Applebee’s, opening soon on 8 Mile, is the latest remarkable thing happening in Detroit

Eminem on the stoop of his former home near 8 Mile Road.
Eminem, on the stoop of his former home near 8 Mile Road, is pumped about Applebee’s.

First it’s Pizza Hut and now Applebee’s: Is 8-Wood Blog going all-in on Corporate Food? (Hell no, but bear with me here.)

During a visit to Meijer last night to pick up some (organic) milk, (Michigan craft) beer and (dark) chocolate, I noticed that construction is progressing quickly on the new Applebee’s at the Gateway Marketplace at 8 Mile and Woodward near my house. It looked like the flatscreen TVs are already operational, walls are painted and much of the furniture has been delivered. The developer, Team Schostak, says it plans to open the restaurant for dinner on Oct. 26.

In any other city, the opening of an Applebee’s wouldn’t merit a mention.

Detroit is not any other city.

This is a notable development first because it is occurring along 8 Mile Road, that still-derided city-suburb dividing line that is dotted with strip clubs, used car lots, seedy motels, liquor stores, struggling small businesses and, most recently, medical marijuana dispensaries. A glamorous commercial thoroughfare it is not. That the developer Team Schostak sees fit to open a franchise there says something about … well, at least the economic viability of the immediate 8/Wood area.

Secondly, Applebee’s should please the segment of Detroit residents who, bizarrely, have long lamented the lack of national chain restaurants like Red Lobster in the city. It will probably be wildly popular.

An order of beef dingers and cheese boats, for my friends!

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