Posted by: Kath Usitalo | April 9, 2012

Road Food Report: The Hudson Cafe

Eggssparagus at The Hudson Cafe

The Red Velvet pancakes were calling her name.

When Paige was home on Spring Break we headed to downtown Detroit for a weekday brunch at The Hudson Cafe, a breakfast and lunch spot on Woodward Avenue, the city’s Main Vein.

A friend had told her about the decadent flap jacks and I’d wanted to check out the joint named for the largest single building ever imploded: the late, great  J.L. Hudson department store that once stood on the vacant lot across the street.

The restaurant is on the ground floor of rental apartments in Lofts of Merchants Row

The legendary Hudson’s, the city’s retail anchor from 1911 until it closed in 1983, is dear to the hearts of generations of Detroiters.

It was massive, second in size only to Macy’s flagship store in New York. In October 1998 the 2.2 million square foot structure entered the controlled demolition record books.

Paige and the young people discovering today’s Detroit know nothing about the old Hudson’s or the other names in Detroit retail—Crowley, Kern, Himelhoch, Grinnell, S.S. Kresge—that once lined these city blocks. They’re interested in the new eateries, clubs, shops and living spaces that are slowly filling the buildings that remain.

The Hudson Cafe opened in Fall 2011 in retail space that had been converted to a popular breakfast grill that met an unfortunate demise. It’s been redesigned and reinvigorated by three partners, Tom Teknos, Maurice Wiggins and Stavros Adamopoulos, who want to be a part of the new life being pumped into downtown Detroit.

Big windows let lots of light into this high-ceilinged, cleanly designed diner, simply furnished with bare wood tables and splashes of red in the art and a cushioned bench seating along one wall.

Service is prompt and friendly, and although it wasn’t packed I was surprised at the number of tables filled at two o’clock on a weekday afternoon. I’m not complaining about the sound of conversation and laughter from the other tables, but Paige and I both thought the noise level was high—can only imagine what it is when the joint is really jumpin’.

Breakfast is served all day and there’s also a choice of a dozen sandwiches and salads, including the Hudson, a Maurice that’s a nod to the famous salad once served at the department store’s restaurants.

Paige knew I’d choose an egg dish from the omelets and specialties. The corned beef hash tempted but I focused on the “I’m Benedicted” selections and opted for Eggsparagus, with tender spears of asparagus, shredded Parmesan cheese and hollandaise ($9). Delish.

Sweet treat: Red Velvet pancakes

She was almost swayed by the Chunky Munky pancakes with caramel, white chocolate chips and banana, but the Red Velvet pancakes won out ($8.50).

Huge and fluffy, the stack of red cakes comes topped with sweet cream cheese piped on top like icing on a cake. Some folks order them as dessert.

French Toast, waffles, crepes, oatmeal and sides round out the regular menu. The fresh squeezed orange juice gets raves.

Manager Maurice roams the room, greeting and chatting with guests, and Executive Chef Tom Teknos occasionally pops out of the kitchen where almost everything is made from scratch.

Just inside the restaurant entrance there’s a coffee bar with house-baked goods-to-go, and a comfy seating for lounging or waiting for a table. I understand it gets a workout at Sunday Brunch. Sweet. And savory.

The Hudson Cafe
1241 Woodward Ave., Detroit
313.237.1000

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Extended hours for some special events.

Visitor Info Clicks:
Detroit
Pure Michigan

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Responses

  1. Kath — this sounds great, let’s make a date of it sometime, the maurice salad for me — ah, i remember those days at Hudson’s.

  2. Yummy! I didn’t know there was a Hudson Cafe. Even though I didn’t see Paige during her break I get to see her enjoying her breakfast.

    • OMG those pancakes were tasty.

  3. Hehe at least the food looks good…


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