Midtown cafe Fourteen East will open its doors to the public at its new location in the Mike Ilitch School of Business this December.
Fourteen East will occupy the first-floor space at the southeast corner of the Mike Ilitch School of Business at 2771 Woodward Avenue. The entrance to the cafe will be available via Woodward Avenue and through the building's main entrance.
Fourteen East will offer a variety of locally sourced breakfast and lunch options as well as coffee, tea and specialty hot chocolate. The cafe will also sell local artisan gifts and serve as a meeting and gallery space for the community.
In the past, customer favorites included the brownies, quiche and chicken salad.
“Those are the three things that people come in looking for,” owner and CEO Joanne Czerny said.
After the business school’s initial partnership with Avalon fell through, WSU’s real estate and asset management team looked for a retailer that could easily transition into the “unique” space available, Nicole Jackson, associate director of real estate and asset management, said.
Fourteen East proved to be a perfect fit because it could continue to operate in the same ways in comparison to its previous location, which was The Park Shelton building, Jackson said. Her team considered a different business but decided against partnering with them because they would need to start from scratch in the space available.
“You can’t cook in the space, that’s what’s unique about it,” Jackson said.
“There aren’t any food options inside the building,” Freshman business major Lindita Dauti said. She usually brings food from home when she has classes at the business school.
Vending machines are the only food option in the business school, she said.
While there are various restaurants in the Detroit-Midtown area, leaving the building for meals creates problems related to parking, Dauti said.
“I wouldn’t want to get in my car to buy lunch because it’s a hassle to pay and find a spot to park again,” Dauti said. Providing students with meal options inside the building is a “great idea” due to the convenience factor.
Jackson said her team is working as fast as they can to get the cafe open in December.
Fourteen East spent its initial eight years — before partnering with WSU — building relationships with local suppliers and artists, Czerny said. They execute a mission statement centered on sustainability.
“We buy all sustainable or compostable products,” Czerny said. The store decided recently to remove all plastic silverware from the cafe.
Czerny encourages customers to use washable dishes and silverware when they are staying in the cafe for long periods of time because it’s “Good for the earth,” she said.
At its previous location, Fourteen East “Recycled everything and had very little trash,” which Czerny said she hopes to continue at the business school.
“Now we are just waiting for all the wheels to turn, and everything to happen to get (the cafe) built out so we can move in,” Czerny said.
Prior to starting her cafe business, Czerny worked as an interior designer, she said. She designed the space to feel serene, calm and bright to create a more inviting environment for customers.
The last thing Czerny wants is for customers to feel hectic and hurried when visiting Fourteen East.
For more information visit Fourteen East on Facebook and follow @fourteen_east on Instagram.
Lou Buhl is a contributing writer for The South End. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.