in Birmingham. Ben Affleck, who plays Batman, has been spotted around town with his wife Jennifer Garner recently as well. The closed movie set is under intense security and Brett Callwood attempted to infiltrate the filming last month, but was forced to give up his camera’s memory card, lest he make off with telling photos.

    The post Henry Cavill and Amy Adams spotted at Pig & Whiskey appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Daydream believer

Despite the odds, George Lyles maintains his inner-city eatery with fresh food and homespun recipes

Photo: Photo: Detroitblogger John, License: N/A

Photo: Detroitblogger John

George Lyles inside his Turkey Grill restaurant.

A man walks into the Turkey Grill on Woodward Avenue in Detroit on a cold afternoon. He's old, with gray whiskers and a black cap. It's obvious most of his time is spent on the street.

He quickly finds his first target.

"Can you help me out with something to eat?" he says to a bundled older woman waiting in line for her carry-out order.

"What?" she replies, incredulously. She's clearly not used to a panhandler with the nerve to come inside a restaurant to beg. "No," the woman says.

So the man sits down in one of the empty booths, a mere few feet from her, and starts mumbling to himself. They're the mutterings of a disturbed man, the private language spoken by street people all over the city.

Food takes time to cook here because everything is prepared fresh, and now everyone in line has to stand there awkwardly as the man continues talking under his breath and staring at them.

Another customer comes in, this time a middle-aged man, and waits his turn. The panhandler asks him the same question and gets the same answer. "Think it over," the mumbler presses. But no free meal is coming from anyone here today, and he finally leaves.

This moment of freedom for these customers is fleeting. Another vagrant comes in, much younger this time, and announces to the room, "I'm trying to buy something to eat. I'm walking around trying to survive." But in this neighborhood, most people are trying to survive. He gets no sympathy and sulks out the door.

Panhandlers beg for money outside the doors of many Detroit places. It's the nature of life in a city where a whole lot of poor people live. For whatever reason, though, some of them like to work their hustle right in the Turkey Grill's lobby, much to the owner's quiet dismay.

"They're basically harmless," says George Lyles, the mild-mannered 58-year-old founder of the restaurant. "They don't really bother anybody, but it's just more or less the principle of when you're trying to enjoy yourself, go out grab a meal or grab a snack and then you got someone running around begging you for money, it's kind of annoying. We just kind of gently tell them to leave."

Owning a business in Detroit brings challenges that aren't as common outside the city limits. Burglaries. Erratic city services. A customer base without much money to spend. And those days when someone from the street winds up inside your door, chipping away at your livelihood. Lyles has had 15 years of such challenges here. Yet he's stayed. All because of a belief he won't let go of.

Few things
are as risky or scary as quitting a solid career to chase a dream. Lyles was a successful accountant when he first got the idea of opening his own restaurant. He and his friends would complain they couldn't find worthy lunch options near their office downtown, and would daydream aloud what they'd do if they had their own restaurant, how it would be decorated, what kind of food they'd serve.

But Lyles never let go of the idea. He eventually worked up the courage to quit his career, found an available building in the city's North End neighborhood, and opened the Turkey Grill in 1996. "It took a lot of guts and a lot of money," he says. "But here we are."

The real thrill of having your own restaurant is serving whatever you like and hoping others like it too. Lyles reached back into his childhood in the Deep South for the country foods he grew up with and gambled they'd sell in inner-city Detroit.

He went to South Carolina to get a recipe for fried turkey wings. In New Orleans he learned how to make turkey neck stew, with a whole turkey neck immersed in its thick rice and vegetable mix. He brought back a beans-and-rice recipe from Beale Street in Memphis, found a way to make turkey salad in south Mississippi, and in Texas he discovered how to smoke an already-fried turkey. "I said, 'How you gonna fry a turkey and it's smoked too?' But I got their recipe so I'm able to do it now."

You can get turkey meat into almost any dish, it turns out. So the Turkey Grill offers a Mexican turkey pita roll, a turkey pastrami sandwich, turkey sausage and turkey bacon for breakfast, turkey chili, turkey soup, turkey burgers and turkey meatloaf.

The dining area is small, decorated with drawings and paintings from New Orleans and Memphis. The seating is hard plastic cafeteria booths. Bulletproof glass separates the public from the smoky kitchen at the back.

Lyles toiled to get established his first year here. His sister worked the kitchen, he worked the books. Days were 14 hours long.

�"You're everything," he says. "You're the bookkeeper, you're the janitor, you're the inventory person, and it's much more of a responsibility than working for someone else."

He promoted the Turkey Grill through glossy flyers, through menus left around town, through funny TV commercials on WYMD-20 featuring a cartoon turkey interacting with a toddler. It took time, but soon a following developed for his unique menu.

"I wasn't making any money but I was kind of determined to do it," he says, standing in the kitchen next to an old blackened stove. "Maybe one day it might be slow, the next day we'd have a heavy sales volume, and that kind of encouraged me."

There are lines
at the counter just about all day, every day. The meals are cheap and country cooking has always been popular in the city. And every year, Thanksgiving brings orders for 600 whole fried turkeys.

But Lyles knows that a few miles away there are restaurants whose customers have more money than his do, places that don't need bulletproof glass at the counter or don't have the homeless hounding their patrons.

"I do find challenges in that we have a lot of people as you know that kind of walk the street around here, people that they let out of the mental institutions during the day, or the health care homes, and they're walking the street. And sometimes it becomes annoying to my customers."

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